By Sean Jones: Legendary trainer Nacho Beristain says he’s not impressed with what he’s seen from Canelo Alvarez in his fights, and he doesn’t see him as the greatest Mexican fighter of all time.
Like many people, Beristain is unmoved by the opposition that Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has been facing. He’s never in any fights viewed as 50-50 match-ups or even 60-40.
Canelo is fighting guys that have no chance of beating him, and the reason for that is he’s picking weaker opposition. Yeah, they were champions, but in name only.
Beristain doesn’t see Canelo going the extra mile for his performances and picking out good opposition to face.
Quality guys like David Benavidez, David Morrell Jr, Demetrius Andrade, Artur Beterbiev, and Jermall Charlo would allow Canelo to impress his fans.
Still, he won’t fight them, or at least he hasn’t thus far. I don’t know what Canelo is waiting for because he should have already fought them.
Beristain: Canelo lacks a career-defining fight
“I recognize that he’s a great fighter and an athlete because he trains very well and his trainer [Eddy Reynoso] prepares him very well, but I don’t agree with that,” said legendary coach Nacho Beristain to Fight Hub TV in giving his thoughts on Canelo Alvarez NOT being one of the greatest fighters in Mexican boxing.
“Because the backbone of Mexican boxing comes from Mexican boxers, and he’s on the path to that select group of fighters. It doesn’t matter that he’s won the titles that he’s won and the money he’s making.
“I recognize he’s a great fighter, but there’s still a little more he needs to do to be in the hearts of Mexican boxing fans. What’s missing is one or two fights like the type Julio Cesar Chavez had and others.
“He fights, and he keeps fighting, but personally, for me as a trainer of many fighters, he doesn’t fulfill me. He hasn’t had a fight that really captured the hearts of people.
“He fights and wins and wins millions of dollars, and that’s good; it makes me happy that he’s having success, but he hasn’t had that one fight that we all want to see. He hasn’t had it,” said Beristain.
There haven’t been any fights from Canelo where he captured the hearts of the people, and the reason for that is he’s failed to fight the opposition that he needed to impress the fans.
These are the fights Canelo needs to capture the hearts & minds of fans:
- David Benavidez
- David Morrell Jr
- Gennadiy Golovkin 3
- Jermall Charlo
- Demetrius Andrade
- Joe Smith Jr.
- Dmitry Bivol
- Artur Beterbiev
- Lawrence Okolie
- Mairis Briedis
If these were the only fighters that Canelo fought for the remainder of his career, he would shape his legacy in a way that is well beyond what he recently did in becoming the undisputed champion at 168.
Canelo beat a bunch of paper champions from England and an American in Plant, who fell over after getting hit with what looked like a weak shot.
Canelo’s most challenging fights were against Gennady Golovkin, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, and Floyd Mayweather.
Since many boxing fans believe Canelo deserves losses in all five of those fights, you can’t call them career-defining.
At this point, I don’t think we’re going to see Canelo have a career-defining fight because he’s only facing gimme opponents.
Five Canelo fights that leave much doubt
“When I was in Las Vegas, I went to the hotel because they kicked us out,” Beristain continued. “I got three calls from people saying and these are bad a** trainers that said to me, ‘I’m watching this farce of a fight with Canelo. [Caleb] Plant fell without getting hit hard.‘
“I didn’t see it [Canelo vs. Plant]. I can’t give my opinion, but those people told me that Plant threw it. That makes like five fights [of Canelo] that leave a lot of doubt,” said Beristain without naming the other four questionable fights of Canelo’s that were questionable.
“Because they can fool you and the fans but not me because I’ve had a s*** ton of time watching boxing,” Beristain said.
Beristain didn’t say what five fights of Canelo’s that left a lot of doubt, but he could be thinking of these:
- Gennady Golovkin 1 & 2
- Austin Trout
- Erislandy Lara
- Sergey Kovalev
Although Canelo stopped Kovalev in their fight in 2019, the way the Russian fighter fought was strange, as if he wasn’t trying very hard.
The fans who had seen Kovalev fight in the past were shocked at how he fought against Canelo. He didn’t load up with his punches and mainly jabbed and moved around the ring against the smaller Canelo. He appeared to be going easy on Canelo.
That’s one of the reasons you have to worry a little about Canelo’s next fight if he chooses to face WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu next.
He and Canelo looked too friendly with each other during the WBC convention and looked similar to how Saul and Kovalev were when they interacted before their fight.
Will Makabu take it easy on Canelo out of gratitude for being given the fight? You’ve heard the saying, ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds.’
When you’re getting hand-picked by Canelo for a mega-million dollar payday that will set you up for life, it’s got to be challenging to want to hit the Mexican superstar with any hard punches. You’d be so grateful for him giving you the fight.
This writer agreed that Caleb Plant appeared to go down without getting hit hard by Canelo in their fight last November. Plant looked like he fell over from a glancing blow and then was finished off.
Alvarez “doesn’t go the extra mile,” says Beristain
“I respect the opinion of [Juan Manuel] Marquez, but I think very soon he will give us that fight that we all want and he will enter the select group of greatest fighters,” said Beristain in reacting to Marquez saying that Canelo will never be the greatest Mexican boxer ever.
“I still have hope to see him in a fight where he looks sensational,” Beristain said of Canelo. “Because he wins and looks good, but he doesn’t go the extra mile.”
Canelo has never been able to fight hard without taking lots of rest breaks after throwing a handful of punches.
The stamina problems that we saw from Canelo earlier in his career when he was in his 20s have gotten far, far worse now that he’s in his 30s and is campaigning at 168.
If Canelo attempted to go the extra mile in his fights, he’d gas out and would be at the mercy of his opposition. But his trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso has carefully selected weak opposition at 168 to help keep him winning.
Reynoso has been wise enough not to push Canelo by matching him against someone that could give him issues and expose his poor stamina like David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, and Artur Beterbiev.
You can argue that Reynoso treats Canelo like he’s an old car with 300,000 miles on it. When you get an old car, you can’t push it too hard without breaking down and needing repairs.
Reynoso saw the badly flawed champions at permeating the 168 lb division and then pointed Canelo in that direction to take advantage of them.
Not surprisingly, Reynoso isn’t doing that at 175 or 160. If Canelo fought at 175, he’d have to deal with a murderers row of the following killers:
- Artur Beterbiev
- Joe Smith Jr.
- Dmitry Bivol
“The Golovkin fight by the slimmest of margins they favored him. I’m not against foreign fighters, but I wanted to see him [Canelo] get his hand raised the just way,” said Beristain.
It appears that Beristain doesn’t believe that Canelo deserved his controversial win over Golovkin in 2018 or his questionable 12 round draw he was given in their first fight in 2017.
“For example, Chavez, he’s my brother, friend. I love him a lot. He came from over there to say ‘hi’ to me. For me, he’s our pride,” Beristain.
Saul’s fights not exciting like Pacquiao’s
“Pacquiao, now that’s a guy that deserves to be praised the world over because he fought and went through the wringer,” said Beristain. “He gave exciting fights.
“Canelo, no. He wins and knocks people out, and they raise his hand, and he wins tons of money, but he doesn’t convince. [Yordenis] Ugas didn’t beat Manny Pacquiao. Time beat Pacquiao. Father time beat Manny. He couldn’t do more,” said Beristain.
There’s no comparison between the way Pacquiao used to fight with his all-action style compared to Canelo, who seems to be always conserving his energy like a person with cardio problems.
Canelo literally can’t fight in an all-out way that we used to see from Pacquiao and the Mexican greats Juan Manuel Marquez, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Erik Morales.
What we saw from Canelo is a fighter that plods forward, looking to load up on single shots and then rest for 20 seconds before throwing another big punch.
It would be great if Canelo could fight like Marquez and Chavez, but he can’t do it.
The way to beat Canelo is to push a fast pace by attacking him with nonstop punches, but he hasn’t faced anyone that has done that since his second fight with Gennady Golovkin in 2018.
That fight was the end of Canelo facing quality opposition, as he’s taken safe opponents ever since.
“Good for the Cuban fighter. He’s good, but in earlier times, he wouldn’t have been able to beat Manny,” said Beristain said of Ugas.
Yordenis Ugas would have had a lot of trouble if he’d fought a younger Pacquiao in his 20s or 30s.
Even the 42-year-old Pacquiao gave Ugas trouble. No one is saying that Ugas would have beaten a younger version of Pacquiao.
The fans are just going by what is. Pacquiao got old and was beaten by a young guy in Ugas, and that’s all that anyone cares about.