April 26, 2013—With nearly 2 weeks past the conclusion of the incredibly anticipated Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Austin “No Doubt” Trout junior middleweight unification match, I thought I’d analyze the important factors to take away from arguably the most important night of boxing this year.
First, what not to take away is the ridiculous “robbery” claims being made by certain members of the media and the higher demographic of fans on various social media outlets. Horrific decisions and unjust outcomes are more a part of the game than I’d care to acknowledge, so to have so many call foul is just ridiculous. While the scorecards — perhaps only 1 of them — were a bit misleading, the final verdict was plenty plausible. With all of the actual robberies that exist in the sport, I find it off-putting that people would make claims about a fight that was nowhere near the level of some of the other genuine robberies in boxing’s history, and they’re making those claims with no actual evidence and very little support, save that enthusiasm for the next eventual Texas fumble.
So here are some of the things I think we should take away from Canelo-Trout
- It was a great night for boxing in general, but I feel like both fighters did enough to leave that arena with justifiable cognizance, whether or not Trout can find serenity in that is understandable but both fighters’ stock rose in my opinion, even if Canelo’s was substantially higher. Trout proved that he is capable of being problematic for any fighter, he operates at a much higher caliber than the typical world-class fighter and I’m convinced that he has the tools to increase his ability, perhaps even beating Canelo should he get a rematch down the road. But aside from the physical positives, I think it can be argued that Trout left San Antonio with more fans than he arrived with and I think he made more new fans than Canelo did. There were some fans — predominately Hispanic — that weren’t too pleased with Canelo’s prima donna like status. I think they were expecting a fighter with a naïve sense of his star power and instead they got a well-guarded, somewhat detached figure. Trout, on the other hand, was relatable and displayed a real appreciation for the fans that wanted his autograph. One fan was wearing a Canelo shirt at the weigh in, when I ran into him at local bar that same day Canelo’s face was crossed out with duct tape. When I asked him about his sudden change in loyalty, he pointed out that both Trout and Canelo had walked by him after weighing in and that only Trout signed his glove and even spoke to him for a few minutes. While that might be a bit transparent, the fact is Trout conducted himself as the “people’s champion” throughout the process and Canelo proved to be the star as advertised.
- Detractors of the sweet science will always point to the lack of star power in the current state of boxing. Not too long ago people claimed that boxing would die after Tyson’s exit, and then it was argued that Oscar De La Hoya was the last star boxing would ever see. Now, people eagerly wait for boxing’s demise and suggest it will happen once Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao retire. The San Antonio card proved that Canelo has a legitimate shot at becoming boxing’s new cash cow and perhaps it was a common acceptance prior to the fight, but I think that it was still more of an assumption than anything. The successfulness of the event should leave very little doubt as to whether or not Canelo has the capability of being a major star, which he already is in Mexico. To become a major star in the US he does need to learn English and he probably needs that crossover fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Assuming he does both of those things I think he has the potential to become a bigger star than any other boxer in the game right now, maybe even eclipsing Oscar De La Hoya one day.
- The criticism of Canelo was his level of opposition; most critics used that notion as a basis for their accusations of Canelo and how he wasn’t a talented fighter, or at least not as talented as his star level would indicate. Now, with his win over the kind of caliber fighter represented by Trout, it stands to reason that Canelo is as advertised, if only it were that simple. What we should take away from this victory is that Canelo is a special fighter and he has real fundamentals coupled with a sound, genuine style. That said, he is limited and he won’t ever be seen as the greatest physical threat in boxing. His place amongst the all-time greats is at the kiddy table and his only upside is to hope that one day he can pepper the salad of one of his perennial predecessors. Still, he can play a major role in this era and it’s based upon his actual ability to perform. I’ve said for years that what separates Canelo from other great Mexican fighters is his athleticism. Canelo moves like no other Mexican fighter and that is what helped him in his fight with Trout. His style isn’t all that dominant alone, but with his athleticism he can present a unique combination of elusiveness and brute force.