Bernard Hopkins believes it’ll be a mere formality for Canelo Alvarez to stride through the 175-lb division, beating ALL the champions before moving up to cruiserweight to seek world titles in that weight class.
It might not be as easy as Hopkins thinks for Canelo to ‘sweep’ through the 175-lb division, as he would need to defeat these three killers: Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr, and Dimitry Bivol.
Any one of those three could trip Canelo up, foiling his chances of becoming the undisputed champion at 175.
If Canelo can get through the 175-lb division to become the undisputed champion, he’s got a genuine shot at winning a belt at cruiserweight, albeit against one of the two weaker champions in that division.
Let’s not kid ourselves. If Canelo fights WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie, he’ll get knocked out. Okolie is too huge, powerful, and young for a guy like Canelo to beat him.
The 30-year-old Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) is attempting to finish his work at 168 by becoming the undisputed champion in that weight class.
Canelo only needs to add the IBF belt to his collection of three titles to make him the four-belt undisputed titleholder at super middleweight.
To accomplish that objective, the Mexican star must beat IBF champion Caleb Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), proving to be a tough negotiator. Actually, beating Plant isn’t the problem for Canelo.
Canelo has to somehow negotiate with Plant and his management at PBC, and that’s proving to be a major headache for his promoter Eddie Hearn.
“The light heavyweight division, I think he sweeps through that,” said Hopkins to FightHype. “Canelo can compete for all the way up to cruiserweight as far as I’m concerned.
Interestingly, Hopkins didn’t say anything about Canelo sweeping the cruiserweight division. Hopkins knows that if Canelo moved up to cruiserweight, he would need to cherry-pick champions to win a world title in that weight class.
If Canelo made the mistake of challenging WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie, it would likely end badly for him.
For Canelo to get massive respect, he would need to take on Okolie if he moved up to cruiserweight in search of his fifth division world title.
Boxing fans would be nearly as impressed if Canelo chose arguably the weakest link among the champions in the 200-lb division against Ilunga Makabu, who was blown out in three rounds by Tony Bellew in 2016.
“He’s willing to put the work in,” continued B-Hop about Canelo. “And he’s willing to go through anything that he has to go through to be great,” said Hopkins.
It’s going to be awfully tough for Canelo to beat Beterbiev and Bivol. Those are going to be major problems for the 5’8″ Canelo, who would out-sized by both.
Beterbiev would be especially dangerous because he punches harder than Canelo and has knockout power in close.
Most of the guys that Canelo has fought during the last five years had no inside game to have his way with them in close.
Against Beterbiev, Canelo would have to worry about getting hit by a massive shot at point-blank range.
“He just wants to do great things from here on out. He’s maintaining his legacy by taking chances in different weight divisions,” said Hopkins about Canelo.
Plant and his management at PBC have Canelo right where they want him, knowing that he’s in a hurry to win the IBF 168-lb title so that he can move on forward towards other achievements.
They know Alvarez wants the IBF title, so they’re going to ask for the moon & the stars for him to get a chance to win it.
If Canelo does make it to the cruiserweight division, he would need to beat these champions to become the undisputed belt-holder:
- Ilunga Makabu
- Arsen Goulamirian
- Mairis Briedis
- Lawrence Okolie
Briedis would be very difficult for Canelo to beat if he fought him for a world title, but Makabu and Goulamirian would be winnable fights for him.