Canelo Alvarez Dominated 2021, Makes Case For Boxing’s Fighter Of The Year
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez did not have a lot of competition when narrowing down to the top performer in combat sports this year.
The Mexico-native has been a dominant force inside the ring for as long as we can recall, but he upped the ante in 2021. Canelo’s highlight for the year was in early November when he became the first undisputed super middleweight world champion before a sold-out pro-Alvarez crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 31-year-old started the year with a win over Avni Yildirim 3rd-round TKO. Alvarez overwhelmed his opponent to retain his titles at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, in February.
He was walking into the contest with a massive win against Callum Smith where he clinched the WBA and then-vacated WBC title in December 2020.
Canelo did not let the British star get the better of him in any round. The scorecards (119-109, 119-109, 117-111) showed how Canelo almost walked through the bout to the win.
After a one-sided win against Yildirim, Canelo made Billy Joe Saunders his next victim.
Canelo made Saunders look like an amateur until the eighth round when Saunders’ corner had seen enough and they called to stop the contest. He couldn’t open his left eye after the eighth round.
CANELO MEANS BUSINESS. 😤 pic.twitter.com/cH2Y37vEK3
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) May 9, 2021
The victory win came in front of 73,126 fans at the AT&T Stadium, Arlington, which surpassed Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II as the most-attended boxing event at an indoor venue in US.
“I said the fight was going to develop before the 7th or 8th round and that’s what happened,” Alvarez said after handing Saunders his career’s first loss. “But it wasn’t as difficult as I expected and that proves that my preparation has improved day by day.”
Saunders was sent straight to the hospital with an Orbital Fracture Injury that he suffered during the bout.
With the WBO title in the bag as well, Canelo was linked to Caleb Plant.
Teams of both boxers went back and forth, negotiated multiple times and finally locked in a deal after months of talks.
Both fighters shared bad blood between them which the fans got to see first-hand at a pre-fight press conference as well where an enraged Canelo punched Plant in the face. Plant suffered a bruise just below his eye and this fueled their rivalry to the next level.
The pound-for-pound king had no trouble putting Plant away to add the IBF title in his collection when they both met on November 6.
Both superstars buried the hatchet, showed utmost respect to each other and put on a great show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Canelo’s quick jabs, ability and conditioning was too much to handle for then-undefeated Plant.
With major honors in his hand, Canelo is now eyeing the cruiserweight division where he will have to face WBC champ Ilunga Makabu.