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Avila Perspective, Chap 125: Canelo and other 4-Division Title-holders

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 125: Canelo and other 4-Division Title-holders

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    By David A. Avila

    Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) defends the WBA and WBC super middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) on Saturday Feb. 27, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. DAZN will stream the fight card.

    For the second consecutive week a four-division world champion performs.

    “I always imagined the best for myself but never to this magnitude,” said Alvarez, 30. “I want to keep making history.”

    Last week four-division titlist Adrien “The Problem” Broner returned to the boxing ring after a two-year absence and defeated Jovanie Santiago by unanimous decision. It was a battle designed for Broner to shake off the cobwebs developed since his prior fight against Manny Pacquiao.

    Fans forget Broner captured world titles in four divisions. It’s quite an accomplishment for any fighter to win world titles in multiple divisions. For a fan to deride or devalue either Broner’s or Canelo Alvarez’s accomplishment of four-division world titles means only one thing said one true expert:

    “They don’t know s*** about boxing,” said the late great Roger Mayweather. His words and overall boxing wisdom remain strong in my memory.

    One of my goals whenever I hit Las Vegas in the past was to visit two-division world champ Roger Mayweather. If you ever had a chance to converse with any of the Mayweathers you know what I mean; they have deep-rooted knowledge about the history of the fight game.

    Once at the Top Rank Gym, probably around 2007, I was chatting with Mayweather in the office with another boxing writer who was discrediting Oscar De La Hoya’s accomplishments as a multi-division world champion.

    Mayweather straightened up from his chair and looked dead in the guy’s eyes and said to the writer “you ever fight in the ring?”

    The writer shook his head.

    Mayweather waved both his hands at him and said his now legendary line “you don’t know s*** about boxing.” He further explained that anytime you win a world title is a big thing. And if you win world titles in multiple divisions well that’s super human. He called them special fighters. They don’t come along very often.

    Roger Mayweather passed away last March 17. It was a great loss to the boxing world. I’ll never forget his words on multiple-division winners. Mayweather captured world titles in the super featherweight and super lightweight divisions. If you consider the IBO title legitimate, Mayweather also won the welterweight title.

    I can imagine Mayweather telling today’s fans and writers that they don’t know boxing if they think winning world titles in four divisions is nothing.

    Roger Mayweather was one of the smartest boxing people I ever met and one heck of a fighter who sold out venues like the Inglewood Forum. As trainer for “Money” Mayweather he was very under-rated in my opinion. And gone too soon.

    More Broner and Alvarez.

    The first world title achieved by Broner was the WBO super featherweight title by knockout of Vicente Rodriguez in November 2011. Then he moved up a division and defeated Mexico’s super tough Antonio DeMarco for the WBO lightweight title by stoppage in November 2012. Broner jumped up again in weight to challenge Paul Malignaggi for the WBA welterweight title and squeaked out a split decision over the Brooklyn fighter in June 2013. After losing to Marcos Maidana in December 2013, he dropped down to super lightweight and defeated Khabib Allakhverdiev for the WBA world title by technical knockout in the 12th round October 2015. He eventually lost a version of the title by decision to Mikey Garcia on July 2017.

    At 30 years old, Canelo has now entered his prime years. He grabbed his first world title in March 2011 beating Ricky Hatton for the WBC super welterweight title. He lost that title to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Not until November 2015 did he move up to take the WBC middleweight title from Miguel Cotto. Alvarez then fought Gennady Golovkin twice, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. before moving up to win the WBA super middleweight title from Rocky Fielding in December 2018. Then Canelo moved up to light heavyweight in November 2019 and knocked out Sergey Kovalev.

    Alvarez now has won four division world titles like Broner and is poised to defend the super middleweight titles against Yildirum on Saturday. Two months ago, Alvarez handed Callum Smith his first professional defeat while taking away his WBA title and adding the WBC. The Mexican redhead continues to make history.

    “It’s really important for me to leave a legacy in this sport,” said Alvarez. “There are still many milestones I have to achieve.”

    Four-Titles or More Club

    Among those with four or more division world titles are:

    Leo Gamez (1985-2005) minimum weight, light flyweight, flyweight, and super flyweight

    Jorge Arce (1996-2014) light flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight and super bantamweight.

    Roman Gonzalez (2005-present) minimum weight, light flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight

    Nonito Donaire (2003-present) flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight

    Miguel Cotto (2001-2015) super lightweight, welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight

    Juan Manuel Marquez (1993-2014) featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, and super lightweight.

    Erik Morales (1993-2011) super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and super lightweight

    Pernell Whitaker (1984-2001) lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight

    Roberto Duran (1968-2001) lightweight, welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight

    Roy Jones Jr. (1988-present) middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.

    Five-Titles Club

    Sugar Ray Leonard (1977-1997) welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight

    Tommy Hearns (1977-2006) welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. (1996-present) super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight

    Naoko Fujioka (2009-present) minimum weight, light flyweight, flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight.

    Six-Titles Club

    Oscar De La Hoya (1992-2008) super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight

    Seven-Titles Club

    Amanda Serrano (2009-present) super flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight

    Eight-Titles Club

    Manny Pacquiao (1995-present) flyweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight, and super welterweight

    Straw Stirrers

    New WBC super featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez joined the unique list of fighters who are in position to dictate their respective weight divisions in a big way. I call them the straw stirrers or to mimic New York Yankee great Reggie Jackson’s famous quote “the straw that stirs the drink.”

    Valdez’s knockout win over the heavily favored Miguel Berchelt last week to win the WBC world title was one of those moments that captivates the world on multiple levels:

    First, Valdez was not supposed to win according to the experts. Second, his emphatic one-punch knockout win via the vaunted Mexican left hook was a moment that will be viewed more than a million times on YouTube.com. Third, the super featherweight division is crackling with talent and gate attractions like Jojo Diaz, Jamel Herring, Tevin Farmer, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Vasyl Lomachenko and Shakur Stevenson. And if Valdez seeks an even bigger payday he can move up one division where he will definitely find big money guys like Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, and the other straw stirrer Teofimo Lopez.

    At the moment, Valdez holds the key to stirring the super featherweight drink.

    Fights to Watch

    Sat. 5 p.m. FOX Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1) vs Kyrone Davis (15-2).

    Sat. 5 p.m. DAZN Saul Alvarez (54-1-2) vs Avni Yildirim (21-2).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel
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