It was undisputed vs. undisputed, a pound-for-pound great against a four-belt champion knocking on the door, Mexico’s biggest star vs. one of the top fighters the U.S. has to offer. And in the end it was anticlimactic, with Canelo Álvarez successfully defending his 168-pound titles, winning a lopsided decision over Jermell Charlo.
Here are three thoughts on Canelo’s convincing win in Las Vegas.
The outcome was never in doubt
Perhaps it was too much to ask for Álvarez-Charlo—officially for Álvarez’s four super middleweight belts—to be competitive. Charlo, after all, was jumping up two weight classes, leaving the 154-pound division he had cleaned out for a shot at 168-pound glory. He had not fought in 17 months and was coming off a significant hand injury. Canelo, meanwhile, isn’t the destroyer who ran through the 168-pound division in 11 months, but he was still in the thick of most pound-for-pound lists.
Still … that stunk.
What nearly 20,000 paying customers at T-Mobile Arena got—and what hundreds of thousands pay-per-view buyers at home watched—was a one-sided whooping. Two judges scored 118–109 for Álvarez while a third gave him a 119–109 decision (Sports Illustrated scored the fight 119–109 for Canelo). At 154, Charlo had flattened Erickson Lubin, overpowered Tony Harrison and beat down Brian Castaño. At 168, Charlo floated around the ring, firing off a few jabs, mixing in an occasional combination. At 154, Charlo was a predator. At 168, he just tried to survive.
“He didn’t knock me out,” Charlo said. “He knocked everyone else out.”
The numbers were ugly. Charlo landed 18% of his punches, per CompuBox. Canelo landed 35%. Power shots were Canelo 78, Charlo 31. Canelo hammered Charlo to the body (42–11) and out-jabbed the taller Charlo 56–40.
“I just felt like I wasn’t me in there,” Charlo said.
The Canelo train rolls along
In the buildup to the fight, Álvarez faced questions about his place among boxing’s elite. A loss to Dmitry Bivol in May, 2022 was followed by an uninspiring decision win over Gennadiy Golovkin months later. Last May, Álvarez, 33, went the distance with John Ryder. While Álvarez remains widely viewed as a top-10, pound-for-pound talent, the aura of invincibility that once enshrouded had vanished, leading some to wonder if he was ripe for an upset.
The answer: He wasn’t, at least not from Charlo. While Álvarez doesn’t sling as many combinations as he once did, he still blends thudding power, diverse punch selection and sturdy defense. “Canelo is a mother------ [beast],” Charlo said. “He’s an ox.” A straight right hand dropped Charlo in the seventh round and Álvarez’s unrelenting pressure kept Charlo fighting of the back foot all night.
Álvarez, who underwent surgery on his left hand following the win over Golovkin, said during the week that his body felt better than it had in years. In the aftermath of the win over Charlo, Álvarez declared that moving forward he would be tough to beat. “This Canelo, nobody can beat this Canelo,” said Álvarez. “I love boxing so
f------ much, boxing is my life.”
Canelo, Charlo may both want the same thing next
In attendance at T-Mobile Arena was Terence Crawford, the undisputed welterweight champion. Crawford has called for a showdown with Álvarez at 168 pounds. Immediately after the fight, Charlo declared he was ready to face Crawford at 154. While Crawford dismissed a Charlo fight on social media (wrote Crawford: “[Charlo], you went out sad. Didn’t even try to win, all you did was try to survive. You should be ashamed of yourself.) a showdown with Jermell, a stablemate of Errol Spence Jr., is one of the biggest fights in boxing.
An Álvarez fight, though, would be bigger. Álvarez has options. He could face David Benavidez, the top 168-pound contender who is penciled in to face Demetrius Andrade—another Canelo rival—in November. He could face Jermall Charlo, Jermell’s twin, who was originally slated to face Álvarez before bowing out due to personal reasons. And while Crawford would be jumping up three weight classes to face Álvarez, a Canelo-Crawford showdown would match two of the top five pound-for-pound fighters together.