Born July 18th,1990 and hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, Santos Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez Barragán (Canelo, shortened from Canelito, meaning “little cinnamon” in Spanish) is a multiple-division world champion and pound-for-pound world class boxer.
Starting from the age of thirteen, Canelo earned the silver medal at the Junior Mexican National Championship and won the title in 2005 before turning pro that same year.
Following up on his debut with a TKO victory against Abraham Gonzalez, Canelo continued to ‘spice’ up his career with an impressive 21-0-1 record before making his US debut on October 28th, 2008.
Canelo’s first taste at world title gold came in 2011 after defeating the younger brother of Ricky Hatton, Matthew “Matty” Hatton, via unanimous decision for the WBC light middleweight championship.
After five successful title defences, Alvarez overthrew undefeated champion, Austin “No Doubt” Trout to win the WBA light Middleweight Championship.
At the height of his career, Alvarez stood up to the challenge to face pound-for-pound king, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, in another effort to be the man to finally break his unbeaten record on September 14, 2013.
Unfortunately, it would be Alvarez to lose his unbeaten record to a majority decision.
Despite the setback, Canelo bounced back into the title picture in November 2015, defeating Miguel Cotto for the WBC Middleweight Championship.
After beating Liam Smith for the WBO Light Middleweight Championship, Alvarez faced undefeated Kazakhstani star, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, on September 16th, 2017 in the first of an enthralling trilogy.
The first bout ended with a split decision draw, and the second came on September 15th, 2018 with Canelo earning a majority decision victory, winning the WBA and WBC Middleweight Championships in the process. The third and most recent instalment came four years later in 2022 with Canelo retaining his world titles via unanimous decision.
The fighting pride of Mexico’s crowning achievement came at the start of the new decade when he won the WBA (Super) and the WBC Super Middleweight Championships from Callum Smith in 2020, then the WBO super middleweight belt from Billy Joe Saunders in 2021, and the IBF Super Middleweight title from Caleb Plant that same year, becoming the first undisputed Super Middleweight World Champion in the process.
Now at the height of the super middleweight division, Alvarez currently holds an excellent pro record of 59-2-2 (with 39 wins coming by way of knockout).
With his counterpunching prowess, a calculating battle IQ and his tendency for body punching, this Mexican star will no doubt continue to reign over the division for years to come.
With all that covered, let’s dig right into Canelo Alvarez’s Top 5 Boxing Finishes (in descending order)!
5. Vs. Liam Smith (Sep. 17, 2016)
After vacating the WBC middleweight title, Canelo moved down to light middleweight to challenge the undefeated WBO champion from Liverpool, Liam “Beefy” Smith.
In round 1, Canelo brought the punishment to Smith, targeting the body, showcasing slick head movement, and utilising the jab to pick apart the champion.
At the start of round 2, the challenger continued to make his dominance clear, throwing powerful combos, leaving Smith on the defensive. “Beefy” was able to sneak in two right hand strikes to the head, but struggled to land any significant strikes through Smith’s defence.
By round 3, Canelo continued to outscore his opponent with more combinations and punches to the head. Yet Smith managed to pull off a counterpunch of his own, landing an uppercut to Alvarez’s chin.
Despite the punishment, the champion became more progressive in rounds 5 and 6 by pressuring his opponent towards the ropes and securing clean shots, yet still falling behind Canelo’s power and ferocity and suffering a cut above his right eye.
Smith demonstrated the determination of a champion, but the Mexican athlete had already proved his superiority, knocking Smith down with an overhand right to the head in round 7.
It was clear by round 8 that Canelo’s body punches were finally taking their toll on the British champion as a left hand strike sent Smith down for the second time in the fight.
Smith proved his worth as a champion, but something had to give, and it was another body punch that sent “Beefy” down for good. The fight was over at 2:28 of round 9 with Canelo Alvarez left standing as the new WBO champion.
4. Vs. James Kirkland (May 9, 2015)
In a non-title match, Canelo faced a thirty-one year old American, James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland in Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas.
Wasting no time in round 1, Kirkland closed the distance, landing a left hand that forced the former world champion against the ropes whilst also firing a barrage of hooks and uppercuts, yet nothing seemed to phase Canelo.
Once back in the centre, it was Alvarez’s turn to be on the offensive, rocking Kirkland with left hooks and uppercuts, this time it was the American’s back against the ropes.
With less than 1:20 left on the clock, Canelo landed a solid right cross, knocking Kirkland down. As Kirkland returned to his feet, Alvarez threw everything he could, aiming to close the book on the fight, but Kirkland was saved by the bell.
Seconds into round 2, Canelo countered a left cross with an uppercut and rocked Kirkland with a left hook. With the thirty-one year old’s back into the ropes, Canelo proceeded to throw a flurry of heavy right hands, body shots and left hooks.
Despite the onslaught, Kirkland remained standing. The “Mandingo Warrior” continued to pursue, firing back with close quarter hooks and uppercuts, yet he lacked the ferocity displayed by the Mexican star.
Even with his back against the ropes, the former champion kept a strong guard and engaged with Kirkland in a slugfest before the bell rang.
By round 3, Kirkland stuck with the same tactic, but looked weary in his striking power, and as soon as Canelo had him in his sights, he countered with a vicious uppercut that left his opponent on the canvas.
With nothing but determination left, Kirkland returned to his feet, only for Canelo to feint the jab to the body and connect with a thunderous right hand to the chin, knocking the American out cold.
The fight was over at 2:19 of round 3. Alvarez had pulled off a masterful display of skill and patience, adding another spectacular knockout to his record.
3. Vs. Sergey Kovalev (Nov. 2, 2019)
After winning the IBF Middleweight Championship from Daniel Jacobs, the twenty-nine year old moved up to light heavyweight to face Russian champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev for the WBO world title in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Right from the opening bell of round 1, Sergei utilised the jab to establish distance and set up combos. Despite Canelo pulling off his signature counterpunches, Sergei’s usage of the jab proved effective in penetrating Alvarez’s guard.
Despite the reach disadvantage, Canelo managed to close the gap, securing effective body shots in round 2.
By round 3, Canelo succeeded in closing the gap, landing more significant punches to the head and body, and excelling with the counterpunches.
“Krusher” threw more strikes to the challenger, yet nothing of any significance fazed Alvarez who continued the pressure with hooks to the head and the body.
The younger challenger remained the aggressor, yet as the fight progressed Sergey began to connect with more accurate shots of his own.
All things considered the fight remained even, until Canelo landed a left hook stunning Sergey, then followed up with a right hand to the chin, knocking the champion out cold.
The fight was over at 2:15 of round 11 with Alvarez being declared the winner via knockout and new WBO World Champion.
2. Vs. Caleb Plant (Nov. 6, 2021)
When Canelo moved to super middleweight around the start of the new decade, the Mexican star picked up the WBA and WBC titles from Callum Smith and the WBO title from Billy Joe Saunders.
With his eyes set on the IBF belt from champion Caleb Plant, a title unification bout was set at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to crown the first ever undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.
To start, plant held the distance with his reach advantage, utilising the jab to keep Canelo at bay. Alvarez started slowly, yet kept his guard strong, moving Plant against the ropes and focusing his strikes to the body.
The fight progressed with the triple world champion’s punching power starting to take its toll on Plant as he continued picking him apart with accurate blows towards the body and the head.
While Plant managed to penetrate Canelo’s near-impenetrable defence, Alvarez remained the aggressor, yet kept his composure and delivered on the punishment.
Although Plant held his own against Canelo’s power, destiny had other plans as Alvarez planted (no pun intended) a left hook and a right uppercut, knocking the IBF champion down for the first time in the fight.
Once Plant returned to his feet, Canelo went in for the kill, knocking Plant down for the second and final time. At 1:05 of round 11, a new undisputed champion emerged via TKO in the name of Canelo Alvarez.
1. Vs. Amir Khan (May 7, 2016)
After losing the IBF and WBA light-welterweight championships to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, Amir “King” Khan trained under Virgil Hunter and moved up to Middleweight to challenge Canelo Alvarez for the WBC and The Ring middleweight title. The two fighters would meet at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Earlier in round 1, Khan’s speed proved to be a strong advantage as the challenger connected with a lightning combination. When Khan tried to close the gap again, however, Alvarez landed a left hook to the chin. Alvarez proved that even if he was out gunned in the speed department, he wasn’t going to let the challenger come any closer.
In round 2, Alvarez tried to close the gap, yet faced another lightning fast jab-cross combo. Khan demonstrated impressive evasive manoeuvring, and absorbed a left hook from the champion.
As the fight progressed, Alvarez began to find his rhythm with the body punches, countering Khan’s combo in round 4. Yet, Khan replied with a counter attack of his own, stepping back from the right hand and firing back with a cross and hook combo.
Seconds into round 5, the champion connected with a left hook to the chin and more punishment to the body.
By round 6, Canelo’s body punches had proven to be an effective weapon against the challenger, including another left hook to the chin.
Khan sought to block the incoming jab to the body, until the champion landed a solid right punch to the unprotected chin, knocking the British boxer out cold.
The fight was over at 2:37 of round 6 with Canelo proving to the middleweight division that his power has no equal.