Canelo earned wide scores of 118-109, 118-109 and 119-108 over Charlo in what was a dominant return to form for the Mexican superstar.
Charlo — the former undisputed super welterweight champion who still holds the IBF, WBA and WBC titles — dared to be great but turned in a listless performance on the biggest stage that he has ever competed on.
As for Canelo, he was dominant in a crossroad fight of sorts where there were concerns that the 33-year-old’s peak was already behind him.
But following an outing where his opponent made a business decision to survive instead of win, Canelo looked like his vintage self and proclaimed that suggestions of his demise were grossly overstated. “Nobody can beat this Canelo,” he said following his one-sided win.
But how much did we really learn about the champion and what the future holds when his opponent was little more than a heavy bag with legs?
Is the old Canelo Alvarez back?
There was a lot of chatter surrounding whether or not Canelo was on the decline heading into the fight with Jermell Charlo. After the fight, Canelo declared that he was “back” and regained his confidence after dealing with an injured hand in the past couple of fights.
Is that true? It’s hard to tell considering that Canelo was fighting an opponent who refused to fight back.
Canelo continues to have a low punch output and his performance against Charlo was no different as he landed 134 of 385 punches (34.8%). Charlo somehow managed to throw 13 more punches but only landed an abysmal 71 over the course of 12 rounds (17.8%).
It was a career-low amount of punches thrown for Canelo in a 12-round championship fight and continued an alarming trend downward in punch output. A look at his previous three fights suggests that there isn’t anything that’s different from this Canelo and the one we have seen over the past couple of years.
Canelo landed 179 of 459 punches (39%) against John Ryder, 130 of 487 punches (26.7%) against Gennadiy Golovkin and 84 of 495 punches against Dmitry Bivol.
His punch output against Charlo showcased a continued downturn. Some of this can be blamed on Charlo’s lack of engagement but it’s still alarming that it really doesn’t take much to be busier than the Mexican superstar.
Some credit has to be given to Canelo for applying pressure from the outset and using upper body movement to keep Charlo’s hands in his pockets. However, the days of Canelo launching multi-punching combinations over the course of 36 minutes appear to be long gone.
Canelo didn’t have to deal with an ounce of adversity and went the distance with an opponent that seemingly accepted defeat. What is there to learn from that? This doesn’t mean that Canelo’s claims that he felt great are wrong. But it’s very easy to feel great when your opponent is doing absolutely nothing to take you out of your comfort zone.
Canelo initiated and finished a majority of the action throughout the night with Charlo either punching well out of range or simply allowing his opponent to close the distance without anything to consider. Depending on his next opponent, we’ll have to wait and see if Canelo truly is back or not.
Who will Canelo fight next?
Two options on the table would almost certainly force Canelo out of his comfort zone.
Current WBC interim super middleweight champion David Benavidez is a punching machine that routinely launches combinations with an obscene amount from different angles.
Following his violent drubbing of Caleb Plant in early 2023, the 26-year-old appears to be set to face Demetrius Andrade before the end of the year. Should he come out on top, Benavidez would be a prime candidate to challenge Canelo given his youth, size, strength and activity.
Benavidez is a fighter who doesn’t allow room to breathe and would force Canelo to fight due to the pressure that the undefeated two-time champion would plan to apply.
The other option is arguably the biggest fight that can be made in boxing and that is against the current undisputed welterweight champion and pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Terence Crawford.
Crawford is fresh off of an absolute destruction of fellow pound-for-pound contender Errol Spence Jr. in July and extended his astonishing knockout streak to 11.
Crawford is arguably the most vicious finisher in the sport and while he may not be a whirlwind of punches like Benavidez, he may be more violent with the intent to hurt that he has for his opponents.
For what it’s worth, Canelo has shown very little interest in a fight with Benavidez and has gone as far as to suggest that a victory over Crawford — who fights three divisions beneath him — wouldn’t add to his legacy.
Outside of a rematch with Dmitry Bivol, who bested Canelo last year, Benavidez and Crawford are the most appealing options for fans and are almost certain to test Canelo’s greatness.