With Floyd Mayweather Jr. semi-retired, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is boxing's biggest PPV star. Movie star looks, marquee fights, the heart of a true Mexican warrior and the support of an entire country have made #Canelo a superstar, but Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is quick to point to out that there are a few holes in the Canelo's pristine persona.
Chavez Jr. could've pointed at the boxing clinic Mayweather put on against Canelo, but Mayweather has done that to every opponent. Instead, Chavez Jr. used the other go to Canelo slight, his choice of opponents.
"He's [Canelo} a good champion but I think he needs to fight [the] best fighters in his weight and I think this is a good challenge for him," said Chavez Jr.
"He fight [fought] like Mayweather, he fight [fought] like Cotto, but sometimes he fights little guys."
Boxing critics have often criticized Canelo for his decision to make smaller fighters, predominantly life-long welterweights, move up in weight to face him. Canelo has the true build of a middleweight, holds titles at junior middleweight, but somehow has avoided most of the heavy-hitters in those two divisions.
We won't take you through all 50 Canelo fights, but we will take a look at the past 10-12.
In 2011, Canelo defeated Matthew Hatton to earn the vacant WBC junior middleweight title. It was Hatton's first fight above welterweight. Canelo's next big test came against Kermit Cintron. Cintron had seven junior middleweight fights leading up to his bout with Canelo, which is impressive, but he still spent the majority of his career (32 fights) at welterweight. Canelo won the fight by 5th round knockout and used that highlight to propel himself to bigger fights.
#ShaneMosley is next on the list of big fights for Canelo Alvarez. Mosley had spent his career floating between welterweight and junior middleweight, with the majority of his success coming in the former. Still, Mosley can be considered the first true middleweight of relevance Canelo defeated.
The trend of splitting true junior middleweights and bloated welterweights continued throughout Canelo's rise to prominence. Josesito Lopez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., #AmirKhan, and #MiguelCotto are all welterweights that moved up in weight to placate Canelo's size.
Austin Trout, James Kirkland, Liam Smith, Alfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara are all 154-pounders that Canelo stood toe-to-toe against. Kirkland and Angulo even came in with lofty knockout numbers, just to be taken out by the maturing Alvarez.
The question now becomes, what is considered a "smaller fighter" for Canelo?
He's been bigger than every opponent throughout his career and the stats show that he only began taking fights with career junior middleweights after his body physically matured, which is smart. That still meant that those fighters were drastically smaller than the middleweight ready Canelo.
The truth is Chavez Jr. is the first opponent of similar stature for Alvarez and they are set to fight at 164lbs. It's possible that Canelo outweighs JCC Jr. on fight night, which is hard to wrap one's mind around.
Canelo can put to bed the talks of being boxing's #1 bully with a victory over Chavez Jr. on Saturday, May 6. A challenge Chavez Jr. is more than willing to take.