Canelo Alvarez Headed For Another Fighter of the Year Award This 2021?
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Wed, 15 Sep 2021
It appears that Mexican boxing superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez is on the way to another Fighter of the Year award this year.
Alvarez has two fights and two dominating wins thus far this year, an early stoppage victory over Turkey's Avni Yildrim in defense of the WBA, WBC and the Ring Magazine lineal world super middleweight crown he won in his only fight late last year against UK's Callum Smith and a late round technical knockout win against UK's Billy Joe Saunders in a unification that also gave him Saunder's WBO title.
His performance, though good enough in a year still hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and attended by the holding of the reset 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is not as impressive as his showing in 2019 that saw him defeat in succession Daniel Jacobs and Sergei Kovalev which won for him his first Fighter of the Year award.
Canelo is set to meet American IBF titlist Caleb Plant this coming November to fully unify all the belts at the 168 lbs division. Experts say another convincing win will give Alvarez a lock at the FOTY award for 2021.
Most likely. As there are a few major fights left for the remainder of the year involving the big names.
But not for sure.
On September 25, Anthony Joshua is set to meet mandatory challenger Oleksander Usyk of Ukraine in defense of his WBA, IBF and WBO unified heavyweight titles.
It will be Joshua's second major fight of the year after a dominating stoppage win over Kubrat Pulev last April. An impressive victory over the still unbeaten Usyk who is rated fourth among the best pound for pound fighters in the world may put Joshua abreast with Canelo in the FOTY race.
Inversely, if Usyk beats Joshua impressively, the mercurial Ukraunian may at least gain consideration for the annual award, notwithstanding it will be his only fight and win of the year.
In October, WBC and Ring Magazine lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will face ex titlist Deontay Wilder in the rubber match of their series. If Fury repeats over Wilder whom he knocked out last year to win the WBC and Ring Magazine titles to earn his second FOTY award (he previously won in 2015 on the strength of his title upset win over Wladimir Klitschko) in tie with Teofimo Lopez, Fury may bag yet another FOTY honor.
In December, undisputed world super lightweight champion Josh Taylor will meet fellow Briton Jack Catteral in defense of his unified WBC-WBA-IBF-WBO and Ring Magazine lineal world titles. Another impressive win by Taylor will just be an icing on his championship cake built around his victory over Jose Ramirez last July but will boost his chances for a first FOTY award.
This is just talking of Canelo's conceivable famous rivals for the FOTY award.
There are a lot of not as celebrated world champion fighters who could upset the proverbial applecart as Gervonta "Tank" Davis, Jamel Herring, Shakur Stevenson, even the drug-tainted Oscar Valdez who made some waves this year. There is still time for any of these fighters to fight each other or some other big names as Vasyl Lomachenko, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney in high profile match ups.
And there's the threesome of Naoya Inoue, Nonito Donaire and Johnriel Casimero in any combination of a unification fight before the year's end will put the winner in serious contention for the 2021 Fighter of the Year award. Especially the two Filipinos who are coming off big wins over Nordine Oubaali and Guillermo Rigondeaux, respectively.
As they say, anything can still happen before the year winds down.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.
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