Álvarez ventured into boxing at around 13 years of age and eventually won the silver medal at the ‘Junior Mexican National’ championships held in 2004 in Sinaloa. He then emerged as the 2005 ‘Junior Mexican National Boxing’ champion. Shortly after this, he turned professional.
From the very beginning of his professional career, Álvarez proved to be a skilled boxer, playing and winning matches one after the other. He won against players such as Miguel Vázquez and Francisco Villanueva but drew against Jorge Juarez. His first professional title win came when he beat Mexican boxer Ricardo Cano to clinch the ‘Jalisco’ welterweight title on August 31, 2007. He succeeded in retaining the title against Mexican boxer Francisco Villanueva on March 14, 2008.
On April 18, 2008, he won the ‘WBA Fedecentro’ welterweight title, beating Mexican boxer Gabriel Martinez. He then continued to retain the title, beating Argentinean boxer Carlos Adán Jerez on August 2, 2008, and Colombian boxer Raúl Pinzón on December 5, 2008.
Álvarez continued his winning spree, and on January 17, 2009, he won the ‘NABF’ and the ‘WBO Latino’ welterweight titles, defeating Mexican boxer Antonio Fitch. Following this, he beat Dominican Republic boxer Euri González, to retain the ‘NABF’ and the ‘WBO Latino’ welterweight titles on February 21, 2009. He then managed to retain the ‘NABF’ welterweight title on several other occasions, such as in the matches against Brazilian boxer Jefferson Gonçalo (on June 6, 2009) and US boxer Brian Camechis (on March 6, 2010).
Meanwhile, he won the ‘WBC Youth’ welterweight title, beating Russian boxer Marat Khuzeev on August 8, 2009. He retained the title fighting against Argentinean boxer Carlos Herrera on September 15, 2009.
He added another feather on his cap by winning the ‘WBC Silver’ light middleweight title against Argentinean boxer Luciano Leonel Cuello on July 10, 2010. He defended the title in a match against former ‘WBC’ welterweight champion Argentinean boxer Carlos Baldomir (on September 18, 2010) and also against South African boxer Lovemore N'dou, a former world champion (on December 4, 2010).
Following this, he won the vacant ‘WBC’ light middleweight title, beating ‘European Boxing Union’ (EBU) welterweight champion British boxer Matthew Hatton on March 5, 2011. He successfully defended the title several times, in matches against British boxer Ryan Rhodes (on June 18, 2011), Mexican boxer Alfonso Gómez (on September 17, 2011), and US boxer Josesito López (on September 15, 2012).
Álvarez then continued to retain the ‘WBC’ light middleweight title and won the ‘WBA (Unified)’ and the vacant ‘The Ring’ light middleweight titles, defeating US boxer Austin Trout on April 20, 2013.
On September 14, 2013, Álvarez, rated as the “numero uno” light middleweight and the unified ‘WBC/WBA’ "regular" champion by ‘The Ring’ magazine, faced US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. With their respective belts on the line, Álvarez lost the ‘WBA (Unified),’ the ‘WBC,’ and ‘The Ring’ light middleweight titles. This also marked the first loss of Álvarez in his professional career.
The loss, however, could not mar the fighting spirit of Álvarez, who went on to win three bouts against three different boxers before winning ‘The Ring,’ the lineal, and the vacant ‘WBC’ middleweight titles against Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto on November 21, 2015. He successfully defended the titles against British boxer Amir Khan on May 7, 2016. Following the fight, he and his team invited middleweight champion Kazakhstan boxer Gennady Golovkin into the ring and promoted a future fight with the latter.
Álvarez vacated the ‘WBC’ title on May 18, 2016, and it was soon awarded to Golovkin by the ‘WBC.’ Álvarez then returned to light middleweight, and on September 17, the same year, he defeated British boxer Liam Smith to win the ‘WBO’ light middleweight title.
On September 16, 2017, a match for the ‘WBA (Super),’ the ‘IBF,’ and the vacant lineal middleweight titles between Álvarez and Golovkin ended in a split draw, with the former retaining ‘The Ring’ middleweight title. Álvarez finally succeeded in beating Golovkin in a close bout on September 15, 2018, thus winning the ‘WBA (Super),’ the ‘WBC,’ the vacant ‘The Ring,’ and the lineal middleweight titles. The fight, however, remained controversial, with the fans, the media, and the boxing pundits disputing the result.
On October 17, 2018, ‘DAZN’ announced they had signed a 5-year deal worth $365 million with Álvarez, which would see the video streaming service broadcasting the next 11 fights of the boxer in the US. The deal replaced Álvarez’s expired contract with ‘HBO.’ The first match of Álvarez after this deal saw him win the ‘WBA (Regular)’ super middleweight title against British boxer Rocky Fielding on December 15, 2018.
His next match, with US boxer Daniel Jacobs, held on May 4, 2019, led him to win the ‘IBF’ middleweight title and retain the ‘WBA (Super),’ the ‘WBC,’ ‘The Ring,’ and the lineal middleweight titles.
An accomplished boxer, Álvarez also promotes the sport in Mexico. He established the company ‘Canelo Promotions’ in 2010. His trainers, Chepo and Eddy Reynoso, a father–son duo, are his business partners. The company, as of 2013, has represented 40 boxers across Mexico.