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Legacy Continues For Canelo The Face

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Image Credit: PBC Boxing

There is no question that Canelo Alvarez is the face of boxing. He proved that again Saturday evening in Las Vegas with a 12-round unanimous decision over fellow Mexican Jaime Munguia and handed him his first professional loss.

Alvarez retained his unified super middleweight titles. In the fourth round Munguia went down for the first time in his career and felt the power of an uppercut, though resilient and could not overcome that strong chin of Alvarez. 

So Munguia learned in the ring, like so many others who tried, Alvarez is difficult to defeat perhaps the greatest Mexican fighter in boxing history, and now in discussion overtaking the Hall of Fame Mexican legend Julio Caesar Chavez. And to overtake Chavez as the icon is a story in itself.

Alvarez for the fifth time in five fights defended the super middleweight titles, also another part of continuing a legacy. And  there is little room for debate as to who can dethrone Alvarez, no contention as to who the face of boxing is.

One can debate lightweight Gervonta Davis as a possible face, the controversial Ryan Garcia who has yet to achieve that status as a champion, or Tyson Fury (WBC champion) who attempts to unify the heavyweight division in two weeks in Saudi Arabia against Oleksandr Usyk (WBA, WBO, IBF) title holder. The heavyweight division title holder at one time in the past was always considered the face but that is long gone.

Munguia will have another opportunity, though not against Alvarez. Just like Alvarez, (61-2,2, 39 KO’s) who sustained one of his defeats to a former face in undefeated Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather Jr. this was a lesson for Munguia. Perhaps one day Alvarez will pass the torch to the 27-year old.

But the torch will not be passed for at least another two years unless Alvarez, a top draw at the gate and pay-per-view decides to hang up the gloves and end this legacy that will continue with another fight against mandatory challenger Edgar Berlanga, and many point to this being another win in September.

He fights two times a year and Alvarez is not shy about saying “I can do whatever I can.” He said that in the ring again after this latest win. The face of boxing who commands attention, money, and  picks his opponents can do what he wants to do.

And there is Terence Crawford, the once unified welterweight champion who has moved to 154 and will fight at that weight August 3 in Saudi Arabia, he too is always in the discussion as the face considered by many one or two as pound-for-pound best with Alvarez.

But for now and in this era the face is Canelo Alvarez, who also chooses the opponents, except through the WBA that mandated that next in line  is Berlanga, a fight that would be billed Mexico versus Puerto Rico.

Berlanga feels he can dethrone the face, confidence though that has a very thin line of occurring if so in September. Alvarez has shown no deterioration of skills as some have said. To beat Alvarez requires defense and getting to that chin. Make a mistake and Alvarez will find a way, go to the body. He has power and leaves minimal room for mistakes.

Fighters that build a legacy, as Alvarez has achieved, have that hold on the sport. This fight with Munguia was billed as historic, the first two Mexican fighters defending and another attempting at holding all the belts at 168.

But the demand is for Alvarez to fight David Benavidez, though he has decided to move on in his quest to unify and get Alvarez. Benavidez is now fighting at light heavyweight and his debut at that weight June 15 versus Oleksandr Gvozdyk, for the vacant WBC interim title. 

It;s been an up and around adventure for Benavidez in his quest to fight Alvarez, again the champion picks and chooses with no resistance. Again the face has that ability to pick and choose. But it’s a fight the public has been demanding the past few years.

“I think he’s scared of him losing,” says Benavidez, who has the best chance of dethroning  Alvarez with his devastating power punch that could be the best among the 168-pounders. 

“I think he’s running out of things to say,” says Benavoidez. “He’s said that I only bring 25 pounds in and I’m not nothing. I’m this and that. I’m not dedicated, I’m not respectful.”

Benavidez added “ I think he doesn’t want me to get the torch passed.” Reality, though, and consensus is Alvarez knows despite all the money that has been tossed around, that Benavidez could get the torch. 

Alvarez does not want to fight at 175, his second loss came two years ago  when he attempted to take the light heavyweight titles off Dmitri Bivol, a fight where the face did not resemble his handling opponents at 168. Bivol was dominant in the no doubt 12-round unanimous decision.

But as is in boxing, and if Benavidez and Alvarez can come to terms. highly doubted, a fight can be made at 168. Then again, Alvarez is the face and can pick and choose who he wants. Benavidez has his intentions at light heavyweight unless of course the money is too good and Alvarez offers his consent. 

For the moment, though, don’t count on that fight to occur. Boxing fans and the sport should not count on it at least for another year, and that again is much in doubt.

Regardless, and until further notice it is Canelo Alvarez as the face of boxing. A legacy that continued Saturday night and unified titles that are not in jeopardy.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Rich Mancuso. Live on YouTube every week with Keep It in The Ring

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