Matchroom guru Eddie Hearn is reportedly negotiating a two-fight deal with Eddy Reynoso, the trainer, and manager for WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), for the Mexican superstar to defend against the Avni Yildirim on February 27th and Billy Joe Saunders in May on DAZN.
The negotiations are still underway between Hearn and Reynoso, but if it does get completed successfully, Canelo will defend against his WBC mandatory Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs on February 27th on DAZN. Alvarez, 30, will be fighting at home in Guadalajara, Mexico.
For the boxing fans that dislike the idea of seeing Canelo face Yildirim, it’s understandable. There’s not much attract interest in this one, but it’s something Canelo can’t avoid.
Yildirim. 29, is his WBC mandatory, and it’s the World Boxing Council that decided to give him that position despite him coming off of a loss to Anthony Dirrell almost two years ago.
The second fight of the two-fight between Canelo and WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) will be taking place in May 2021. Saunders is a good fight, and he’s been pushing for a match against Canelo for five years.
Canelo and Saunders were supposed to fight last summer in June, but the pandemic got in the way of it. Instead of facing Saunders, Canelo fought WBA super middleweight champion last Saturday night on December 19th, and he beat him by a 12 round unanimous decision.
The fans who aren’t excited at Canelo facing Yildirim and Saunders can look forward to Alvarez facing IBF 168-lb champion Caleb Plant in September 2021. Of course, Canelo will need to beat Yildirim and Saunders to get to the fight with Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), but he should be able to do that.
The reason why Canelo is seemingly trapped in a never-ending series of less compelling fights now is that he decided he wants to become the undisputed super middleweight champion. Canelo believes it’ll be good for his legacy to all four belts at 168.
I don’t know that it will Canelo’s legacy in a real way for him to become the undisputed champion at 168. That kind of stuff is overrated, and it doesn’t mean what it used to for a fighter to become undisputed. It’ll be a statistic on Canelo’s record when he retires, but not something that fans will look back on and say, ‘Wow, Canelo was the undisputed super middleweight champion.’
What’s more important would be for Canelo to take on the best fighters at 160, 168, and 175. That’s how Canelo can create a real, lasting legacy. Still, since he’s not interested in taking on the best right now, boxing fans will have to be satisfied with him unifying the 168lb division against the less than spectacular champions.
If Canelo wants to create a real legacy, he won’t focus on trivial stuff like unifying divisions against non-popular fighters like Saunders, Callum Smith, and Plant. Instead, Canelo needs to take the fights that the fans want to see from him against Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Gennadiy Golovkin, and David Benavidez.
Last Saturday night, Canelo defeated Callum Smith by a 12 round unanimous decision to capture his WBA super middleweight title, as well as the vacant WBC belt.