Canelo Alvarez accomplished his goal last weekend to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion with his eleventh round knockout win over Caleb Plant.
Now that Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has finally gotten this dreary goal completed, he’s got a big decision to make in choosing who to fight in his next contest in the first quarter of 2022.
When Canelo was trying to become the undisputed champion at 168, he had an excuse to fight lesser opposition because badly flawed belt-holders, Rocky Fielding, Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, and Callum Smith, had the titles that he needed for him to accomplish his goal.
Canelo no longer has an excuse to fight weaker fighters, and he’s going to have to decide whether to start taking risks again like he’d done in the past or choose to milk his four 168-lb belts by defending it.
Last week, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said that he’d like to see Canelo defend against his WBA mandatory John Ryder next in the U.K.
However, that’s not a fight that will interest American boxing fans, as they’ve already seen Canelo dominate the U.K. fighters Saunders, Fielding, and Callum Smith in the last three years.
Fans want to see Canelo take some real risks instead of continually picking the low-hanging fruit for easy money fights.
The fighters that boxing fans want Canelo to face next:
- David Benavidez
- Artur Beterbiev
- Jermall Charlo
- Demetrius Andrade
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Joe Smith Jr.
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Jaron Ennis
Of that bunch, it’s safe to say that U.S. boxing fans overwhelmingly want to see Canelo show some courage by taking on the 24-year-old former two-time WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs).
The truth is, Benavidez is the fighter that Canelo should have fought rather than wasting the last three years of his career with his silly journey to become the undisputed champion at 168.
It would have meant something if the champions that Canelo has fought during the last three years were talented and popular, but they weren’t. You can argue that Fielding, Saunders, Callum, and Plant were paper champions.
Canelo would have gained a lot more traction with boxing fans during the last three years if he’d fought Benavidez three times and gotten the trilogy match against Golovkin out of the way.
Canelo would have likely made more money fighting Benavidez three times and facing Golovkin again than he made by fighting Fielding, Saunders, Callum, and Plant. Those were weak champions and not popular.
If Canelo is ready to show some courage, Benavidez is the obvious choice for his next fight. Benavidez is headlining this Saturday night on November 13th against replacement opponent Kyrone Davis (16-2-1, 6 KOs) in a 12 round fight on Showtime at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
This is a 10-round showcase fight for Benavidez, who was previously scheduled to face former IBF super middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui in a title eliminator. Uzcategui had to pull out of the fight due to an illness.
The second-best option for Canelo is IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs). This is a dangerous fight for Canelo because Beterbiev is an excellent inside fighter, and he’ll be looking to tear him apart.
Canelo’s trainer Eddie Reynoso will likely tell him NOT to fight Beterbiev because he’s all wrong for him, and it would be a massive shock to the Mexican star’s system to suddenly be fighting an outstanding fighter after blowing through the last three years of his career fighting paper champions at 168.
If Canelo wants to show that he’s not afraid of fighting the best, Beterbiev is the guy for him to fight. Canelo gains more credibility from fighting IBF/WBC 175-lb champion Beterbiev than anyone else, and it would give him a new goal of becoming the undisputed champ at light heavyweight.