Hearn Wants Edgar Berlanga Next for Canelo Alvarez

By Will Arons - 05/10/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that he has only two fighters with Matchroom Boxing that are potential options for Canelo Alvarez to fight next in September: Edgar Berlanga and Dmitry Bivol.

Hearn feels that if Canelo doesn’t fight David Benavidez or Terence Crawford next, Berlanga (22-0, 17 KOs), his WBA super middleweight mandatory challenger, would be a good option.

Hearn signed the 26-year-old former Top Rank-promoted Berlanga last year, and he’s put him in with two fringe-level UK fighters, Jason Quigley and Padraig McCrory.

It appears to some that Hearn didn’t want to take chances with Berlanga after the way he struggled to defeat Quigley, a fighter that Demetrius Andrade had destroyed in two rounds when he was promoted by Matchroom.

Canelo’s Desire for High-Paying, Motivating Fights

“The only two fighters I have in the mix right now under contract are Edgar Berlanga, who is the mandatory with the WBA, and Dmitry Bivol, who has a victory over Canelo,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to the media when asked about the possibility of Terence Crawford fighting Canelo Alvarez in September.

Hearn can’t use Bivol because he’s still waiting for his undisputed light heavyweight clash against Artur Beterbiev to happen in either late 2024 or early 2025. Even if Bivol was free, Canelo would never fight him again after losing to him in 2022.

“The most important thing for me is DAZN continues airing Canelo Alvarez’s fights, which they do a great job of doing. They had a successful time with the Munguia fight, which was on DAZN and Amazon as well,” said Hearn.

Canelo’s Fearlessness and Fight Options

“He’s achieved everything. He’s got the belts. He’s got the legacy. There’s nothing else to do but be in fights that motivate him and make him money. That’s why when I listen to people criticize him over the $200 million for Benavidez, I think that’s actually a great play because you never know. Someone might pay it,” said Hearn.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Saudis eventually come forward with the $200 million for Canelo to fight Benavidez. I doubt that they will because it’s not worth it. Benavidez is too big, and needs to be fighting at light heavyweight or cruiserweight.

“What’s the point of coming out and saying, ‘Give me $75 million to fight Benavidez.’ Someone will just go, ‘Done.’ ‘Give me $200 [million].’ As I say, ‘Shoot for the stars. If you miss, shoot for the clouds.’ If you shoot for the clouds and you miss, you land on your a**,” said Hearn.

“Whether it’s 200, whether it’s 150, whether it’s 100, I like the style. Hey, look, mother f****. You want me to fight Benavidez? You want that fight? Pay me. I’ll fight Berlanga next. I’ll fight anyone.’

“One thing I know about Saul. He ain’t afraid of no one. I promise you he’ll fight anyone. He’ll have no problem fighting Benavidez. No problem fighting Crawford. It’s all about the money, but he does want to be in exciting fights. I know that.

Berlanga as a Viable Option

“That fight is not done. We’re not in negotiations for that fight. All it is, Edgar is mandatory for Canelo. So at some point, he’s going to have to fight,” said Hearn about Edgar Berlanga, who he promotes at Matchroom.”

Berlanga would really help himself if he took a quick fight against Caleb Plant to strengthen his position for a match against Canelo, but he’s not shown interest in doing so. He’s made it clear that he’s just going to wait and see if Canelo chooses him for September.

“I appreciate there are bigger fights out there for Canelo, but if they don’t materialize, why not fight your mandatory? Why not have a young super middleweight [Berlanga], who can punch and that will come to win,” said Hearn.

“You got a guy from Puerto Rico [correction: Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York]. You got a guy from Mexico. Edgar likes to talk that smack as well. You’ve seen him. I think it’s a big fight. Of course, Benavidez, Crawford, they are bigger fights than Berlanga, but if they’re not available, you have a mandatory like Edgar Berlanga, I think you make the fight happen,” said Hearn.

Berlanga would be a good option if he fought at least one good contender at 168 during his career because his competition has been awful from day one. Top Rank matched Berlanga against 16 straight stiffs when he started his career with them, and he knocked them all out in the first round.

The fact that Top Rank continued to match Berlanga weakly suggested to some that they were trying to manufacture a fighter to turn into a fake star to take advantage of the New York fans.

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