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Canelo Alvarez wins ESPN's 2015 Fighter of the Year

Canelo Alvarez's two wins this year, plus evidence of his growing star, was enough to win him the Fighter of the Year honors.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Canelo Alvarez is the 2015 Fighter of the Year according to Alvarez fought twice this year, but made statements in both wins. First, Alvarez knocked out James Kirkland in three rounds in May, and then won the lineal middleweight title by beating Miguel Cotto last month. Dan Rafael cites those two wins as well as Alvarez showcasing his financial rainmaking ability as the reason why he won the award. In doing so, Alvarez beat out the other contenders in Floyd Mayweather, Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez, and Tyson Fury.

Alvarez's proven ability to draw large crowds, ratings, and well, money, puts him in prime position to carefully select opponents that should be easy pickins, but he has been steadfast in stating that his main goal is to prove he's the best by fighting the best. This attitude is probably something we could use more of in today's boxing landscape.

"It's very important for me to fight the best because I want to cement my legacy," Alvarez said. "I came to this sport to fight the very best out there and that's a goal of mine.

"You'll get recognition by the fans, the media and the fighters themselves. Everybody knows my style of fighting and everyone knows that I love to please the fans in the arena and the viewers watching me on television."

Personally, I thought his fight with James Kirkland was a highly-favorable style match-up for Alvarez going into the bout, although pretty much any fight with Kirkland is a dangerous one. Despite this, Alvarez was still able to close the show in highlight reel fashion in a short yet highly entertaining scrap. His second fight, against Miguel Cotto was as legit as any other fight made this year. In the end, Alvarez proved to be the bigger and stronger guy in the ring which impressed the judges who scored the fight wide in his favor.

I should say that I'm not much of a fan of bringing financial drawing power into the equation when selecting Fighter of the Year, but boxing is a business, and in a year with no clear standout to win the award and one fighter clearly on the upswing, perhaps that was sufficient to get him over the hump.

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