How many brothers does Canelo Álvarez have? Are any of Canelo’s brothers boxers?
Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez came from a family full of boxers and with that, we’re taking a look at those who inspired him to step into the ring: his brothers.
As he prepares to take on his next opponent in Las Vegas on Saturday night, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the story of the Mexican champion and how he came to be what he is today. From his childhood when he was picked on by others in his neighborhood, all the way to when he began to show the world he was not to be messed with.
The Story of Canelo Álvarez
Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán was the runt of the family. Growing up the youngest of eight children in Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico, his pale skin and red hair were the source of taunting and trouble in school. The object of the other kids’ bullying, Saúl was naturally meek, to the point that he would not fight back. His six older brothers were all boxers, with Rigoberto to later become the interim WBA world champion, and who now advised his baby brother to use his hands when he was picked on.
Soon, tired of being called “pecoso”, or freckle-face, the young Saúl let his hands do the talking and found that he could whip boys twice his size. The nickname that he came to embrace over time was “Canelo”, or cinnamon, in reference to his red hair. But in those early years, the youngest Álvarez boy was a true fighter.
“In school, they would expel me and I had to go tell my mother. All because they called me names, making fun of me. I was just a normal boy, stronger than the others and I would defend my friends. A fighter. I was always this way. Strong and quick to anger. I wasn’t very well behaved.”
By the time Canelo was 11 years old, he had followed his older brothers into the Julian Magdaleno boxing gym. He dismantled every opponent with a brutality that led amateur trainers to refuse fights against the young Álvarez for fear that their own fighter would be hurt. When he was 15, he had no amateur options in front of him and was forced to turn professional simply to get a fight.
In his first 19 months as a pro, Canelo had 23 fights, knocking out 21 of his opponents. That pale skin, red hair, and light complexion that was the source of his early troubles now guaranteed the rising pugilist media interest in Mexico. One of the lasting legacies of centuries of colonization by Spain is a deep-seated fascination and preference in Mexican culture for light skin. Televisa, the national television broadcaster, has routinely made household names of actors and singers based almost entirely on this ingrained worldview. Canelo now found himself the beneficiary of the very thing that tormented his childhood.
“I turned around and all this happened suddenly. It was very weird. I didn’t see it coming.”
The rising star had fought only a handful of times outside of Mexico when he was offered the chance to challenge Floyd Mayweather at the tender age of 23 in Las Vegas. Since that fight, he has fought almost exclusively in the United States and has become perhaps the biggest draw on the Vegas strip.
In 2008, the Álvarez brothers made history, becoming the first set of brothers to fully man the undercard of a fight. Three of them lost in their debut fights, the other four won, including Canelo’s unanimous decision over Miguel Vázquez.
The brothers Álvarez
Ramón is the International Boxing Federation Light Middleweight Champion with a record of 28-8-3. His last bout was a unanimous decision over Omar Chavez last year.
Ricardo has been inactive since 2014, holding a professional record of 24-3-0. His last fight was a unanimous decision win over John Michael Johnson.
Rigoberto holds a professional record of 27-4-0 and is a former WBC Super Middleweight, Mexican National Middleweight and Super Middleweight. His last bout was a unanimous decision loss to Anthony Mundine in October 2019.
All about family
Canelo revealed in an interview that back in December 2018, just as he prepared to fight Rocky Fielding, one of his brothers was kidnapped, leading the champ to negotiate personally with the kidnappers.
“Three days I negotiated with those assholes so they would let him go. Three days. And on top of that, I had to fight on Saturday, and a thousand interviews and everything, and no one knew anything.”
He doesn’t elaborate on which of his brothers was kidnapped, but one thing is clear. For Canelo, family comes above everything else.