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Hall of Famer says Jermell Charlo is more than capable of upsetting Canelo Alvarez

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Jermell Charlo. Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

Bernard Hopkins firmly believes Jermell Charlo 35-1-1 (19) can pull off the upset against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 59-2-2 (39) – providing he sticks to a plan.

Undisputed super middleweight champion Alvarez will put his four world title belts on the line against undisputed junior middleweight champion Charlo, who will be moving up two weight classes for the challenge at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

Boxing a full 14 pounds above his natural weight class might seem like an insurmountable task for Charlo, but International Boxing Hall of Famer Hopkins says he has seen signs of Alvarez slipping in recent fights, hinting that he is susceptible in the later rounds.

The key to victory, says Hopkins, is to avoid the temptation “to be brave”.

“If Jermell fights to prove something, it won’t be a good night for him,” Hopkins said to Little Giant Boxing. But if he puts on a show and fights like he belongs, these are the steps in twelve round fights. You’ve got to have different chapters in fights like this.”

“Any other fight, I wouldn’t speak like this. But this type of match up against, not only the bigger guy, but the bigger guy who can still fight and has all the accolades that he has four or five years ago.

“If he comes into this fight trying to be brave and trying to be tough, Canelo is going to accommodate him very well – look at everybody else who fought him.”

Although both boxers are 33, it is the Mexican superstar who has more miles on the clock after turning professional at 15. He has also boxed 472 rounds compared to the Texan’s 256.

Decline in boxing happens incrementally and is often so subtle it is barely noticeable. Alvarez hasn’t look quite his best following his points loss to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 21-0 (11) in May last year. Wins over veteran Gennadiy Golovkin 42-2-1 (37) and grafter John Ryder 32-6 (18) were clear-cut enough, but there was the sense that Alvarez has lost half a step.

Hopkins chalks this up to age catching up with Alvarez and says Charlo has the perfect style to exploit this.

“His style is totally different from the styles that Canelo has fought,” said Hopkins to FightHype. “[Charlo is] younger, more determined to prove that Canelo’s time has been great, but it’s up.

“I just believe that Canelo will have to get him out of there early. The later the fight goes, the more Canelo will start showing not only his age, but he’ll start showing the success he’s been enjoying for so long is starting to look different.

“Canelo elevates Charlo. I just think he has the skills and if he maintains that mentality, it can be really a nightmare for Canelo based on styles.”