Canelo Didn’t Feel Great ‘For A Long Time’

On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Canelo Alvarez swatted down light middleweight challenger Jermell Charlo with ease, earning a unanimous decision victory with 119-109, 118-109, and 118-109 scores (watch the highlights here).

It was a powerful performance and exactly what the 33-year-old Canelo needed to push back against detractors who were saying his best days are behind him. Following the win, Alvarez made sure to put the boxing world on notice: he wasn’t going anywhere.

“I’m a strong fighter all the time, against all the fighters,” he declared in the ring following his victory. “I’m a strong man. Nobody can beat this Canelo.”

“We worked on attacking the body for three months,” he said. “For three months in the mountains without my family, without everything … I still love boxing. I love boxing so much. Boxing is my life. Boxing made me the person I am today. That’s why I love boxing so much. And I love boxing so much because of my fans, too.”

He then revealed when we’d see him again: Cinco de Mayo 2024.

“I’ll face whoever, I don’t care!” he said.

The Canelo we saw at the post-fight press conference was more reflective and admitted he’s been struggling over the past few years. He lost a super light heavyweight title fight to Dmitry Bivol, and then seemed less explosive than usual in the two follow-up fights. He still won those, but said he wasn’t on top of his game.

“I think this is Canelo. I’m back. Finally, I’m back,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “I feel confident right now, I feel great. I didn’t feel like this for a long time, but now I’m back.”

Alvarez was happy with the win, even though it didn’t end with a finish.

“You fight 12 rounds and try to show you’re the best,” he said. “That’s what I did. You’ve got to give Charlo credit, he’s an undisputed champion in his division for a reason. That’s how the fight went … Charlo is a savvy fighter, one that can move around the ring. Sometimes you win by knockout, sometimes you win by decision. I did my job … I did what I was supposed to do, and I feel great.”

While Charlo had a few strong moments, he was mostly overwhelmed against the bigger and stronger Alvarez, who hammered him with body shots early in the fight. As the fight continued, critics suggested that Charlo stopped going for the win and simply tried to survive to the final bell.

“I think that happens with a lot of fighters,” Alvarez said of Charlo’s performance. “That’s not in my mind, to just survive. I’m not that way. But I did my job. I think he never did anything to win. [The gameplan was to] neutralize everything he’d come with. He’s a counter-puncher with the left hand, and I tried to not get hit.”

As for who Canelo might fight in his next bout, the Mexican fighter said they had no firm plans … before suggesting Terrence Crawford wasn’t a part of his plans.

“I always say if the fight makes sense, why not? But he’s not in the plan,” he said. “If it makes sense, maybe. I don’t know right now. Let me enjoy this fight, and then you’ll know for sure.”

One likely candidate is fellow PBC fighter David Benavidez, who is coming off a big win over Caleb Plant. Benavidez will need to get past Demetrius Andrade later this year for that to come together. With Canelo still at the very top of the sport, he’ll have his pick when May 5th rolls around in 2024.

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