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Canelo Alvarez’s 5 career-defining fights

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Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has provided plenty of big-time moments throughout his career, and he should continue to do so in the future. Here's a look at Alvarez's five career-defining performances so far.

Resounding KO of Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 2, 2019

Alvarez had shown impeccable timing before, knowing just when to pounce on opponents. Perhaps the best example of that was his bout against Kovalev. Alvarez was making his light heavyweight debut in the fight and managed to box "Krusher" evenly through 10 rounds, despite Kovalev's long jab giving the Mexican superstar trouble at times.

All that changed in the 11th round, when Alvarez banged Kovalev's temple with an overhand right that put the Russian fighter on wobbly legs. Sensing he had Kovalev compromised, Alvarez unleashed a left-right hook combination that eviscerated "Krusher" for the instant KO. Alvarez grabbed the WBO light heavyweight title to become a four-division world champion just ... like ... that, showing the boxing world that there's levels to the sweet science that he keeps ascending.

Majority decision over Gennadiy Golovkin, Sept. 15, 2018 

The first fight between the rivals had plenty of fireworks, with both boxers delivering spectacular moments in an all-out war. By the end of the fight, CompuBox numbers calculated that Golovkin outlanded Alvarez 218-169 in total punches, with GGG connecting on more shots in 10 of the 12 rounds. However, judge Adalaide Byrd inexplicably scored the fight 118-110 in favor of Alvarez, making the final scores to be 118-110 Alvarez, 115-113 Golovkin and 114-114, sparking the controversial draw at the T-Mobile Arena and instantly creating the demand to run it back. 

That bad blood between the rivals boiled over in the form of an explosive rematch nearly one year to date from their original clash. Perhaps Alvarez set the tone for the fight during the weigh-in the day before, when he charged across the stage and got close and personal with Golovkin until the two had to be separated. He translated that heat into the ring by being the aggressor from the opening bell and walking down GGG — something that Alvarez couldn't do in their first fight.

Although Golovkin landed more punches in total (234 to 202, including double the amount of jabs), Alvarez connected on more power shots (143 to 116). The result was Alvarez's hand being raised by a slim majority decision via the scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 115-113. There were some pundits and fans who felt like GGG did enough to win, but it was Alvarez walking out of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with his 50th career win and the WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring and lineal middleweight titles in tow.

The fact that it happened during Mexican Independence Day weekend made it all the more memorable for Alvarez.

Knocks out Amir Khan, May 7, 2016

Alvarez had just become a world middleweight champion, and Amir Khan sincerely believed that his style could present problems for the Mexican boxing sensation, especially at a catchweight of 155 pounds. For the first couple of rounds, Khan peppered Alvarez with enough stinging shots to put him on notice of his skill and speed.

But Alvarez started to thud away at Khan's body, and it paved the way for a savage right hook across the chin that knocked Khan out cold, instantly ending the fight in the sixth round. To date, this stands as the most hellish KO on Canelo's ledger.

Unanimous decision against Miguel Cotto, Nov. 21, 2015

The Mexican-Puerto Rican rivalry was in full effect when Alvarez stepped up and took his first crack at world middleweight gold against Miguel Cotto. Although Cotto was 35 to Canelo's 25 at the time, it was still believed that Cotto could give Alvarez a stern test. Then again, some critics believed the same about "Sugar" Shane Mosley three years earlier, and Alvarez defeated the aging veteran by unanimous decision.

The Alvarez-Cotto bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Paradise, Nev., carried plenty of buzz, and Alvarez responded with a unanimous decision. With the win, he became a two-division world champion, as he collected the WBC, lineal and The Ring middleweight straps. Years later, in December 2018, Canelo would become a three-division world champion by easily defeating Rocky Fielding by third-round TKO for the WBA (Regular) super middleweight title.

An invaluable lesson from Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sept. 14, 2013

Experience pays. Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was 36 at the time, taught Alvarez that lesson by putting on a boxing clinic against the then-23-year-old. Although the final scorecards had it as a majority decision for Mayweather, it wasn't that close, as "Money" quickly figured out Alvarez and tormented him with stinging shots, while masterfully controlling the spacing in the ring to cruise to victory at a catchweight of 152 pounds. 

During the post-fight press conference, Mayweather tabbed Alvarez as the future of the sport and said that the Mexican fighter has "everything it takes to be a legend in this sport."

Mayweather was absolutely right about that. The loss stands as the sole blemish on Canelo's 53-1-2 record, which includes 36 KOs.

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