This coming Saturday at the Staples Center in Las Angeles, California, fast rising Mexican sensation, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez squares off against former welterweight champ, Carlos “Tata” Baldomir, for the WBC Junior Middleweight Silver Title.
Actually, the header should read Really New School vs Really, Really Old School since the 20 yr old Alvarez is 19 years younger than the grizzled Baldomir who has not had a significant win since he turned out the lights on a shot Arturo Gatti some 4 yrs ago. Since then he was shutout by Floyd Mayweather Jr for Tata’s WBC welter belt, equally shut out for Vernon Forrest’s WBC junior middleweight belt, was beat up by a journeyman, Luciano Perez, yet somehow, by hook or crook, Baldomir was quite fortunate to scrape out the sparest majority decision imaginable. Then he went on to be beaten by Jackson Osei Bonsu in a WBC welter eliminator before finally knocking out journeyman Jairo Jesus Siris in Argentina for a meager measure of redemption last year.
Saul Alvarez is not only younger and fresher, but much faster with excellent punching power, boxing skills, and fighting instincts. He fights like a seasoned champion, which begs the question of why he was held back this year from his first title challenge?
Canelo’s record is already 33-0-1, 25 KO with 195 pro rounds in the bank. His team claims he may have as many as a dozen more professional fights that aren’t recorded yet. Officially by the records available he turned pro at age 15, so a contender with his record and talent should’ve been moved faster with a premiere promoter like Golden Boy behind him.
Perhaps the clue is his career weight which his been mostly at welter. Folks who follow boxing know that the WBA/IBF titles belong to overseas fighters Vyacheslav Senchenko and Jan Zaveck, the WBO by Manny Pacquiao, an Arum fighter with a pending lawsuit filed against Golden Boy, and WBC title being controlled by Andre Berto who has been on a career long soft diet. Not many prospective title shots there for a dangerous, up and coming contender who is equally adept at boxing or slugging.
Looking at the junior middle division, the prospects for a world title fight are equally daunting unless he becomes the WBC mandatory to the Arum controlled winner of the WBC title bout between Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao. Arum fighter Miguel Cotto owns the WBA belt, the WBO by undefeated Sergeii Dzinziruk who may have relocated to the States, and the IBF by Cornelius Bundrage, a Don King fighter not likely to give up a belt to a dangerous, non-King contender.
Golden Boy seems to have given Alvarez the Herculean task of cleaning out the massive set of stables at the higher weight by knockout this year. Fringe contenders Jose Cotto, brother of Miguel, and Luciano Cuello had never been stopped before, and Brian Camechis had only been stopped once, but none could stand in against Canelo.
Carlos Baldomir has only been stopped once, way back in the Jurassic era circa 1994, so a knockout may be significant on one level, but really just another fringe contender feather in Canelo’s already fully stocked cap. At the very least, Baldomir is gonna replicate a punching bag since Alvarez should be able to move and punch at will.
Mind you, I’m not dismissing the 39 yr old Baldomir out of a lack of respect, the Argentinian has a 45-12-6 record with 520 professional rounds on the ledger, but he’s slow as molasses in the Arctic and with a 22% KO ratio, his power is next to nil. He’s simply gotten too old, too shopworn to be much use as a test other than whether he can be knocked out.
A similar yet different test occurs on the card with the 39 yr old former legend Shane Mosley trying to comeback from his one sided beatdown at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Former “ Contender” and WBC junior middleweight champ Sergio Mora recently signed with Golden Boy for the honors. At age 29 and a fast handed busy boxer, this is a bad match up for Mosley who has a history of being handled by boxer types, but the upside for Mosley is that Mora has no power, so the fight likely goes the distance.
The winner regains a measure of past glory and probably a title shot somewhere.
Former WBO super banty champ, Daniel Ponce de Leon faces Antonio Escalante in a WBO featherweight title eliminator. Victor Ortiz looks to continue his climb through the junior welter division by taking on former champ Vivian Harris in a Vicious vs Vicious battle of monikers, so overall the card is a decent one.
Even the Brits are getting in on the act with a nice card in Birmingham. The highlight for me is young British lightheavy contender and EBU champ, Nathan Cleverly, going up against young contender and former EBU supermiddle champ, Karo Murat, who fights out of Germany. This is a WBO title eliminator and both are undefeated, so it’s great to see some young lions risking their zeros with special props to Murat who goes to the lion’s own den for the task.
So, there it is, you’ve been notified in advance that in spite of rumors, boxing is not yet dead.