Trainer Eddy Reynoso says light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev is a fighter that he wants Canelo Alvarez to face in 2022 to continue to “make history” after he becomes the undisputed champion at 168 in 2022.
This will be a big surprise for the boxing world if Canelo does choose to take on Beterbiev, as he recently told the media that he wouldn’t be returning to the 175-lb division.
Canelo still has two more belts to win at 168 against Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant before he would be potentially ready to move back up to 175 to battle the two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev.
If Canelo were to defeat Beterbiev, it would cement his legacy, as he would have beaten the best in four weight classes.
The undefeated IBF/WBC Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) could potentially hold all four titles at 175 by the end of 2021, which would set up a perfect situation for Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) to face him in 2022.
Beterbiev is a fighter that many boxing fans believe Canelo avoided when he moved up to 175 to win his fourth division world title in 2019.
Alvarez chose to fight Sergey Kovalev when he went after a world title that year rather than Betebriev or WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol.
At the time, Reynoso surprisingly said that they had selected the 36-year-old Kovalev because he believed he was the best fighter in the light heavyweight division.
Reynoso: Beterbiev target for Canelo in 2022
“Well, you said it, he’s a tricky fighter,” said Eddy Reynoso to Fighthub about Billy Joe Saunders. “Even when he’s talking, he talks a lot, but he’s quality.
“I’d like for him to fight [Artur] Beterbiev at 175 next year and we will see what happens,” said Reynoso. “Yeah, we’re going to try and make history, keep going and try to make challenges that interest us.
He’s a two-time champion, it’s going to be a difficult fight for both fighters in the early rounds. But Saul’s experience, quality, and strength will be the factors that make him win,” said Reynoso.
Beterbiev is an obvious fight for Canelo if he wants to make a lot of noise in 2022, as there won’t be many big matches left for him after he unifies the 168-lb division this year.
The 36-year-old Beterbiev didn’t look so great in his last fight against Adam Deines in March, stopping the challenger in the 10th round. Beterbiev was coming off a case of COVID 19 and a series of injuries at the time.
The only other big fights that would be on tap for Canelo at 168 would be against these fighters:
- Carlos Gongora
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Demetrius Andrade
- David Benavidez
- Edgar Berlanga
- Jermall Charlo
Golovkin, Andrade, and Charlo would all need to move up from 160 to meet with Canelo at 168 for those fights to happen. Benevidez might be the biggest of all of those fights for Canelo, as long as he keeps winning until next year.
Saunder will need to move constantly
“It could be the same as difficult,” Reynoso said when asked if Saunders could make it as difficult as Erislandy Lara did for Canelo.
“The two [Lara and Saunders] have similar styles but they are different. Lara uses his distance a lot and his legs.
“But Saunders, he does use his legs also, but he likes to go forward also and go head to head. Well, it could be. Anything can happen in boxing,” Reynoso said when asked if the Canelo vs. Saunders fight could be close.
“But more so with elusive fighters that don’t come forward to fight, who throw 2 to 3 punches and then tie up.
“Those types of fights that go to the cards can be kind of tricky and complicated. But we have confidence in the work that we are doing, and from the first round, we’re going to come to win.
“Yeah, he’s going to have to do that,” said Reynoso when asked if Saunders will move around a lot and tie Canelo up.
“If he comes forward, he has less chance to win. He has to fight the way he always fights, throwing point punches to win rounds. But we are going to do everything to avoid all that,” Reynoso said.
It’s a given that the southpaw Saunders will be using movement the entire fight with Canelo, as he knows from watching Floyd Mayweather Jr’s success against the superstar, he struggles when his opponent’s move around the ring.
Erislandy Lara had success against Canelo with movement and jabbing. What prevented Lara from winning is he was stationary at times, which allowed Canelo to hit him with hard body shots. Given that Lara only jabbing, the judges gave more weight to Canelo’s powerful body shots.
Reynoso says Canelo will KO Saunders
“We believe that because he [Saunders] fights real well in the first six rounds and that his conditioning goes down,” said Reynoso when asked why he thinks Canelo will knock out Billy Joe.
“That’s when Saul starts to come on and we can see that in the fight, and more so if we start to pressure from the beginning.
“We have the experience and quality, but most importantly, the public backing us.
“No, not at all,” said Reynoso when told that Saunders said that the judges always favor Canelo. “The fights we have won have been clear.
“We have always been the best always. There won’t be a necessity. This time, we will win by knockout,” said Reynoso in predicting a stoppage win for Canelo over Saunders.
“Well, we got to negotiate with Al Haymon, but we are going to do what we need to do to make that fight happen,” Reynoso said when asked if he thinks a unification fight can be negotiated between Canelo and Caleb Plant for September.
“But first, we got to win this fight [with Saunders], and all the other stuff comes,” said Reynoso.
It will be difficult for Canelo to Saunders because he could choose to go into a survival mode by moving and dodging the Mexican star.
With Saunders’ ability to keep away from his opponents, it could prove impossible for Canelo to stop him.
The best chance Canelo has of scoring a knockout of Saunders is if the British fighter comes to fight rather than survive, and it doesn’t seem likely he’ll want to put his chin on the line to get the ‘W’ on the night.