June 14, 2022

Canelo must look for a new challenge after an undisputed title race


LAS VEGAS (AP) – Canelo Álvarez has emerged from the pandemic determined to cross another frontier in boxing history. His…

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Canelo Álvarez has emerged from the pandemic determined to cross another frontier in boxing history.

His daring plan required movements outside the ring just as graceful as his skills inside the ropes. To win the four fights needed to win all four super middleweight title belts while beating three previously undefeated champions in less than a year, Álvarez would have to push his body and matchmaking currency to their limits.

When Álvarez added the 168-pound IBF belt to the WBC, WBA and WBO straps that were already hanging from his two tired arms on Saturday night, the first undisputed champion in super middleweight division history could finally relax. .

“I feel great, but my body needs a rest,” Lvarez said with a smile. “I need to recover.

Caleb Plant’s 11th round stoppage by Álvarez was the culmination of the plan laid out by boxer and trainer Eddy Reynoso when they decided Canelo should become the first Latino fighter to simultaneously hold four title belts in a weight.

Alvarez’s place as the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer remains secure, but he also stood out from his peers with this feat. While those four fights against uniformly bigger opponents were all challenges, Canelo’s feat of business acumen seemed about as daunting as the challenges he faced in the ring.

Canelo’s plan began after his split from Golden Boy, his longtime promoter. The promotional rivalries that frequently prevent the best fighters from meeting each other were downplayed as Álvarez was able to sign short-term deals that took advantage of his unprecedented money-making power to entice champions to fight him.

“I’m a free agent because I want to have the best fights there,” he said.

Álvarez first won the WBA belt and won the vacant WBC belt while beating Callum Smith last December in a one-fight contract with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN. After dealing with an overwhelmed compulsory foe to retain his WBC title in February, Canelo broke Billy Joe Saunders’ orbit and won the previously undefeated Briton’s 168-pound WBO belt in May as part of a deal with promoter Eddie Hearn.

Álvarez then made a short-term deal with Premier Boxing Champions, Al Haymon’s promotional outfit. Six months after finishing Saunders, Álvarez exhausted Plant and achieved his goal in front of a noisy Vegas crowd.

With a constant and determined effort culminating in a screeching halt at MGM Grand Garden, Álvarez sent another opponent to the first loss of his career. He also sent another opponent to the hospital: Plant was taken for observation after being beaten by Canelo.

Álvarez largely controlled the fight, landing dozens of punitive shots that would likely have flattened smaller fighters. But Plant is taller and farther away than the 5-foot-9 Mexican superstar, who fearlessly switched weight classes until he currently finds himself fighting men big enough to absorb plenty of shots that would put end in a fight against someone the size of Canelo.

No wonder Canelo can’t wait to take the rest of the year.

“I don’t have anything in mind at the moment, but I like a challenge, and whatever happens we’ll see,” said Canelo. “We don’t have time to sit down and think about it. Right now, I’m just enjoying the moment.

Álvarez has said he will likely announce his plans in January and that he would like to fight in May during the Cinco de Mayo weekend, which is a traditional showcase for Mexican stars.

Unbeaten David Benavidez is a popular choice for Álvarez’s next opponent, given his ties to the PBC and his previous super middleweight title. Benavidez is the former WBC 168-pound champion but has been stripped of his belt.

Jermall Charlo also makes sense given his PBC connection and success at the middleweight, but Álvarez isn’t limited by choices in a single promoter’s stable.

A third fight with Gennady Golovkin would be a popular choice among fans, but it’s unclear whether Canelo would agree to engage with his bitter middleweight rival after escaping their first fight with a lucky draw and then having won a narrow victory in the rematch. Álvarez has publicly stated that he is open to a rematch, but only if Golovkin goes up to 168 pounds.

Golovkin took an ultra-cautious approach to his ensuing career, while Álvarez continued to face the best while accepting the bigger fights. Whoever Canelo chooses for his next showcase in May, he will likely do so with history in mind.

“Now I just need some time to rest and prepare for the next challenge,” he said.

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