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Canelo Alvarez: Hype Hides Quality As Doubters Continue to Doubt

Canelo Alvarez is ready for the top fighters, says Shane Mosley. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Canelo Alvarez is ready for the top fighters, says Shane Mosley. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Canelo Alvarez is coming off of a dominant win over Shane Mosley on Saturday night, and now Mosley says he agrees with the 21-year-old Mexican: Canelo is ready for the biggest fights.

"His defense was really good and he was really fast. He can go a long ways. ... I didn't expect him to be that fast or that good. He's up there with the top guys [that I've fought]. Mayweather is fast, Cotto, all those guys I fought. He's up there with them."

Canelo's doubters are still out there in full force, but with every passing fight, these harbingers of doom are, to my ear, sounding more and more desperate for the hyped fighter to fail. You'd think he's been Julio Cesar Chavez Jr to listen to some of the talk.

Chavez arguably had losses to the likes of Matt Vanda and Sebastian Zbik (who were not as far apart in class as some might think), among a few others. Canelo folded Kermit Cintron like a cheap tent, and punished Mosley for 12 rounds. He's had no trouble against Lovemore N'dou or Ryan Rhodes or Matthew Hatton or Jose Miguel Cotto (despite being wobbled early) or Luciano Cuello (another fighter who gave Chavez a serious test).

He's trucked through everyone in the last two years. It's hard to explain why anyone thinks Cintron is good, or had any hope against Alvarez, and was hard to explain the same for this version of Mosley. But it happened, and now he'll lose to the next opponent, apparently, because he's got to lose sometime, and then all the gloomy forecasts will be valid, finally, and it will turn out that Canelo Alvarez really is a crappy fighter.

I've said forever that Canelo Alvarez will eventually start losing fights, and he will. But why is everyone so eager to get to his losses? He's a talented, smart fighter, better defensively than anyone gives him credit for, and is coming off of what may have been his best performance. He's done far more than Adrien Broner has or plans to do in the near future, another GBP/HBO sweetheart who doesn't meet nearly this much backlash.

No, I don't take Alvarez so seriously right now that I think he's ready to jump from undersize guys like The Other Hatton and The Other Cotto and washed-up vets like Mosley and Cintron into a fight with Mayweather and have an honest shot at winning. But that's not really the true issue here.

The doubters are 100% right about where he should be going next, and that's someone like James Kirkland or Carlos Molina or Erislandy Lara. Lara in particular seems a tough row to hoe for someone with Alvarez's skill set, though I get the feeling he's too much for Kirkland and a bad matchup for Molina. Those are the guys to target right now.

I guess this is the case where I'm not seeing any great reason for the resentment other than "he's hyped a lot" and "he doesn't project to be an all-time great." He is, and he doesn't, but you're missing an impressive young fighter if you're far more focused on his eventual (any day now!) shortcomings and failures. I'm not trying to give him massive credit for beating two guys I thought he'd destroy and did -- he did what I expected. But it seems to me that those who keep picking against him and will pick against him until finally they're right are failing to accept that he took his opponents apart, and that maybe, just maybe, he's a little bit better than meets their eye.

I'll have another glass of Kool-Aid in the case of Canelo Alvarez, I guess.

(For the record, I realize how close "doubters continue to doubt" is to the stomach-turning "haters gonna hate" cliche, but I'm standing by it.)

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