He Ain’t Light Heavy, He’s Canelo

By Paul Magno on October 21, 2019
He Ain’t Light Heavy, He’s Canelo
But what does this have to do with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez? Absolutely nothing whatsoever.

What we’re getting on November 2 is a dinner of cotton candy and chocolate ice cream—superficially pleasing, but not at all healthy or nutritional…

It was hard not to be excited and intrigued by the Artur Beterbiev-Oleksandr Gvozdyk IBF/WBC light heavyweight title unification bout when it was announced. And, unlike a lot that happens in the sport of boxing, the fight lived up to the promise and absolutely did not disappoint. Russia’s Beterbiev beat down a very game and skilled Ukrainian to unify the two titles and walk away a “legitimate” light heavyweight main stage player when he had previously just been one in theory.

Meanwhile, Russian Sergey Kovalev, who holds the WBO 175 lb. title after having lost it, regained it, lost it, and regained it again over the course of twenty months, remains a top 3 figure in the division.

Then, there’s yet another Soviet Bloc fighter in Russia’s Dmitry Bivol, who carries with him the WBA version of the 175 lb. championship and is still well-regarded in the division despite some recent dull and/or lackluster performances.

Beyond the Soviet 4 at the very top of the light heavyweight division, there’s a recently (possibly) revitalized Jean Pascal, a Marcus Browne who is still smarting from a loss to Pascal, former titlist Eleider Alvarez, incoming former super middleweight titlist Gilberto Ramirez, Badou Jack, and a handful of other solid contenders and/or intriguing challengers.

But what does this have to do with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez?

Absolutely nothing whatsoever—because Alvarez is NOT a light heavyweight and has no intention of becoming a light heavyweight competitor.

The 29-year-old Mexican superstar, however, WILL be fighting at 175 when he meets Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title on November 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Although a Kovalev bout will be intriguing for a lot of reasons, it’s not one that is particularly meaningful and certainly not one that boxing fans have been clamoring for.

Actually, Canelo-Kovalev pretty much came out of the blue when it was first announced, producing more than its fair share of “WTF” reactions from fans and media. Frankly, Canelo-Kovalev is a “thing” because Canelo willed it into being a “thing.”

And it’s not like there wasn’t plenty still to do at middleweight for Canelo. There are at least a half-dozen opponents—including Gennady Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, and Jermall Charlo—who would be more than acceptable for that November 2 date.

Canelo is coming up to 175 because he wanted a world title in a fourth weight class and Kovalev represented the biggest name for the most acceptable amount of risk (risk vs. reward). And he also came up to 175 because he’s Canelo and he CAN— and fans will watch it, DAZN has no choice but to greenlight it.

By fight night, most fans and media will embrace this fight, at least to some extent, and the contest, itself, is likely to provide some interesting highlight reel fodder. But, still, it’s meaningless in the big picture. Kovalev will get a high-profile payday. Canelo will get a legacy-filling four-division world champ designation. The pilot fish around Canelo will keep filling their bellies. Dedicated Canelo and Kovalev fans will have a fight party-friendly evening. That’s it.

What we’re getting on November 2 is a dinner of cotton candy and chocolate ice cream—superficially pleasing, but not at all healthy or nutritional. On November 3, the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions may be in worse shape for Canelo-Kovalev having taken place and for other, more important in-division fights having been ignored.

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  1. My Name Is Trinity 08:14am, 10/23/2019

    Mr. Magno.. No need to be sorry, my friend. Mistakes happen, that is what erasers are for. If you don’t make mistakes then you taint doing nothing.  I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast half the time. Probably the only reason I knew about pilot fish is that I have always been fascinated by sharks. Even have a big tattoo of one on my forearm. Looks pretty good for the price. Always receive compliments on the quality of work. Nice article btw.

  2. Paul Magno 03:47pm, 10/22/2019

    @Trinity…Sorry for the auto-correct typo….I will be the “pirate fish” for this one…looking online for bootleg streams…

  3. Paul Magno 03:45pm, 10/22/2019

    @Asher…Man, you picked on the wrong guy if you’re ragging on “purists”....haha…just read some of my work…Nobody has taken more shots at swamp-assed purists than yours truly…I’m fine with Canelo-Kovalev…but there’s no denying that it would be overall more healthy for the sport if Canelo lent his name and fame to the other top fighters in his division, helping create rivalries that generate mainstream interest for guys who can and might actually fight one another and contribute to big, cross-company fights being made…Canelo-Kovalev is a one-off event that will take away one major player from 175 and pull another major player away from 160, at least for one fight…It’s chocolate ice cream for dinner…fine, but I want fights that build narratives and lead to other big fightsd…and Canelo-Kovalev isn’t on PPV, btw…so, at least in theory, name appeal should take a back seat to quality of matchup…

  4. Koolz 11:07am, 10/22/2019

    Really tough fight for Canelo he has to get on the inside.  Kovalev only has to fight on the outside with a jab and set up combos.

    It’s going to be a tough night for Canelo.  If it goes to the cards Canelo will win.

  5. Robert 11:06am, 10/22/2019

    I agree whole heartedly with Kid Blast. Canelo is taking a calculated gamble and if he can pull it off he will be on top of the Boxing world with many options and tons of money to be made—and if he loses there is not much risk to his reputation.

  6. Asher 04:50am, 10/22/2019

    “And it’s not like there wasn’t plenty still to do at middleweight for Canelo. There are at least a half-dozen opponents—including Gennady Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, and Jermall Charlo—who would be more than acceptable for that November 2 date.”

    Puleazzze. Acceptable to whom, exactly? The self-anointed boxing cognoscenti? The above statement is nothing more than boxing purist nonsense. Why is it that the fights that fans want to see - and the ones that make the most money for the fighters - are deemed “meaningless”? Canelo has already fought GGG. Twice. Charlo is a fantastic fighter. He and Canelo will clash sooner or later. But the PPV buys for Canelo vs. Kovalev will exceed those of a Canelo-Charlo tilt, at least at this time. Kovalev-Canelo is a compelling fight on many levels.

  7. Lucas McCain 04:47am, 10/22/2019

    Hard not to be impressed by Canelo’s ballsiness in this one.  Big payday but physical injury here could be mean more than that.  And meanwhile. . .Goodbye Nick Tosches.  Sonny and Deano can say hello.

  8. tlig 01:13am, 10/22/2019

    I don’t know why everyone thinks Canelo will win this fight. Whether or not he saw something in Kovalev’s recent outings to suggest he could take him, the fact remains he’s too little and Kovalev is too strong for him.  Alvarez just doesn’t have what it takes to capitalize on Kovalev’s weaknesses. He’s definitely losing this one.

  9. FrankinDallas 06:17pm, 10/21/2019

    Canelo picked the one LHW champ he felt he could beat. Maybe because he thinks, based on Wards, destruction of Kovalevs testicles, his opponent is weak to the body. If Canelo was really serious about his “legacy” he’d fight Beterviev after Kovalev…and that’s assuming he wins. But he won’t..not now, not ever get in the ring with the monster Beterviev.

  10. My Name Is Trinity 02:20pm, 10/21/2019

    Maggie, did you mean to type pilot fish instead of “pirate fish?” I can’t wait to the day after this fight to hear and read all the excuses from people who have written off Kovalev and think Canelo has this one in the bag. I think James Toney is predicting Kovalev but I needed an interpreter to translate the answer.

  11. Kid Blast 01:49pm, 10/21/2019

    Kind of like Jones beating up Ruiz and then coming down to stay. Of course, it ruined him but that’s another story. Very smart move by the shrewd red head as it will give him new options down the road.