Can Canelo Alvarez Unify The Light-Heavyweight Division?

01/19/2022 - By James Slater - Comments

Just what will be Canelo Alvarez’ next move? The Mexican star, the biggest star in the sport today arguably, has a number of options. As Bob Arum said on Saturday night, “the ball is in Canelo’s court” as far as who he fights next. Arum said how Canelo has expressed interest in fighting both Joe Smith Jr, the WBO champ at light-heavyweight, and Artur Beterbiev, a two-belt holder and clearly the best in the world at 175 right now.

And then there is that chance Canelo may go to cruiserweight for a belt. Some fans want to see Canelo face the likes of David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade, yet thus far, Canelo has not exactly expressed any interest in facing those guys. It’s seems reasonable to assume Canelo’s next fight will be at either 175 or maybe 200 pounds.

Canelo, 57-1-2(39) made history last year, when he became the first-ever unified super-middleweight champion. Can Canelo now go on and unify the light-heavyweight division? Is this another milestone goal the 31 year old has in his sights? We fans would sure love to see Canelo go for it. Canelo versus Beterbiev would be a great fight, a potential classic, while Canelo against Smith Jr and Dmitry Bivol would also be fights well worth tuning in for. And all three 175 pounders might be able to test Canelo hard.

As comfortable as he looked to be at 175, in beating Sergey Kovalev back in November of 2019, Canelo may indeed decide to stick at the weight from here on in. There are still some decent fights for the Mexican superstar at 168 pounds – and the one fight that will never, ever go away is that third clash with Gennady Golovkin – but as Arum says, Canelo “pretty much picks who he wants to fight.” That luxury only comes if you are a special fighter; a powerful fighter (powerful outside of the ring as well as in it). Canelo has reached the point the mega-stars reached – the Sugar Ray Leonards, the Muhammad Alis, the Mike Tysons.

Canelo calls the shots as far as his career goes.

Some fans might not like it, but it must be agreed how enviable a position to be in it really is; Canelo gets what Canelo wants. So can Canelo unify the 175 pound division, or can Beterbiev, or Bivol, or Smith beat him? Again, let’s hope we get to see these fights. Canelo does have other options, but the most appealing road Alvarez could go down, at least in my opinion, would be to attempt the cleaning out of a second weight division.

Canelo has come a long, long way since winning his first world title, yet there could be so much more to come. Roberto Duran recently said that Canelo, if he can win a cruiserweight title, will go down as the greatest Mexican fighter ever. Maybe so. But how special a place would Canelo have in boxing history if his resume contained undisputed reigns at both super-middleweight and light-heavyweight? May will soon be here, and it will be most interesting seeing who the guy in the opposite corner is when Canelo has his next fight.