WBA Clarifies: Berlanga Is Mandatory for Morrell, Not Canelo

By Jeepers Isaac - 02/29/2024 - Comments

WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has clarified that Edgar Berlanga is not the mandatory for Canelo Alvarez’s ‘Super champion’ belt with their organization, as he mistakenly told the media last weekend. Berlanga (22-0, 17 KOs) is the mandatory for WBA ‘regular’ 168-lb title held by David Morrell Jr.

Berlanga rejected a fight with Morrell, saying he only wants Canelo. If Berlanga can’t get that fight for May 4th, we’ll see who he faces next.

Ideally, Edgar should agree to fight Morrell Jr. for his WBA ‘regular’ title, considering that would put him in the position to challenge Canelo in September. However, with Berlanga saying he wouldn’t face Morrell, it’s clear that he won’t change his mind.

If Berlanga refuses to fight Morrell and faces another lesser fighter from Europe like the ones he’s been facing in his last two fights, it’ll hurt his popularity, such as it is.

Canelo Fight Still Possible, But Not Mandatory

Mendoza told boxing expert Dan Rafael that Berlanga is the mandatory for Morrell Jr’s ‘regular’ title at 168, meaning that if Canelo chooses to defend his title against Edgar next on May 4th, it would be a voluntary defense for the Mexican superstar, and it won’t count as a mandatory defense.

This removes any potential justification for Canelo’s selection of Berlanga as his next title defense. Canelo can’t tell the media and fans that he’s defending against Berlanga to satisfy his mandatory with the WBA. the Mexican star can still use Berlanga as the next opponent on May 4th, but he couldn’t fall back on the excuse of it being mandatory.

Fans overwhelmingly don’t want Canelo to face Berlanga, viewing the Puerto Rican American as a hype job, a fighter with an inflated resume of 22 stiffs, a creation by his promoters to build him into a fake star with no substance behind him.

If Canelo wants to please the fans for his next fight, he has three difficult choices:’

1. David Benavidez
2. Jaime Munguia
3. David Morrell Jr.

Fighting Benavidez would be problematic due to him still being with PBC. If Canelo were to fight him, it would need to be on Amazon Prime PPV, and he would need to work with PBC, the company that he just parted ways with.

For these reasons, it’s untenable right now for a fight between Canelo and Benavidez to take place. The fight will need to wait until PBC goes under, Benavidez is freed up, and the Saudis will likely step in with a massive $100 million payday for Canelo.