How To Develop A Boxing Style Like Canelo Alvarez

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is undoubtedly one of the best currently active boxers. By becoming the undisputed Super-Middleweight Champion with his 11th-round knockout win over Caleb Plant this weekend, Canelo further cements the claim of him being the consensus #1 pound-for-pound active boxer.

Canelo has a brilliant career with a unique boxing style that is both entertaining and dangerously effective in the ring. 

Today, Evolve Daily shares how to develop a boxing style like Canelo Alvarez.


Mexican Boxing Style And Attributes

Canelo’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, describes his style as the classic Mexican style. He goes on to explain that many confuse the fighting spirit that Mexican fighters possess with the traditional style. The Mexican style of boxing is all about the sweet science, to hit and not get hit. Canelo studied tapes of fighters such as Jose Napoles and Gilberto Roman, picking up tricks from the Mexican-style masters and implementing them to his style.


Solid Footwork

Without a doubt, Canelo’s entire boxing style is built on a foundation of solid footwork. Unlike many fighters, he doesn’t try anything flashy or extravagant. Instead, he focuses on mastering the basics, training to improve his efficiency, and eliminating any mistakes no matter how trivial they are. To develop a boxing style like Canelo’s, you must strive for perfection while you train and hold yourself accountable. Practice and drill your basic footwork until it becomes second nature. This will free up your brain to focus on defensive and offensive responsibilities, allowing you to float around the ring as you execute your game plan against your opponent.

The box drill is effective for developing fluidity moving in all directions. Watch as coach Tom Yankello demonstrates the drill with his student above.

Once you have achieved a level of fluidity with the basic box drill, add pivots to increase its effectiveness in the ring. Pivoting is a simple concept, but it is often underutilized by many boxers. Remember to keep your weight balanced and avoid a lazy heel as you pivot.


Head Movements And Pull Counters 

Canelo has incredible defensive skills, being able to negate most damages from incoming punches. He does this by combining an active guard with head movement. This all starts with a base of solid footwork. The more control you have, the faster you’re able to move. One of his commonly used techniques is the pull counter. Popularized by Floyd Mayweather, this technique is usually reserved for defensive fighters. When training the pull counter, use your hands as a counterbalance, much like how fighters swing their arms when throwing a kick.

This allows you to move faster and load up your rear hand for a powerful counter. This is the same concept that Canelo uses when he slips. Often, he will lower one or both of his hands, either as a counterbalance or a feint. Another technique that Canelo frequents is the forearm, or leverage block. He uses this to parry an opponent’s jab while moving into range for a counterblow. This is especially deceptive in the ring, as the motion for the leverage block matches the motion of a jab or a jab feint.

The elbow block is another technique that Canelo frequently uses. It is similar to the shoulder roll but uses the elbow as the point of contact instead of the shoulder. This technique can also be used after throwing your left hook to defend against a cross counter.


Training Heavy Punches 

Canelo has a highlight reel of incredible knockouts. His creative punching and raw power, along with his jab, are key aspects of his effective offense. It’s not enough to just land your punch on your opponent, you must inflict damage on them as well. To develop a style like Canelo’s, you must train your jab heavily. A heavy bag is crucial in this process as it allows you to sit down fully on your punches, getting in lots of quality reps. The reps must all be of good quality, as well as high enough in number to ingrain into your muscle memory. Remember, the right hand takes you around the block, but the jab takes you around the world.

Start with a simple combo utilizing head movement. Take a boxing stance in front of your heavy bag, dip to avoid your opponent’s imaginary shot, then counter with a rear cross followed by a lead hook. Canelo has shown this drill on numerous occasions and has scored many knockouts with this exact technique. There is no secret here other than countless repetitions.


Warrior Spirit 

Canelo’s mental game is just as important as anything physical he does in the ring. With very few exceptions, he maintains his composure and is respectful and humble towards his opponents. This mindset falls in line with that of a martial artist, placing the craft and integrity of boxing before all else.

Not being afraid to get hit is another component of Canelo’s warrior spirit. This can be achieved with a moderate amount of focused sparring, as well as partner and pad drills. However, it is not the same as a full-power punch coming towards you in the ring. Canelo can relax and trust in his skills because of how hard he trains. Take a page from his book and master the fundamentals of boxing. It is not enough to just go through the motions, you must put your all into every repetition of every technique.


Final Thoughts

Canelo certainly has a very interesting approach when it comes to boxing, be it practicing or competing, he’s shown us what it’s like to truly embrace and box with an open mind. See if you could incorporate some of Canelo’s style into your next sparring session! Train hard and stay safe!


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