How Did Saul Alvarez Become Canelo Alvarez? The Real Reason Behind His Nickname

Published 12/14/2020, 9:25 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 04: Canelo Alvarez walks to his corner during his middleweight unification fight against Daniel Jacobs at T-Mobile Arena on May 04, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


Canelo Alvarez needs no introduction to the boxing fans as he is already one of the greatest to have stepped into the squared ring. The multi-divisional champion is just 30 and has an alluring professional record of 53 wins, 1 loss, and 2 no results.

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He will appear in the ring again on December 19th when he takes on Callum Smith for the vacant WBC super-middleweight and WBA super-middleweight straps.

However, Canelo isn’t his real name. In fact, it is a moniker that his long-time trainer Eddy Reynoso gave him when he was just 12. Canelo’s actual name is Saul Alvarez.

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While it is no secret to the combat community, not everyone knows the meaning of Canelo or the reason behind this nickname.

15-year-old Alvarez became a professional in 2005. It has been a glittery journey for him since then. In 15 years, he has lost only once to Floyd Mayweather Jr., creating one of the best resumes in the sport.

But how did ‘Canelo’ became an inevitable part of Alvarez’s life?

Canelo Alvarez- The mystery behind the nickname

LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: Boxer Canelo Alvarez poses on the scale during his official weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 15, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alvarez will challenge WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin for his titles at T-Mobile Arena on September 16 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The term Canelo comes from the Spanish word Canelito, which means ‘little cinnamon’. Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan aka Canelo received the nickname for his appearance.

As per The Sun, Canelo’s trainer Reynoso felt, the little boy’s look isn’t the same as most of the war-torn Mexicans. Instead, he had charisma, a subtle face, and red hair which was absolutely flamboyant.

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However, an in-ring Alvarez was totally different. He was fierce, skillful, and was always eager to learn. That’s when Reynoso tagged him as ‘Canelito’. But later trimmed it to Canelo.

Alvarez has since owned the nickname, and how. Now, Canelo seems to be his prime identity while most of the boxing fans are unaware of his name being Saul Alvarez.

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In the nearing weekend, the superstar will return, citing a blockbuster year-ending event. But is he the same superstar without Golden Boy Promotions?

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Raj Sarkar

2090 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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