Robert Garcia has seen the brief clips Canelo Alvarez’s team has released recently on social media.
The Mexican legend looks sharp during those impressive vignettes, as if he remains boxing’s pound-for-pound king. Garcia will still need to see much more than those promotional packages to believe Alvarez can convincingly beat Jermell Charlo in their 12-round super middleweight title fight September 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
One of boxing’s top trainers has seen slippage in Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) during the four-division champion’s past three fights, enough decline that he considers Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) a very live underdog in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. Garcia gave his breakdown of the Alvarez-Charlo clash Wednesday during a virtual trainers’ roundtable discussion hosted by Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions.
“Let’s not forget that, you now, we’ve seen those type of videos in his previous fights, also, where he hasn’t looked that great in his last couple of fights,” said Garcia, who was part of a panel that also included Calvin Ford, Bob Santos and Ronnie Shields. “So, you know, it’s a big difference from showing a video, you know, a 30-second video, working hard, to the actual fight. You know, his last couple of fights – that’s the only thing that I have to say, that I give Charlo a big chance because Canelo hasn’t looked that good in his [recent] fights. I know he said, you know, there was a few injuries, a few personal problems during camp.
“So, let’s hope that is the case because I know I wanna see a great, competitive fight and we will. You know, the question is, is Canelo gonna be better than he has [been] in his last couple of fights? Because Charlo will be. Charlo’s a fighter. Charlo is one of those guys that is not gonna hold back, he’s not gonna, you know, take too many punches. He’s gonna fight back, so let’s see what Canelo brings. You know, I think it’s gonna be a very, very close fight, very competitive.”
Alvarez, 33, has gone the 12-round distance in each of his past three fights – a definitive defeat to WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) and back-to-back unanimous-decision victories over rival Gennadiy Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) and John Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs). The Guadalajara native contends that his left wrist, which required surgery last October, hindered him when he battled Bivol and Golovkin.
Charlo, also 33, has moved up two weight classes, 14 pounds in all, to challenge Alvarez for the undisputed super middleweight champion’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts. The fully unified 154-pound champion will end a 16-month layoff versus Alvarez and hasn’t boxed since he suffered two fractures in his left hand during a sparring session late last December.
Charlo’s challenges notwithstanding, Garcia is interested in seeing how Alvarez will handle the taller Charlo’s speed and power. He doesn’t think Alvarez’s experience advantage over Charlo in the 168-pound division will be as much of a factor as some people expect, either.
“I can’t wait for this fight, man,” Garcia said. “It’s gonna be one of those challenges for Canelo that he needs to be in his top, you know, shape [to win]. We know Charlo’s moving up two divisions, but like everybody’s been saying, you know, he’s not smaller. He’s as big, maybe even bigger than Canelo. Canelo was also a 154-pounder at one time, so you know, I don’t see much of a difference.
“I’m pretty sure when it comes to fight night, they’re probably gonna be weighing around the same weight, because I’m pretty sure Charlo jumps up in weight after he makes weight, so it’s interesting. You know, I think it’ll be a very competitive fight, won’t be a mismatch. You know, so I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I’m very excited.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.