Welcome to the Canelo Alvarez Era
- Updated: July 21, 2014
If you were in the building for Canelo vs Lara, you would have thought that Oscar De La Hoya was fighting with the vibe that was felt throughout the MGM Grand.
It was really a unique atmosphere, something you don’t even feel when Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao headline a card in Vegas. It was something that I personally have not seen since the days of the mega-fights that the aforementioned Oscar De La Hoya used to be involved in. Canelo Alvarez has built up a rabid, passionate fan base, and at the young age of 24, it’s only going to grow.
I arrived to Las Vegas early Thursday morning during fight week and the Mexican flags and sombreros were already out in full force everywhere you went. It was a similar scene when I was there to cover Canelo’s fight against Floyd Mayweather, but that was when he had the pound-for-pound best fighter around to hype up the fight. To see Canelo draw so many people basically by himself against a talented but relatively unknown fighter in Erislandy Lara told me one thing:
The torch has been passed to Canelo Alvarez.
There’s plently of talented young fighters in the sport right now. Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Demetrius Andrade, the Charlo brothers, the list goes on. However, none of those up-and-comers come close to the drawing power of the Mexican superstar. If one of those fighters lose, it would probably damage their popularity or at least be a setback to their careers. Alvarez is at the point now where barring a devastating knockout, he could lose and still have monumental support behind him.
Let’s say Alvarez was on the losing side of the decision against Lara, a real possibility. The fallout would have been reminiscent to Oscar De La Hoya’s bout with Felix Trinidad. Although it was a “loss” for De La Hoya, he only became even more popular as the years went on. I think the same thing would happen with Canelo. That tells you he is the new face of boxing.
Very few can sell out the MGM Grand like Alvarez did last week and that’s not even the most impressive feat in his career. The young star got nearly 40,000 fans into the Alamodome in San Antonio last year for his fight against Austin Trout.
The other thing Alvarez has going for him is an attractive list of potential opponents. His style is one that makes for an exciting clash against fighters that like to come forward and there is no shortage of those in and around the 154-lb division. Rumors are already swirling about a returning fight for Canelo against James Kirkland, a fighter who is no stranger to wars, possibly for November.
A fight with the resurgent Miguel Cotto seems inevitable and that’s a Mexico vs Puerto Rico showdown that would be an easy sellout at the Alamodome or any other big stadium in the country. There’s also potential fights with Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin that stylistically would attract even the casual boxing fan. I wouldn’t even count out a rematch with Floyd Mayweather in a fight that would shatter the records set by their first encounter.
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao may only have a few fights left, but we are already in a new era of boxing, The Canelo Era.