As Canelo Alvarez prepares to face welterweight Amir Khan on Saturday at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, there's no better time to reflect on the five best performances of the middleweight champion's career.
Alvarez, who meets Khan in a 155-pound catchweight bout, has not had an easy road to the top. There were a few dark moments along the way, including Alvarez's only loss, to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and the time he was nearly knocked out by Jose Miguel Cotto in 2010.
But the Mexican star, who is 46-1-1 with 32 knockouts, has displayed the skills that have enabled him to move up and become the popular fighter he is today.
5. Alvarez passes test against veteran Shane Mosley (May 5, 2012)
Alvarez already had captured his first world title, but fans felt he had not yet been truly tested. At the age of 40, Mosley would provide that test -- and Alvarez proved he could overcome the challenge with ease. Despite getting cut in the third round, Alvarez kept Mosley at bay, landing nearly twice as many punches. This marked the final time Alvarez would fight on anyone's undercard, as he defeated Mosley by unanimous decision in the co-feature of Floyd Mayweather's win over Miguel Cotto. At 21, Alvarez was a star on the rise and Golden Boy Promotions' most prized fighter.
4. Canelo blows away brawler James Kirkland (May 9, 2015)
Alvarez came out on top in this clash of titans in front of 31,000 fans at Houston's Minute Maid Park. Kirkland certainly had his flaws and was coming off a long layoff, but he brought with him plenty of danger. In a brave and intelligent display, Alvarez dropped the hard-charging Kirkland three times before knocking him out cold. Kirkland, who was floored once in Round 1 and twice more in Round 3, went down for good on a vicious right hand, which was later named ESPN.com's knockout of the year.
3. Close call against Erislandy Lara (July 12, 2014)
Despite a one-sided loss to Mayweather the previous year, Alvarez accepted the challenge of his most dangerous option available: defensive Cuban boxer Erislandy Lara. The junior middleweights squared off in a nontitle bout at a catchweight of 155 pounds. Lara got off to a strong start and had Alvarez in trouble on more than one occasion by timing him with clean left hands. Alvarez, however, was able to adjust and change strategy, employing constant pressure to the body as Lara routinely circled away. Alvarez's split-decision victory saw him return to a place among boxing's elite, despite Lara's insistence he had done enough to win.
2. Alvarez captures middleweight crown from Miguel Cotto (November 21, 2015)
He passed the acid test. With a rejuvenated Cotto riding a three-fight win streak under new trainer Freddie Roach -- including a knockout victory over middleweight champion Sergio Martinez -- Alvarez accepted the challenge and headlined his fourth pay-per-view fight. Contested, once again, at a catchweight of 155 pounds, the bout proved to be more of a technical duel than was expected, Alvarez dug deep behind clean counter shots to overcome Cotto's slick boxing and capture the lineal middleweight championship by unanimous decision. Despite the fight being much closer than the wide scorecards reflected, Alvarez's victory provided him the pound-for-pound respect his career had lacked up to this point.
1. Unifies junior middleweight titles against Austin Trout (April 20, 2013)
In Alvarez's most difficult fight to date, he once again passed the test in this unification bout in front of nearly 40,000 fans in the Alamodome in San Antonio. Trout, who was fresh off a breakthrough win over Cotto, was poised in the early going against Alvarez, in this battle of unbeaten fighters. Alvarez rallied in the middle rounds and dropped Trout with a counter right hand in Round 7. He went on to claim a unanimous decision, leaving little doubt who the best 154-pound fighter in the world was.