A complete breakdown by category of the two undisputed world champions who will throw down in an unprecedented battle Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, live on Pay-Per-View.
This Saturday, September 30, Mexican pound-for-pound great Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez puts his Undisputed Super Middleweight World Title on the line against Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion Jermell "Iron Man" Charlo in an unprecedented battle between undisputed champs at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, live on Pay-Per-View (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Canelo and Charlo have circled each other for years. Now, they finally meet in an explosive battle between two hard-punching future Hall of Famers. So, who has the advantages heading into Saturday night’s main event? Here is a breakdown of two of the game’s finest warriors:
Few fighters have been able to make Canelo take a backward step when he wasn’t inclined to do so. Canelo is undefeated at super middleweight, muscling around champions and contenders with brute force. He is arguably the strongest fighter in the division.
Charlo is arguably the strongest fighter at junior middleweight and proven it with his impressive track record that has made him one of the greatest ever in that weight class.
Can he carry that strength to 168-pounds—facing perhaps the strongest fighter in it? It’s a tall task but standing 6-0, Charlo has a significant height advantage over Canelo and should be able to fill out nicely in this new weight class.
Verdict: Canelo has the edge here as he’s proven it at 168, a division he’s called home for nearly five years. Charlo is moving up two divisions. Strength is expected to be one of Canelo’s advantages.
Canelo may not be considered a fast fighter, but his hands are deceptively quick. Much of that is due to his elite trait of impeccable timing. However, Canelo is just as fast throwing in combination—and deadlier.
In his November 2021 battle against then-unbeaten IBF 168-pound world champion, Caleb Plant, the Mexican legend caught Plant off guard with a whipping left hook in the 11th that caused the bout’s first knockdown. Canelo would finish Plant off in that same round to become the undisputed super middleweight king.
Charlo possesses fast hands and great timing as well. Against a who’s who of top junior middleweights, he has consistently beaten opponents to the punch. Charlo is blessed with natural athleticism – quick hands and feet. He also varies the speed on his shots, lulling foes before upping the ante with shots they don’t anticipate. This is one of his best characteristics.
Verdict: Charlo should be the faster fighter here. At the very least, he may be significantly faster than any opponent Canelo has fought in recent years.
With 39 KOs in 59 wins, Canelo remains one of the hardest hitters in the fistic sport and they have come in a variety of ways.
Canelo destroyed the likes of James Kirkland, Amir Khan and Sergey Kovalev with concussive single shots, finished Liam Smith with a body shot, and sent Caleb Plant into surrender in violent fashion.
He has carried his power well through the weight classes and is a vicious puncher whether throwing to the head or body, particularly with his left hand.
Once known as strictly a boxer, Charlo became a boxer-puncher once he joined trainer Derrick James in 2016. He has notched 15 knockdowns in his last 11 bouts and stopped every titleholder he faced on his way to capturing all four belts at 154.
Charlo rises to the occasion in his biggest bouts and saved some of his highlight-reel KOs for those moments. Like Canelo, his left hand is one of the best in the sport. Can he carry that tremendous power up to 168?
Verdict: Given that Canelo has been at this weight class longer, he should hold the advantage in power. However, if Charlo is able to bring his power to super middleweight, this becomes an entirely different conversation.
Canelo has one of the strongest chins in boxing. He has never been knocked down as a pro and rarely shown any outward appearance of being hurt by a shot.
Charlo also carries one of the best chins in the sport. The 33-year-old Houston native has been dropped only once in his career, a flash knockdown when he was a prospect that he rose quickly from and appeared unhurt.
Since then, he’s taken big shots from many of the most powerful hitters at 154 and barely flinched.
Verdict: As they are in most categories, both guys are elite in this one. That said, Charlo has never taken punches from a 168-pounder under the bright lights. He certainly won’t want to take too many from Canelo.
At his best, Canelo is a durable, well-conditioned fighter, as he showed versus Plant in stopping him late. Recently, however, Canelo has struggled with his stamina in the latter rounds, slowing down versus Dmitry Bivol, Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder in his last three bouts. According to the four-division champion, much of that can be attributed to injuries that he has since gotten over. his career as he tires when fights continue to the latter stages.
Charlo is the exact opposite, consistently outlasting his opponents and proving to be the stronger fighter late in the fight. While opponents naturally slow down as the rounds progress, Charlo picks up his pace – and his power remains from the first to the final bell. Will moving up to 168 slow him down? Unlikely as he has been hard at work in the gym preparing himself to carry more weight.
Verdict: If this fight goes the distance, that could spell big trouble for Canelo, particularly if he’s unable to hurt Charlo.
Canelo is one of the most technically proficient boxers in the game. His defense is sublime. While he doesn’t often utilize footwork, he quickly cuts the ring off and gives up little ground, using slick head movement to slip punches and the kind of parrying that is a lost art in today’s game.
Offensively, he throws every shot with precision. He has mastered the art of counterpunching and is as dangerous in close quarters as he is at mid-range.
Charlo is a well-schooled fighter who uses his height, reach and deft footwork to keep his opponents off-balance and himself out of harm’s way. Inside, he keeps a tight guard and can execute every defensive maneuver in the book.
Offensively, he works his potent offense behind a solid, thudding jab. He throws to the head and body with hands at a variety of angles. He is, without question, one of the premier offensive fighters in the sport today.
Verdict: Charlo has been successful using his height and reach advantage against smaller opponents and with his fleet-footed, defensively conscious styles, he could give Canelo a run for his money but he will be in trouble if the burden of fighting up two weight classes at 168 restricts him from moving.
Canelo has been a pro boxer since 2005 and with 63 pro bouts, many against the sport’s finest, he has seen it all inside the ring and is well-equipped for anything his opponent brings.
Canelo has been involved in 21 world championship bouts through four different weight classes. Few in the sport today can match the big fight experience he carries.
As a rising prospect, Charlo was matched tough, beating the likes of a young Gabriel Rosado, and veterans such as Harry Joe Yorgey and Demetrius Hopkins.
Those tough fights early on helped prepare Charlo for a run that has made him the only undisputed 154-pound world champion in the four-belt era. Along the way, he’s beaten the best of the best, with wins over Brian Castano, Erickson Lubin, Tony Harrison, Jeison Rosario, Austin Trout and many more.
With nine world championships to his credit, Charlo believes the time is now to not only show that he is a Hall of Famer but that he is a true all-time great.
Verdict: These are two experienced world champions but no one else in boxing today is more familiar with the big fight feel than Canelo Alvarez.
For a closer look at Canelo vs Charlo, check out our fight night page.