The rise of El Canelo: Saul Alvarez on the path to stardom


Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan was born July 18th, 1990 in Guadalajara, Mexico and after just 20 amateur fights, made himself acquainted with the professional fight game as a fresh faced 15 year-old light-welterweight, knocking out 18 year-old Abraham Gonzalez in four rounds.

With his pale complexion and ginger hair, a trait, which he gained from his mother, his was given the nickname “El Canelo”, which in English means Cinnamon and quickly gathered a fanbase due his distinctive looks.

After three more victories, two by knockout, and now boxing at welterweight, Saul experienced his first setback in boxing, as Jorge Juarez held him to a draw in June 2006, in a decision that still hurts Alvarez to this day. He quickly got back in the ring three weeks later and took his frustrations out on Juan Hernandez, whom he knocked out in two rounds.

That was the first of seven straight knockouts for “Canelo”, who was gathering a reputation for hurting his opponents and stopping them early.

A year later, with his record at a healthy 17–0-1 with 14 knockouts, Alvarez took on unbeaten Gabriel Martinez for the WBA Fedecentro welterweight title and took the title at the age of 18, when Martinez retired after 11 completed rounds.

Alvarez would make two defences of the title in the next five fights, four of which were ten round convincing points wins, which would give him valuable experience, even though they were all one-sided affairs in favour of the young Mexican. The last of which was against Larry Mosley, cousin of “Sugar” Shane Mosley in his first fight across the border in the United States.

After dispensing of Raul Pinzon in one round, in his second Stateside bout, Alvarez knocked out Antonio Fitch with 120 seconds to gain the NABF welterweight title and would add the WBO Latino title to that in his next contest as he battered Euri Gonzalez into an eleventh round subsmission.

Another four knockouts followed for “Canelo” on his way to picking up the WBC Youth welterweight title in August 2009, which he defended, predictably, with a knockout performance over Carlos Herrara, before giving up a third title.

He still held the NABF title as he moved into 2010 and defended it for the last time with a third round knockout win over Brian Camechis in March of that year. He then noticeably struggled to make the 147lb limit when taking Jose Miguel Cotto, brother of Miguel Cotto and stopping him in nine rounds.

With his fanbase across the border starting to noticeably swell, Alvarez decided to make a permanent move up the weights and took on Luciano Cuello eight days before his 20th birthday for the WBC Silver light-middleweight title.

Another impressive performance followed as he stopped the Argentinean in six rounds and then defended it in his most high profile fight so far, as he knocked out former world champion Carlos Baldomir in spectacular style at the end of the sixth round at the Staples Center.


In December, Alvarez unanimously out-pointed IBO welterweight champion and boxing veteran Lovemore N’dou, winning almost every round in a stand out performance last month and given his record over the past twelve months, he thoroughly deserves his place in the WBN P4P Top 50.

His rise to world champion status in March 2011 was no surprise giving the heart and desire of the youngster to reach the top. Matthew Hatton is an experienced fighter and not as easy to figure out as people think. His charge to become the youngest ever world light-middleweight champion showed the potential of Alvarez and it would fitting to see the new champion sit on top of the tree for years come.

Wins over Ryan Rhodes, Alfonso Gomez, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley and Josesito Lopez have kept Alvarez in the frame for a money spinning bout with Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto in 2013, with Alvarez more than capable of giving all three a run for their money.

Current record: 41-0-1 (30 KO’s)