2021 BOXER OF THE YEAR: CANELO ALVAREZ
Canelo became the first ever undisputed super middleweight world champion, stopping Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO super middleweight as well as Caleb Plant for the IBF super middleweight title in one calendar year.
Add to the fact, he took a stay-busy fight in February facing Avni Yildirim, stopping him in three rounds, and you have both historically relevance to his calendar with the other vital component activity.
Canelo is at the peak of his Canelo powers right now, and though I think he might be able to ascend a tad bit more, Canelo is nearing his apex mountain, and his apex is rarified air, and is making him look to be on track as the greatest Mexican boxer to ever live.
Canelo has gone from in the beginning being seen as an overhyped Mexican with red hair that was more of a gimmick than substance to now being mentioned amongst the Ray Robinson’s, Floyd Mayweather’s, other fellow great fighter of all-time. Beyond, just his historical implication of becoming a four-belt champion at 168 lbs, Canelo is also crossing promotional and network lines fighting on DAZN with Matchroom as well as on Showtime with Premier Boxing Champions, exceptions will always be made for greatness, like we’re seeing with Jaron “Boots” Ennis currently.
In a year that Canelo’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, emerged as one of the top-tier coaches with marquee wins with Ryan Garcia and Oscar Valdez, Canelo stood firm, and fought every world champion in his way to become the guy.
Looking at the year in retrospect, Canelo came back quickly in February after winning the the vacant WBC super middleweight title and WBA title in December of 2020 defeating Callum Smith, as he stopped Avni Yildirim quickly in three rounds in a showcase bout, two months.
Canelo would then defeat WBO super middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders via an eighth-round knockout as Canelo, especially this year proved himself to be a fierce power-puncher, who gets stronger later into the fights.
His final bout, a win over Caleb Plant for the IBF super middleweight world title, was one of the iconic performances of his career as it made him a historically great super middleweight, and winning the bout via an eleventh round stoppage was the cherry on top.
Canelo fought three times, winning each bout by stoppage, never really facing a ton of adversity in the process. Canelo is the best fighter alive, currently. The only qualm you can have with him is his 2018 PED violation, and beyond that the guy has an amazing resume, and skillset.
In order to be the fighter of the year, you have to be active, which Canelo was, he fought three times, as well as having meaningful wins, and with two of his wins being against current world champions, it is safe to say – Canelo, all but sealed up the victory with his stoppage of Caleb Plant.
For boxing fans, you might as well enjoy Canelo Alvarez’s while he is here as this is not unlike Kobe Bryant in his prime playing for the Lakers, people this great at something don’t always come around.
Oleksandr Usyk – Usyk went to Anthony Joshua’s home soil, in an outfit of an astronaut and outclassed him. It would have been his second time in only a few years becoming fighter of the year, but activity, might be the only thing that limits him from being the best this year
Tyson Fury – The greatest modern heavyweight since Lennox Lewis, put a capstone to his trilogy with Deontay Wilder by ending the best fight of the three with knockout that will be remembered in boxing lore until the end of time. Fury only fought once this year, and has only fought Wilder in his last three fights, but Wilder might have been the most dangerous guy in the division not named Tyson Fury in that given time as well.
Josh Taylor – What Taylor has done is impressive creating a hall-of-fame resume in only eighteen fights. His lone win over Jose Ramirez was a hard-fought true undisputed world champion crowning, put the world on notice that Taylor might ended up as one of the greatest fighters from the U.K. ever as he belongs on lists with modern greats such as Joe Calzaghe and Carl Froch.
George Kambosos Jnr. – When you shock the world and beat Teofimo Lopez, you deserve to get a mention, but like most of the fighters in this category, the lack of activity did him in on winning the award.