PROSPECT OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez: 85 percent
Today's poll: Comeback of the Year. Vote at Yahoo! Sports by going to this link:
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has a lot to prove in the ring. After all, he didn’t have an extensive amateur career, hasn’t beaten a prime big-name opponent and is only 20.
Still, the buzz surrounding red-headed Mexican is getting progressively louder because he seems to have all the intangibles of a future star – the looks, the charisma, the backing (Golden Boy Promotions) and eye-catching results so far.
Many fans obviously are excited about what they’ve seen and what they can imagine: Alvarez was the runaway winner of the 2010 Ring Fan Poll Prospect of the Year award against some stiff competition.
Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy, said he sees Alvarez as a cross between Julio Cesar Chavez and himself, which is probably premature based on his thin resume.
However, if Alvarez can continue to win as he fights increasingly accomplished opponents, his burgeoning rock-star status in his native country could begin to take hold north of the border and elsewhere.
Again, though, that’s a big if.
Alvarez, learning on the job because of his lack of an amateur background, had a very successful 2010. The welterweight-junior middleweight went 5-0, with four knockouts to run his record to 35-0-1 (26 knockouts).
However, he had one scary moment. Jose Miguel Cotto, a naturally smaller man, hurt Alvarez so badly in the first round that a career-stunting upset seemed a realistic possibility. Alvarez not only survived, though, he ended up breaking down and then stopping the more-experienced Puerto Rican in the ninth.
Alvarez seemed to get over a hump in the fight, as he dominated his opponents afterward. He stopped Luciano Cuello in six rounds two months later, KO’d Carlos Baldomir in six only two months after that and finished the year with a lop-sided decision over 39-year-old but granite-chinned Lovemore N’Dou earlier this month.
The victory over Baldomir, on the Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora card at Staples Center in Los Angeles, might’ve been a glimpse into the future. Alvarez, fighting like a seasoned pro, patiently broke down the 39-year-old former welterweight titleholder before scoring the kind of chilling knockout that create legends.
Afterward, as he made his way to his ringside seat during the main event, fans turned their attention to the young star and began to chant his name while Mosley and Mora exchanged punches. Clearly, he has that certain something that touches people – just as Chavez and De La Hoya did.
Alvarez and his handlers have talked about challenging welterweight titleholder Viacheslav Senchenko or facing Matthew Hatton in his next fight. And they think he’ll be ready to compete with the Manny Pacquiaos of the world in as few as four more fights, which is extremely ambitious thinking.
If they’re right, though, if it turns out that Alvarez can truly hold his own with the best, there will be no limit to how high he will soar.