How does Canelo compare to Mexican Boxing legends?

When looking at the great fighters of any era, one thing will play a big role; accomplishments. Another thing is the viewer's age.

A young person will probably see Canelo Alvarez as the greatest Mexican boxer ever, and an older person will probably favor a fighter of their generation. Lists are often designed to get us to think rather than be the truth of what is really occurring in the sport. 

As Canelo gets ready to fight John Ryder and defend his undisputed super middleweight titles, this Saturday, May 6th, let’s look at Canelo amongst some of his peers in Mexican boxing history.

Julio Cesar Chavez

Similar Traits: A huge fanbase that energized Mexican fight fans across the world. Chavez was the first global Mexican boxing icon, and Canelo has taken the mental putting on massive events, and performing as expected a lot of the time during these events. Both Chavez and Canelo are larger-than-life figures, who transcended boxing and became cultural icons for Mexico. 

Contrast: The times. You can’t compare Chavez to Canelo for one simple reason, you can see boxing at every minute of every day if you want in 2023. When Chavez was in his prime if you went to a liquor store and saw an alcoholic sponsor poster of Chavez it was a big deal, having a VHS tape with boxing was a big deal, let alone being able to consume it on an app. The world has changed - and though the stars will still shine bright, a bit of the mystery that the human mind loves is gone. Chavez will forever be immortalized because of the time he existed in and the country he fought for, and though Canelo is making inroads, he has to fight a generational paradigm that is hard to switch in many narrative creators minds. 

Juan Manuel Marquez

Similar Traits: The iconic win. Marquez famously knocked out Manny Pacquiao in their third and final fight. Canelo Alvarez holds two wins over Gennadiy Golovkin, with the first bout being a draw. In the modern era, Marquez, Juan Francisco Estrada, and Canelo have the biggest wins over legitimate stars in the sport of boxing. 

Contrast: Marquez gives interviews not unlike how he fights - he chooses his words carefully, just like how he masterfully chooses the right punch to throw. Though Canelo is a tremendous boxer, Canelo never known for his perfect punch selection, as power and great timing brought him to the big dance. 

Erik Morales

Similar Traits: Canelo and Morales were both stubborn and as fight fans we love that. Canelo spent a whole career being chased and then flipping the script and fighting the person who was supposed to be his boogeyman. From Austin Trout, to Erislandy Lara to Gennadiy Golovkin, and possibly Dmitry Bivol, or even David Benavidez in the future. If you challenged Morales to a fight, he was going to fight you, and Canelo is showing that he has a bit of Morales mixed with Ray Leonard in that he will fight you, but on his terms. Though Canelo might lack the Daniel Zaragoza-like win from Morales’ resume his willingness as a star attraction to fight the best is impressive. 

Contrast: Morales had the meanness of Chavez - it might be in the same vein as Roberto Duran. Pure hatred for his opponent, was brought out against Marco Antonio Barrera. Though Canelo didn’t like Gennadiy Golovkin we never saw that same level of ferociousness displayed by ‘El Terrible’ Erik Morales during Canelo’s career at the top of the sport. 

Marco Antonio Barrera

Similar Traits: Excellent head movement and Barrera along with Canelo had a keen for not neglecting to land shots to the body. Canelo’s head movement and how his defense from slips sets off big counter shots has been wildly underrated and though not the same as Barrera exists as a similar trait.

Contrast: The balance. Barrera’s balance is something of a myth. Not unlike if you took a basketball to the hoop court in the early ’90s dropped the ball to a place where you thought no one could make a shot, and you’d think ‘I beat Michael Jordon could make that shot.’ Barrera had balance and the ability to target the head and body in sequence that Canelo has never shown to do at the highest level. Canelo seems more comfortable landing a big shot or two, rather than punching a fluid sequence against the biggest rivals of his career. 

Salvador Sanchez

Similar Traits: Unapologetic greatness. When you think of boxing royalty you go to iconic images of Ray Robinson in the ring, Joe Louis, and many others. Salvador Sanchez is boxing greatness - and in the modern era, once we are dusted and rusted, Canelo Alvarez’s biggest fights and biggest achievements will be immortalized in the same way. As one of the greatest boxers of his generation.

Contrast: A hard one to compare in general as Sanchez never got to have his time as a true star in the sport of boxing. Sanchez defeated Danny Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez and Azumah Nelson, all before any were considered hall-of-fame fighters. To make it even more emphatic, Sanchez stopped each of the fighters mentioned. It is hard to not just compare Canelo to Salvador Sanchez in terms of achievement, but also in terms of popularity as Sanchez not just didn’t live in a world prior to the internet, but also never got his flowers as a professional boxer