Atlas on Canelo Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez

By Robert Ecksel on September 11, 2012
Atlas on Canelo Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez
Teddy shoots from the hip and is guaranteed to ruffle feathers and tweak the status quo.

“But Alvarez has flaws that when he fights the right guy, or the wrong guy, all of the sudden you’re going to see BANG!—he’s going to get knocked out…”

It seems like only yesterday that much was being made of the fact that Top Rank and Golden Boy were going head-to-head with dueling pay-per-view cards in the same city on the same night.

Their young guns, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-0-1) and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-0-1) respectively, both of whom have been protected, were finally stepping it up against credible opposition. Chavez Jr. was going up against the seasoned and skilled Sergio Martinez (49-2-2) at the Thomas & Mack Arena. Canelo was going to get it on with the always entertaining but seemingly always star-crossed Victor Ortiz (29-4-2) at the MGM Grand.

Josesito Lopez (30-4) threw a wrench in the works when he moved up in weight from junior welterweight and succeeded in breaking Ortiz’s jaw in a May 23 tune-up. That come-from-behind victory elevated Josesito in many people’s eyes, and as a reward for all his trouble he was designated as Canelo’s replacement for the indisposed Ortiz.

We should thank the 28-year-old journeyman from Riverside, California for ending the discussion as to whose fight card is bigger and better. We also need to wish Lopez well as he moves up another weight class to take on the junior middleweight juggernaut from Jalisco, Mexico.

Wanting to get a take on the weekend’s festivities in Vegas, I spoke with Teddy Atlas. Whether one loves or hates him—there seems to be no middle ground—Atlas is guaranteed to ruffle feathers and tweak the status quo, which is one of the reasons I enjoy speaking with him. I first wanted to discuss Canelo—and Atlas got right to the point.

“I think Alvarez is going to be too big,” Teddy said. “He’s also younger than Lopez. I think he’s a guy who still hasn’t been tested. He hasn’t been in with anything fantastic where we can have a definitive idea in our heads, or at least what we think is definitive, where we can say, ‘Yeah, this is the guy.’ He’s been pretty well managed and he’s been able to avoid deep waters. The navigation’s been pretty good. He’s strong. He’s a guy who is still coming into his own as far as believing in himself, believing in his development as a fighter. I think there’s still an upside to the improvements you’re going to see because of his confidence as he does start to kind of believe that he’s at the level that he’s at and that he can handle that level and that he can be all the things the people around him want him to believe he can be. That’s a process, and I think that process is probably taking place now. And he’s going to show you the benefits of that process as he gains more and more mental maturity and confidence.”

No discussion of Canelo would be complete without mentioning his opponent Josesito Lopez.

“I think Lopez is where he is,” said Atlas matter-of-factly. “I don’t think he’s going to get any better. I think he’s a tough kid. I think he’s a real pro. He did a terrific job with a guy who had some flaws, who was bigger than him, but where the toughness of Lopez could bring out some of the flaws in Victor Ortiz. Me and Cus used to have a saying in boxing years ago: ‘When you’re in a fight where it comes down to one man’s skill against one man’s will, usually the other man’s will will always come out on top, always wins except in the cases where one man’s physical skills are so dominant that the other man’s will never gets tested.’ I always stick by that. And this might be one of those cases where the will of Lopez doesn’t get a chance to test Alvarez, to show itself and do what it does because of the skill level of Alvarez, the physical level of Alvarez, may be so dominant the Alvarez’s will just isn’t tested.”

As Teddy described it, Alvarez vs. Lopez almost sounds like a foregone conclusion. But there was more, much more, as it pertained to Canelo Alvarez.

“I think Alvarez has flaws,” Atlas said after catching his breath. “I see them. I don’t know that they’re going to be put to the forefront, to the surface in this fight. But he does have flaws. He beat up a very, very decrepit Shane Mosley. And that’s the right word. I don’t mean to knock him, but I’m in a business where you need to tell the truth. The truth gets to you fast. If you bullshit around about it, you’re playing games in a business where you shouldn’t be playing games. It’s too tough a business to be playing games. He beat up a very decrepit Mosley. Mosley’s shot. Mosley shouldn’t have been in the ring. He’s damaged, and got more damaged in that fight. But you couldn’t help but look and say, ‘If Mosley was a few years younger, there are a lot of things he could have done.’

“Everyone looks at the good. But from the business end of the sport that I’ve been in all my life, I try to look at the whole picture, not just what he did but what he got away with, and what he might not get away with the next time. And I see Alvarez getting away with things. He stands straight up and in certain defensive areas I see him vulnerable to a guy that is together enough to take advantage of those vulnerabilities. I have a feeling one of these days Alvarez is going to find himself in trouble. He’s going to get caught by shots on top. Kind of like Roy Jones Jr.”

Roy Jones Jr.? I wasn’t sure that I got the connection and asked Atlas to elaborate.

“I always thought that when Jones started dissipating when he got older—when he couldn’t rely on his physical skills and speed and timing and reflexes—the things he did wrong and the habits he developed that were wrong from a technical standpoint, they came back to haunt him. They obviously bit him in the ass and he paid a price for that, for not having those good habits. But I looked at it differently. I thought he was always vulnerable because of those bad habits, but the guys he was fighting were intimidated by his speed. They weren’t real pros. A real pro doesn’t get intimidated by speed. If there’s an opportunity to have an opening because a guy’s doing something wrong, they’re going to take that opening. They’re not going to hesitate. They’re going to throw that punch without that millimeter or second of hesitation that’s the difference between landing or not landing. And I always thought even when he was younger, if any of those guys or kinds of guys threw the punch—they would have landed. He didn’t meet pros like Glencoffe Johnson. I don’t know if I want to call Tarver one of those, but maybe at that point he was. Maybe it was a combination of Roy being diminished and Tarver being more of a pro than the other guys he met. But definitely Glencoffe Johnson and Tarver represented a better level of guys than Roy had fought. They did. You can’t include Toney because Toney was diminished because he took off too much weight for that fight. I believe Toney was empty. But Johnson and Tarver were an upgrade of the guys he had been beating and they caught him at a diminished state, at an older state, so we can blame that. But I always allege that the opportunities to hit Jones were always there if you had the right guy in there to take advantage of those opportunities that were given him. And I look at Alvarez the same way. I’m not saying he’s as talented as Jones was, and I’m not saying he does things as technically wrong as Roy Jones did. Because one of the things Roy Jones did that made him so good is he made right wrong, because of who he was fighting and because of his physical abilities.

“But Alvarez has flaws that when he fights the right guy, or the wrong guy, all of the sudden you’re going to see BANG!—he’s going to get knocked out. And all of a sudden everybody’s going to say, ‘Oh jeez, where did that come from?’ It didn’t come from anywhere. It came from where it always was. It was there. It didn’t suddenly show up that night. It was there. He just fought a guy on that night who wasn’t afraid to throw those punches, who was good enough to throw those punches. But having said that, I don’t think it’s going to happen when he fights Josesito Lopez. Maybe it will. But I don’t think so.”

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  1. NYIrish 08:58pm, 09/15/2012

    Just saw Canelo stop Lopez and he looked cool and precise doing it. I want to see him fight guys in his own weight division from now on.

  2. bill major 03:17pm, 09/15/2012

    teddy ,that’s exactly my opinion, he has flaws and i think this guy will show them and win

  3. NYIrish 07:54am, 09/14/2012

    Top o the mornin Don.

  4. NYIrish 05:43am, 09/14/2012

    Thanks Pete. I should never submit anything on my first cup of coffee.

  5. Dan 11:27pm, 09/13/2012

    Teddy says ‘Me and Cus used to have a saying.”  He is carried away with tying self to D’Amato.  He tries ot paint self now as Cus’s partner in training, which he wasn’t.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 04:15pm, 09/13/2012

    Canelo is living proof that the San Patricios did more than fight for Old Mexico!

  7. Richard Powell 12:47pm, 09/13/2012

    Excellent read, thanks Robert.  Very informative.

  8. Don from Prov 04:30am, 09/13/2012

    Great post, NYIrish—pretty much nails it, IMO.

    Thresher makes some points too, but being taken deep by “Cotto’s brother”-

    Well it ain’t the same as being taken deep by Cotto.

  9. Pete The Sneak 04:29am, 09/13/2012

    @ NYIrish…Took me a second or two in order to realize whom you were speaking of (serves me right for perusing this site so early in the morn), but hey, be that as it may, I thought it was a damn good analogy regardless. Peace brother.

  10. NYIrish 03:26am, 09/13/2012

    Sorry fellow travelers. Got Lopez and Danny Garcia mixed up. Thanks for not jumping on me. What round is it, Mick?

  11. the thresher 02:47pm, 09/12/2012

    Teddy hates fighters with athleticism.

  12. the thresher 02:46pm, 09/12/2012

    Milo, Teddy hates Hopkins, Roach, and the Klits. Go figure? Teddy wears his emotions on his sleeve.

  13. NYIrish 01:48pm, 09/12/2012

    I usually agree with what Teddy says. Sometimes it just takes him so damn long to say it.
    I don’t think Lopez has the goods to press Alvarez hard enough to give him the chance to fall apart at the seams. Lopez is outweighed. He’s coming up a division to fight a ringwise banger at his natural weight.
    Lopez has a lot more in front of him than he did with Khan. Alvarez is more durable and steady, more relaxed in the exchanges. This makes him harder to hit solid. Alvarez punches a lot shorter and crisper than Lopez. Josesito will be out gunned in the exchanges and will have to resort to retreating and lunging in with wild shots. The shot he finished Khan with was a very wide hook. The best part of that punch was Khan walking straight into it. Alvarez will be harder to find with wide punches.
    And I believe that Canelo can take a good swat when he has to. Just because we haven’t seen a guy get banged around and come back doesn,t mean he can’t.
    Lopez is an undefeated fighter. I said he had to make his own luck early with Khan. He did. I think he’s overmatched in this one. Maybe lightning will strike twice, but we know the odds on that occurrence. He’s not on short notice for this fight. Maybe he’ll be sharper than I’ve seen him. I’m sure they’ll both come to fight. I think Alvarez will do it within the distance.

  14. Milo 06:23am, 09/12/2012

    Teddy forgot that Roy defeated Hopkins in his prime. I guess Hopkins wasn’t a real pro.
    Teddy hates fighters with power and speed.

  15. the thresher 03:39pm, 09/11/2012

    Atlas can be very harsh, but he can be very astute. Hard to criticize him, but I don’t agree on his breakdown of Canelo. He forgets that this “kid” is really a ring veteran.

    As for the horiffic “deep waters” point, Canelo was taken into those waters by Cotto’s brother but he prevailed and became the first guy to stop Cotto. Canelo has gone up against some decent opposition.

    As for Joselito, he is going for the gold ring and why not? EVERYTHING TO GAIN AND NOT ALL THAT MUCH TO LOSE.

  16. MIKE SCHMIDT 02:52pm, 09/11/2012

    What’s that old Cowboy song fearless Editor; “Be yerself, Nobody better tell ya yer doing it wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Another no bullshit bang on breakdown by Mr T. Atlas—keep em coming.

  17. the thresher 02:25pm, 09/11/2012

    Great videos. Thanks.

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