The world of boxing has changed. But Canelo Álvarez is holding his ground

<span>Canelo Álvarez celebrates after beating Jaime Munguia on Saturday evening.  </span><span>Photo: John Locher/AP</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 7d59e65268″ data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ e65268″/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Canelo Álvarez celebrates after beating Jaime Munguia on Saturday evening. Photo: John Locher/AP

Boxing has changed. HBO and Showtime are gone. Once dominant fighters like Roy Jones, Bernard Hopkins, Andre Ward and the Klitschko Brothers left the arena. Major fighting is drawn to Saudi Arabia.

Over the past few years, through it all, there has been one constant: Canelo Álvarez.

On Saturday night, Canelo won a unanimous decision over Jaime Munguia in a scintillating fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. For those who enjoy straight-up boxing, the victory cemented his status as the signature fighter of this era.

Canelo turned pro in 2005 at the age of 15. Nineteen years later, he has posted a record of 61-2-2 (39 KOs), with wins over Gennady Golovkin (twice), Danny Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, Billy Joe Saunders, Caleb Plant, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Erislandy Lara. He holds all four major belts at 168 pounds and has won world titles at weights ranging from 154 to 175 pounds. Forbes ranks him as the fifth highest-paid athlete in the world.

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The road to Canelo-Munguia was long and winding. Last September, Canelo dominated Jermell Charlo in the first fight of what was believed to be a three-fight contract with Premier Boxing Champions. That meeting took place on Showtime PPV and generated an estimated 700,000 buys. Charlo fought to survive, not win, and said afterwards: “I’m proud of myself: he won’t knock me out.”

Subsequently, on October 17, Paramount announced that it would close Showtime’s sports division and no longer televise boxing. Subsequently, on December 7, PBC and Amazon announced that Prime Video would distribute PBC pay-per-view events on a non-exclusive basis and would also stream a series of “free” PBC Championship Boxing fight cards that would only be shown on Amazon in the United States. United States.

Amazon’s goal is to build a live pay-per-view platform for various events. The relationship with PBC is an early foray into that world. It has no interest in playing the kind of role that HBO and Showtime played in boxing. It will take and distribute the product it receives.

The deal gives PBC a huge platform for boxing. Prime Video has more than 150 million subscribers in the United States. But so far, Amazon hasn’t made much of a marketing push for PBC’s pay-per-view fights. And the “free” cards have yet to come into effect.

It was widely believed that Canelo would be a major player on PBC’s pay-per-view shows on Amazon. Then, on February 26, it was revealed that PBC let him go after one fight of their contract instead of paying his previously agreed upon contractual minimum. It is unclear whether this was because the two parties could not agree on an opponent. One rumor was that Canelo’s lawyer demanded that $35 million be placed in escrow to cover his client’s next wallet under the old deal, but PBC refused.

However, in March it was announced that Canelo would return to PBC on a new one-fight contract to face Munguia in a fight that would be available on pay-per-view via Amazon and other platforms including DAZN (which has a deal with Golden Boy, Munguia’s promoter).

Munguia (now 43-1 with 34 KOs) had not faced the harsh inquisitors on his record that would elevate him to elite status. But in his most recent outing, he knocked out John Ryder (who went the distance in a losing effort against Canelo last May). He is 27 years old and is trained by Freddie Roach.

Adding a subplot to the proceedings, Canelo was once promoted by Golden Boy. But he left the company several years ago and has since had a bitter feud with Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya. During the build-up to Saturday’s fight, Canelo kept his distance from De La Hoya, telling reporters, “I’m not interested in being a friend to him.” I’m good where I am. I have nothing to do with him. I wish him all the best, and that’s all. But I don’t want him in my life. I don’t want him near me or near me. I don’t want this kind of vibration in my life.”

That being said; Canelo-Munguia was the second chance in two weeks for a Golden Boy fighter to pick up a huge victory. On April 20, Golden Boy’s most marketable fighter, Ryan Garcia, had decided Devin Haney in a highly publicized, high-profile match.

Canelo-Munguia was a great match, but not as big an event as you might have expected for a Cinco de Mayo weekend fight between two Mexican fighters, one of whom is arguably the biggest star in boxing. One fight scene veteran said he looked across the media center during fight week and saw former HBO commentator Jim Lampley (now the mainstay of’s fight coverage) and thought, “There’s a buzz, but not the electricity there. ” was when Canelo was fighting on HBO.” The crowd of 17,492 on fight night would be a far cry from a sellout.

Canelo was the big betting favorite. The fighters expressed mutual respect for each other. The last Mexican fighter prior to Munguia that Canelo faced was Julio César Chávez Jr. in 2017. For that you had to go back to Canelo v Alfredo Angulo 10 years ago.

“The fight could divide Mexico,” Munguia suggested. “But in the end it will unite Mexico because everyone will be watching the fight.”

During the final pre-fight press conference on Wednesday, the bad blood between Canelo and De La Hoya boiled over. Canelo called De La Hoya “a son of a bitch” and accused him of stealing from his fighters.

“He seems to have trouble remembering who helped him become a real world star,” De La Hoya responded. “…Yes, there were times when work was not my priority due to my mental health, which I had neglected for so long. But that doesn’t change the fact that Golden Boy built Canelo Álvarez, period. The company you fought for has always had one name, and that’s mine, so show it some damn respect.

Later that day, Golden Boy was dealt a blow when it was reported that Garcia had tested positive for Ostarine, a banned performance-enhancing drug, before and after his fight with Haney.

When fight night arrived, the 10-fight undercard was long and dreary. Then the main event started and a boring night turned into gold.

The audience was evenly divided. Munguia controlled the first round with his jab. Canelo started fighting more aggressively in the second round and his opponent was willing to engage. Munguia was a little faster, kept the pressure on and landed solid punches. Canelo would have to walk through fire to win. Then, with 40 seconds left in the fourth stanza, a right uppercut sent Munguia crashing to the canvas for the first time in his career.

In round five, Munguia came out firing again. The crowd roared. It was a war. Canelo seemed to enjoy the test. His body shots were starting to take their toll. But Munguia held on and rallied in round eight. Once again, Canelo accepted the challenge and fired back.

It was an exciting firefight where two strong, courageous fighters gave everything they had. Munguia did not let Canelo rest. The champion began to tire. But he is a complete fighter and took the final rounds with skill and technique, picking his spots and continuing to land sharp blows. Munguia went for the knockout in round 12, and Canelo held on.

I scored the fight 116-112 for Canelo (7-4 in rounds with one round drawn). Judges Steve Weisfeld (115-112) and David Sutherland (116-111) straddled those marks, while Tim Cheatham’s total was 117-110.

Responding to a post-fight question in the ring, Canelo declined to rank himself in the pantheon of great Mexican champions. But he did express this thought: “I am the best fighter [in the world] now for sure.”

  • Thomas Hauser’s email address is His most recent book – a memoir entitled My Mother and Me – is in stores now. In 2019, he was selected for boxing’s highest honor: induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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