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CANELO | WHO’S NEXT?

Cinnamon is sweet, even in defeat as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez held court as the money ticket in the current boxing landscape, evident if needed assurance from the outpouring of challenges that followed on from his eleventh round stoppage of Sergey Kovalev. 

The backing of DAZN mixed with the promotional push of Goldenboy (at least for the time being) the red-headed Mexican holds the key to the door that leads to a lifetime of riches.

Expressed with the look on the usually grim-faced Sergey Kovalev proving the theory correct, sure he looked temporarily downtrodden from his unsuccessful title defence but those thoughts were fleeting as his mind wondered went to a happier place with many zeroes’s following his biggest payday to date, no doubt this would have acted to soften the blow of no longer holding the WBA Light heavyweight title.

Canelo, on the other hand, continued in his quest to be in the argument of being his countries best combatant, weighing up his next move which is a guessing game for all of us on the outside looking in, I for one didn’t predict he would face Kahn in 2016, Smith in the same year or Rocky Fielding for that matter in 2018.

For what it’s worth here are a few options available to him, each holding lucrative aspects but still few stumbling blocks:

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

DEMETRIUS ANDRADE is a name that continues to be brought into the conversation, a two-weight world champion with the skills to pay the bills. Promoted by Matchroom Boxing this becomes an easy fight to make due to the ties that remain between the promotional company and the TV platform DAZN. However, when asked of the fight, scepticism shortly follows from Canelo recently telling media “He hasn’t fought with anyone, He hasn’t fought against anybody. And he’s also boring, very boring. Maybe he’s a good fighter, but he’s a boring fighter. And at the end of the day, when there’s a boring fight, people are going to blame me. I like fights where there’s action, where the people can enjoy a good show. That’s very important to me. But also, he doesn’t represent a challenge for me, because he hasn’t fought against anybody.”

It is difficult to argue his logic, Andrade albeit a two-weight world champion but delving a little deeper will find wins over the likes of Walter Kautondokwa, Artur Akavov and last time out Maciej Sulęcki who respectfully are not household names, possibly even within their own household. 

Its a fight without much upside for Canelo, Andrade’s style would cause issue even to a fighter of Canelo’s calibre which mixed with the lack of public appeal allows Canelo a get out of jail free card in favour of a more suitable candidate.

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

GENNADY GOLOVKIN is a name that will synonymously be linked with Canelo’s, fighters throughout history require a nemesis/nemesis’ the same way superheroes do villains, the twenty-four rounds already shared between the two have ensured that this remains an attractive possibility with fight fans, some second-guessing the result of both encounters the two men shared. Donning his business suit, Canelo replied to calls for a third fight, “It’s really not a challenge to me. We’ve fought 24 rounds and I beat him. It’s really not a challenge for me, but if it represents business, why not?”

It’s unknown whether Canelo will want to move back to his old hunting ground, meaning that if a fight is possible between the two it would mean that Triple G would need to move north of his comforts of Middleweight.

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS is another avenue to explore, he holds a title at 168-Pounds which could be an attractive proposition to the Mexican, should he intend on dropping back down to Super Middleweight. Saunders is chomping at the bit, there is no secret to his dream matchup but so far as evaded the gaze of Canelo. The Englishman fights out of a southpaw stance which in itself can be a puzzle to solve plus very good technically, able to fight off the front foot or whilst stepping backwards. This is one that also finds itself in the category of high risk / little reward similar to the predicament that Andrade finds himself in currently, although BJS’ resume is slightly more beefier than the American’s.

CALLUM SMITH is possibly the most dangerous assignment of Canelo’s on this list, he is HUGE for the Light Heavyweight division, in the prime years of his career plus he possesses a solid skill set topped off with BIG knockout power and he holds the ‘Real’ WBC title, not the joking one that Alvarez took from Rocky Fielding. Talk of a contest between the two is nothing new, intensified more still after Saturday’s bout with Sergey Kovalev, Callum simply stating “I think he will come down, whether he goes back to 160[lbs] or 168[lbs], I’ve no idea,”

“I’ve seen an interview, saying he’d consider cruiserweight. I don’t know, but if he comes to 168, I believe I’m the No. 1 in that division, so he’ll have to come and beat me to take that place”

ARTUR BETERBIEV / DMITRY BIVOL are both interesting possibilities if Canelo decided on an extended stay at the Cruiserweight division. Both would provide a sterner test than Kovalev was able to at this point in his career. It would however be a long shot to see him test himself against Beterbiev who as established himself as the divisional top dog, not that Eddy Reynoso cares for, claiming even before Canelo’s stoppage victory “Kovalev is better than Beterbiev and we’re fighting him on Saturday, so why wouldn’t we fight [Beterbiev]?”

Bivol I believe could present a slightly less dangerous assignment whilst also possessing a title that may entice Canelo, also to note is the fact that he’s a broadcast free agent with promotional ties to Matchroom Boxing which could smooth the way somewhat if that was a fight that the Canelo camp opted to explore.

ANDRE WARD is happily retired, sitting ringside from his nice warm analyst position, he’s a figure of contentment on leaving the sport on his own terms without a blemish on his perfect record, but every now and again his name is added to conversation, this time no different, okay, Canelo isn’t exactly shouting his name from the rooftops more so his team have shown glimpses of interest when sporadically asked the question through the media.

This matchup for me personally is the one I would love to witness from any of those on this particular listing, but on the flip side, I won’t be holding my breath just yet. Ward hasn’t shown any indication of returning to pastures old but as we know, Money talks with Virgil Hunter allowing himself a glimpse behind the curtain to a big payday by claiming it would take $30-$40 Million to get Ward out of retirement.

These are just some names that spring to mind when thinking up a blueprint that Canelo may intend on following but as aforementioned, every so often he makes a decision baffling to most but always successfully initiated, it seems he took more from his humbling at the hands of Floyd Mayweather than we thought, able to take aspects from his playbook of facing the right fighters at the right time, the outcome of which ultimately comes down to what makes the best business sense.

Looking through his resume will find competition picked under a microscope with the use of rehydration clauses, catch weights and sometimes the odd overmatched guy ** cough ** Amir Khan ** cough ** it allows for the best possible chance of victory, some are able to do just that because they play with a stacked deck on a negotiation front.

Taking nothing away from his legacy which continues to add and leapfrog others in the history books, his intentions firmly set on putting himself front and centre of all his countrymen as he further strives for greatness.

Let me know who you would like Canelo to face next by tweeting us @TOPCLASSBOXING or commenting below. 

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