Freddie Roach doesn’t like Canelo at light heavyweight

By Will Arons - 03/11/2022 - Comments

Trainer Freddie Roach says he doesn’t like the idea of the 5’8″ Canelo Alvarez competing at 175 in the light heavyweight division. Canelo was at his best when he was fighting at 160, and he’s slowed slower since moving up to 168 four years ago.

Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is scheduled to challenge WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) in a risky fight on May 7th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the one fight that Alvarez had at 175 three years ago, he struggled against an over-the-hill 36-year-old WBO champion Sergey Kovalev before finally taking him out in the 11th.

Most boxing fans would agree that if Canelo had picked IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev or Bivol back then, he would have lost to both because he looked slow, easy to hit, and one-paced at the weight.

Now three years later, with Canelo’s success at 168 in becoming the undisputed champion against a rag-tag bunch of weak champions from England and Tennessee, his confidence is sky-fight, and he’s decided to return to the 175 to take on Bivol.

Roach doesn’t like Canelo at 175

“I like Canelo as a fighter, but I just don’t like him at a heavier weight,” said Freddie Roach to Fight Hub TV. “Canelo is a good boxer, and he has a good training camp.”

Freddie Roach doesn't like Canelo at light heavyweight

Roach isn’t grasping the reason behind Canelo going up to 175. This is a move that is being initiated by the emergence of David Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) as a significant player in the 168-lb division and increasingly being seen by fans as the best fighter in the weight class bar none.

With Canelo’s work rate has dropped off due to the extra weight he’s packed on after moving up to 168, it’s negatively impacted his already low work rate, leaving him only capable of throwing a tiny handful of shots each round.

Fortunately for Canelo, he didn’t need to throw a lot of shots to beat the weak champions that he snatched belts from in 2020 and 2021. But for Canelo to beat Benavidez, he would need to be able to throw a lot of shots to keep from being machine-gunned to pieces by the young 25-year-old.

In addition to Benavidez emerging as a significant threat to Canelo, Demetrius Andrade has moved up to 168, and he’s going to put massive pressure on the Mexican star to fight him.

If Canelo fights Andrade, there’s a good chance he’ll lose because he’s a bigger, faster, and better equipped fighter for the 168-lb division.

Essentially, Canelo is moving up in weight to 175 to colonize a different division in what appears to be an escape from the 168-lb weight class, which he can no longer safely exist in without suffering career-crushing defeats at the hands of Benavidez, Andrade, and David Morrell Jr.

It’s similar to scientists looking to colonize a different planet to find an alternative world for humans to escape to once the sun exhausts its hydrogen and goes into the red-giant stage.

Canelo is looking at the 175-lb division as a new world to escape to because if he stays at 168, he’ll quickly become an extinct star. He no longer has the excuse to dodge Benavidez by saying he’s fighting for world titles at 168 because he holds all the belts now.

If Canelo wants to keep them, he’ll need to defend the straps against the #1 ranked Benavidez and soon to be #1 ranked Andrade. There’s no way out for Canelo at 168.

He will get burned to a cinder if he stays at super middleweight. The division is going into the red giant phase, and Canelo will get beaten by Benavidez, Morrell Jr, and Andrade. Hence, he’s now looking to colonize the 175-lb division and treat it as a new planet to make money fighting the mostly weak contenders.

The only guys Canelo has to worry about are these three champions:

  • Artur Beterbiev
  • Joe Smith Jr.
  • Dmitry Bivol

Of those three, Bivol is the weakest link of the champions, which is why Canelo picked him.

Smith Jr. will likely lose to Beterbiev when those two meet for a unification fight in the next two or three months. The way that Canelo will take care of the recently turned 37-year-old Beterbiev is to wait until 2024 before finally facing him.

Beterbiev will be 39 and likely old enough for Canelo to safely fight him by that time. Canelo is too small and too limited in terms of stamina to deal with the fast pace that Betebiev would set. If Canelo were to fight Beterbiev now, he’d get wiped out like the Russian fighter’s last opponent Marcus Browne.

Moreover, Beterbiev throws nonstop body shots, which means all the upper body and head movement that Canelo typically uses would be useless against him. He would be throwing to Canelo’s tank-like upper body, and he could hit that wide target with his eyes closed.

Despite Canelo gaining a lot of self-belief from his success at 168, he’s still capable of reasoning and wisely chosen to avoid IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and WBO champion Joe Smith Jr.

With those two, Canelo will let them fight, and then he’ll likely wait until 2024 before fighting the winner, which is expected to be Beterbiev.

Hearn is looking forward to Canelo vs. Golovkin trilogy

“It’s such a massive fight. There’s so much bubbling under the service for that fight,” said Eddie Hearn to Behind The Gloves on the potential trilogy fight between Gennadiy Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.

“Both guys are ready to explode. Not just in the fight, but at each other, in the press conferences because you see it,” Hearn continued about the Canelo vs. Golovkin bad blood.

“Canelo was in the ring, and he does, ‘That guy [Golovkin] talks and I will make him pay,’ and you think, ‘Whoa.’ You don’t normally hear him talking like that.

“Then you hear Gennadiy coming out saying, ‘I won the first two fights, and I’m going to do.’ You normally don’t hear him talking like that.

“Look, Canelo beats Bivol, and Golovkin beats [Ryota] Murata. We’ve got a mega-fight on our hands—Canelo vs. GGG III for the undisputed championship. I can’t wait for the fight.

“You’ll see a different kind of build-up for that fight between those two,” Hearn said of Golovkin and Canelo. “I want to see those two come face-to-face because it’s been a few years now, and it was intense then.

“Trust me; if we get this in September, it’s going to be a thriller. Absolutely, and a lot more passion,” Hearn said of the Canelo-Golovkin 3 clash. “As you get older, you care less about what people think and say. Now, they’re just going to tell you exactly how they feel, and they feel very strongly about this dislike, quite frankly, for each other.

“Let’s get through these first two fights [Canelo vs. Dmitry Bivol and Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata], and as I said, a mega-fight in September,” Hearn said.

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