5 keys for Canelo Alvarez
Plotting a path to victory against Josesito Lopez
A victory for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez against Josesito Lopez on Saturday in Las Vegas may seem guaranteed to many people. But it is far from that.
Even though the WBC junior middleweight champion is the clear favorite, his supremacy is not that overwhelming. Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) will have to put together an intelligent strategy in order to avoid surprises, while Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) will have to pull off yet another upset by defeating the prohibitive favorite.
In these five keys, we analyze the tools available to Alvarez as he attempts to craft a victory Saturday.
|Alvarez will have to put pressure early on Lopez. Canelo is stronger and will have to use his weight advantage to take control of the center of the ring and dictate the rhythm of the fight. |
Punishment to the body
|It's a basic rule when a fighter knows that although he is the stronger puncher, his opponent is weaker and will be faster on his feet. Canelo should use the hook permanently to punish the midsection of Lopez and then follow up with the same tool, this time gunning for the chin.|
KO before the sixth
|For several reasons, Alvarez should look for a knockout in the first half of the fight. Not only because he is the favorite and needs to confirm that notion, but also because his opponent is lighter. Alvarez is the champion and if he doesn't finish Lopez early, the challenger may grow into the fight. After so many tailor-made opponents, the fans will take no less than a solid and early KO for Canelo.|
Fighting in close quarters
|Though there are no significant differences in reach between the two fighters, fighting at mid- and long range are not advisable for Canelo. He should be looking to fight inside, where he does not run the risk of the same surprise that happened to Victor Ortiz. In close quarters, the power belongs to the champion, and the chances of finding an early knockout grow proportionally.|
Cut off the ring
|Lopez will be on the move permanently; something Alvarez should try to keep from happening. Canelo will have to cut off the ring and push his opponent against the ropes, where he will be able to apply powerful combinations. If the battle goes past the sixth round, Alvarez will have to surprise the challenger by surrendering the initiative in the fight. With this, he will neglect Lopez's strategy and will lure him into his own domain, where his punching power will do the rest of the job.|
Bernardo Pilatti is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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