When it was announced Saul “Canelo” Alvarez would face the highly-skilled and undisputed junior middleweight champion, Jermell Charlo, it piqued the curiosity of most boxing fans.
Will Canelo be able to deal with a quick, technically-sound opponent who is unbeaten and can box and brawl? Keep in mind, both of his losses thus far are to unbeaten, technically proficient opponents with quick hands and feet (Floyd Mayweather and Dmitry Bivol).
Regardless of how well Charlo performs, history suggests he’ll need something close to a knockout to win.
Recently, former Canelo foe Austin Trout, speaking to FightHype, said he wasn’t optimistic of a Charlo win, even if Jermell outboxes Alvarez.
“I’m going with Canelo. Even if Charlo puts up a great fight and edges it out, you think he’s going to get a decision?”
“That’s how I feel. I hope Charlo shocks them.”
“If I was a betting man, I’d say bet on Canelo. Because I think it’ll be hard for Charlo to get the decision, and it’ll be hard for him to knock Canelo out.”
FACT: Canelo, as the strong A-side, will enter this fight with a moderate unfair advantage. Hence, If Canelo vs Lara was a foot race, Canelo would enter tonight’s bout with a proverbial ‘head start.’
Welcome to boxing… It has always been this way.
Canelo was gifted a draw in his first bout with Gennady Golovkin, a fight in which most experts believed he clearly should have lost. Moreover, he was a beneficiary of a close decision over Golovkin in their rematch and won tight contests over Trout and Erislandy Lara in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Also, somehow he was rewarded with a “majority decision” loss to Floyd Mayweather when it was obvious the latter dominated their fight. And despite being the clear loser against Bivol, all three judges awarded the latter the victory by the narrowest of margins, 115-113. And while most fans seem to have had Billy Joe Saunders even with Canelo on the scorecards at the end of the 8th and final round, the judges had Canelo winning 78-74 twice and 77-75.
A popular A-side fighter, especially with a crowd-pleasing style like Canelo’s, will almost always get the benefit of the doubt. To win a decision in boxing, the “opponent” (or B-side fighter) must usually win decisively and leave no doubt.
No doubt whatsoever.
Bivol left no doubt yet barely escaped with the win. For Charlo to win, he’ll have to stop Alvarez within the distance or perform every bit as well Bivol.
Boxing stars such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Mike Tyson, and Rocky Marciano enjoyed similar advantages.
For anyone who saw Buster Douglas’ masterpiece upset of Tyson in 1990, the judges shockingly had it a draw heading into Round 10. And while an unpopular Frankie Randall defeated superstar Julio Cesar Chavez in their first encounter, don’t forget he needed a knockdown and “two” point deductions just to eke out a victory in a bout he should have won convincingly.
And what about Danny Garcia vs Mauricio Herrera… Brandon Rios vs Richar Abril… James Toney vs Dave Tiberi…. De La Hoya vs Sturm… Canelo Alvarez vs Austin Trout. I can go on and on.
Boxing history is replete with popular A-side fighters being awarded controversial decisions. And while there are “some” surprises (such as the first bout between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley, and the Larry Holmes vs Michael Spinks rematch) where the strong A-side fighter loses a close battle, those situations are few and far between.
Will Canelo vs Charlo follow the historical trend?
Don’t be surprised if it does.
Surely, Team Charlo realizes that outboxing Canelo may not be enough. If Jermell doesn’t get the knockout, he’s going to have to embarrass Canelo by boxing rings around him or produce a few knockdowns in order to win.