Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez seeks to rewrite the history of inactivity left by the pandemic due to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 2020. For that reason, the main objective he pursues this year is to become the highest monarch of his division current, that is, undisputed champion. This achievement, in the modern history of boxing, has only been achieved by four men and four women, although no one has been Mexican.
Being an undisputed champion consists of seizing the belts awarded by the four most important organizations in the world. Until before 1988, the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Federation (FIB) served as the most relevant bodies in the sport. However, with the appearance of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) one more girdle was added to the aspirations of the best athletes in the world.
Since then, the first to become the undisputed monarch was the American Bernard Hopkins. On September 18, 2004, Óscar de la Hoya intended to win the award for the first time in history. Thus, in exchange for exposing his WBO title, he challenged Hopkins, who was the unified owner of the WBA, WBC and IBF in the middleweight category.
The fight, of course, generated great expectations due to the recognition that was put into play. The Mexican American managed to dominate the first three rounds, although with the passage of the episodes the American began to gain ground. It was in the ninth round when, with a left hook to the liver, he sent de la Hoya to the canvas, who did not exceed the referee’s count until 10 and lost his title.
Hopkins was able to retain the historic achievement for another year, but on July 16, 2005 Jermain Taylor managed to cut his winning streak on defense, becoming the second monarch in history. After the two of them, other athletes such as Oleksandr Usyk, cruiserweight and Terrence Crawford, super lightweight, achieved the same achievement in the men’s segment.
Meanwhile, in the women’s branch, Cecilia Brækhus was the first boxer to become monarch. However, she lost to Jessica McCaskill in the welterweight class. Alongside her, Katie Taylor, in lightweight; as well as Claressa Shields, in super welterweight, are the only athletes to retain all four titles in their category.
Today, Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez can claim to be the only unified champion in the super middleweight category, as he owns the WBA (super champion) and WBC belts. In this way, with a view to approaching the monarchy of his division, on May 8 he will hold a fight against British Billy Joe Saunders, who is the champion recognized by the WBO.
Should he beat him, as he and Eddy Reynoso and Eddie Hearn, his current promoter, have already made known, he would seek to challenge Caleb Plant. The American has the IBF belt, so it would become the only obstacle for Canelo to hold the four titles. However, he runs the risk of easing the way for his rivals in the event of losing either of the two duels.
Beyond the sports barrier, since the Mexican would face the best exponents of his category, administrative barriers could be crossed on the way to his goal. Because each of the four gyms responds to different interests and regulations, they do not always agree to collaborate with their peers. In addition to this, the current champions are even denied in the face of unification bouts. However, the goal does not seem impossible.
Currently, the tapatío has established itself at the top of boxing in Mexico along with athletes such as Leo Santa Cruz, Juan Manuel Márquez, Jorge “Travieso” Arce and Erik “Terrible” Morales, who have won titles in up to four different divisions. However, in case of achieving his goal for 2021, Canelo would write his name in gold letters as he established himself as the first undisputed Mexican champion. (GG) (Infbae)