The Pugilist

Canelo v Mayweather: Last of the Megafights

The Pugilist

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Canelo Alvarez of Mexico celebrates his fifth round TKO victory over Josesito Lopez of the U.S. for the WBC super …

This past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez stopped Josesito Lopez in five rounds to retain his WBC light middleweight title for the fifth time.

It wasn't supposed to be Lopez: Victor Ortiz was foolishly all but named as the next challenger before he had fought Lopez, as scheduled. Not that it mattered who won Ortiz-Lopez and moved on to the title shot. Canelo would have stopped 'Vicious' Vic, too.

That isn't to belittle either challenger: both are good fighters. Lopez especially has significantly raised his stock and his 2012 earnings even in defeat. Jose Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Matthew Hatton and Kermit Cintron are good fighters too.

But they're not great. And Alvarez is destined for greatness.

The Mexican is 41-0-1 with 30 inside the distance at the age of just 22. His performances have the confidence and maturity of a veteran who has ruled the sport for over a decade. His fights are progressively becoming cash cows.

Canelo is ready to fight Miguel Cotto. He's ready for Sergio Martinez. He's ready for Manny Pacquiao. And yes, he's ready for Floyd Mayweather.

If we're being honest, we are never going to get Mayweather-Pacquiao. Vitali and Wlad would rather cruise in first gear all the way to retirement than box each other. And Pacquiao-Marquez IV will no doubt be an enjoyable battle, but the pairing is beyond stale.

Those who claim boxing is a dying business may as well write 'troll' on their foreheads in permanent marker, but there's no denying the distinct lack of big — no, BIG — grade 'A' match-ups that will hush all the talk of Barcelona, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Usain Bolt on any given weekend and draw all eyes that Saturday to the ring.

Canelo-Mayweather on Cinco de Mayo weekend 2013 would.

In the build-up, at the box office and especially in the ring the two assured counter-punchers would be virtually guilty of arson, that much they would set alight.

Both would also have points to prove: Alvarez that he truly is worthy of pound-for-pound best billing, Mayweather that he does welcome challengers to his throne after having his motives questioned during the Pacquiao manoeuvring.

Canelo said after the Lopez win that he is ready for the big boys. It's hardly a coincidence that Cotto was there in attendance. Though the Puerto Rican has undefeated American Austin Trout up next in December, it is clear who he has next in his cross-hairs.

Good. Why not? Canelo-Cotto would be an great chapter in the never-ending sporting rivalry between PR and Mexican boxers.

Just make sure the 'Money Man' is next, if so. Boxing has a rocket to the moon it's waiting to ride, and it's strapped to the back of these two men.

It could be the last huge headliner realistically left, at least in the near future.


This coming weekend sees a fight which has quite the buzz on a strictly-British level. Kevin Mitchell heads to Ricky Burns's back yard in Glasgow to challenge for his WBO lightweight title.

Despite all of the support and endorsement of his peers, Mitchell is a heavy underdog against the classy Burns.

The East Londoner has only lost once, to Michael Katsidis. Unfortunately, he was destroyed in three rounds by a fighter who has been exposed at higher levels since, including in Glasgow against Burns.

The defeat happened at Upton Park, home of his beloved West Ham United, in front of his friends, family and fellow 'Irons' diehards. Physically and mentally, he has only managed two fights in the two and a half years since.

Perhaps being the guest instead of the host will give 'The Dagenham Destroyer' a psychological edge. The Pugilist doubts it. But there is an opportunity in this publicised fight for a world championship for Mitchell to get back on track, even in defeat.

If he impresses at the SECC Arena, a tough period in his once-meteoric career will be over. He will have proven he can hang, and maybe even one day get a world title of his own.

This writer believes Mitchell will lose to Burns — but also hopes he can indeed gain a victory in defeat.

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