Saul “Canelo” Alvarez made history by becoming the first undisputed super middleweight champion and also the first Mexican to become undisputed. In a good performance he was able to stop Caleb Plant in the 11th round after struggling to get to grips with him early on. This fight marked Canelo’s return to PPV and also his first fight off of the Dazn Platform since his second fight with Gennadiy Golovkin.
Now that he’s completed his objective of becoming undisputed it’ll be interesting to see where his focus goes to next and what opponents catch his eye. I have a few which I think are much more likely than others and I’d be surprised if Canelo didn’t fight one of the five fighters I suggest might be next.
The fight that perhaps makes the most sense to be next is David Benavidez, a former two time world champion at super middleweight who’s only lost his belt outside the ring and still holds an undefeated record. He’s a big puncher with fast hands and at 24 is coming up to his prime years. He fights this Saturday versus Kyrone Davis and if he comes through the fight like hes expected to do then it makes sense for him and Canelo to fight next. Fighting on back to back weekends on the same network puts their names together and Benavidez is the last major challenge at super middleweight for Canelo. If he hadn’t missed weight due to Corona Virus restrictions stopping him from using the hotel gym on fight week then Canelo would have had to fight him to become undisputed anyway. I think this match up makes the most sense though I can’t remember Canelo ever mentioning Benavidez’s name so Canelo may not be hugely interested. If given the option of that fight on PPV then I imagine Canelo might be more interested as his fight with Plant was expected to do good numbers.
A fight which fans have been talking about for a long time now is Canelo versus Jermall Charlo. Back when Canelo was at middleweight, Charlo was his mandatory but due to a strange decision from the WBC Canelo was made “Franchise” champion and Charlo was upgraded to being world champion. What does any of that mean? who knows but what it did cause was Charlo not to get his deserved shot at Canelo. A fight between the two would have a good build up and its a fight that has marinated for long enough. Jermall Charlo needs a big legacy defining fight and for Canelo it’s a very good opponent who also brings in good numbers in the US market. I personally don’t see this fight happening next and think its more likely this fight happens late next year. By the time May comes around, the presumed next Canelo fight date, Charlo wouldn’t have fought for close to a year and also would have never fought at super middleweight. It’s unlikely he gets a fight done for December so I expect a tune up at super middleweight for Charlo sometime early next year to prepare for a showdown with Canelo in the second half of 2022.
The third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin would still be huge presuming that GGG beats Ryota Murata in December. Commercially this should be the biggest fight that Canelo can take but to me he hasn’t seem bothered about taking that fight as he feels hes finished with that chapter of his career. GGG has barely fought since their second fight and hasn’t looked all that impressive since which dampens the allure of a third fight. If GGG moves up and fights Canelo now then I don’t think the fight will be all that competitive and is more of a money grab than anything legacy defining. I think Canelo likely knows that GGG is past his best and beating him doesn’t mean as much as it used to. I could see this fight happening due to commercial aspect especially if Dazn decide they really want to get Canelo back on their platform. Recent comments from the head of Dazn makes me doubt they’ll front up huge amounts of money as he seems to think their venture into the US market was a failure and they’ll be pulling back in the years to come.
A fight with Artur Beterbiev (if he gets through Marcus Browne) would be one of the more interesting match ups in the sport. Beterbiev is a technically sound boxer who is also one of the biggest punchers in the sport. He has two light heavyweight titles which Canelo may want to get his hands on but aside from that doesn’t bring all that much to the fight. Commercially he is one of the worst options out of the five and would be the ultimate legacy over money fight for Canelo. Unfortunately even that wouldn’t satisfy some people as if Canelo were to win he’d be accused of fighting an old inactive fighter. While Beterbiev is old and inactive hes also very, very good and doesn’t seem to be on the decline yet.
The last fighter I could potentially see Canelo fighting is Dmitry Bivol who is a world champion at light heavyweight. He’s an excellent boxer who is one of the more talented technicians in the entire sport. He has a good resume at light heavyweight and has been champion for fours years now. He’s been inactive recently and has lost any momentum due to that and his recent inability to knock his opponents out even if they aren’t on his level. Commercially he’s similar to Beterbiev in that he wouldn’t bring anything and Canelo would have to carry the promotion himself. I’d be a bit surprised if Canelo chose to fight Bivol next as Bivol’s style is dangerous for Canelo and if hes going to go back to Dazn I would presume he’ll fight GGG instead of Bivol.