Canelo Alvarez interested in fighting in England
By Aragon Garcia: After Saul Canelo Alvarez finishes his goal of conquering the middleweight division, he says there’s a possibility of him moving up to 168 and 175 to go after fighters in those divisions in other parts of the world like England and Japan, according to ESPN Deportes.
Canelo, 28, already made a brief move up in weight to 168 last December in defeating WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding (27-2, 15 KOs) by a third round knockout in front of a huge crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York. Canelo showed in that fight that his incredible talent was more than adequate for the 168 lb weight class, which is unquestionably lacking in talent. Canelo could dominate the super middleweight division easier than the middleweight class, which he’s about to unify.
“I’ve always loved the possibility of being able to go to England or Tokyo, Japan,” Canelo said to ESPN Deportes. “I really like the idea of going to some of those parts or to any other part of the world where people follow me”
Canelo would have a couple of good fights available to him if he moved up to super middleweight permanently to fight in England. Right off hand, there’s WBA Super World champion Callum Smith, who is seen as the #1 fighter in the 168 lb weight class. Additionally, there’s the winner of tonight’s Chris Eubank Jr. vs. James DeGale match in London, England. That’s expected to be Eubank Jr., who has loads of charisma and talent. Eubank Jr. and Smith are the only two that would be worthwhile for Canelo to fight in England at super middleweight in this writer’s opinion. Former World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is moving up in weight to fight Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) for the vacant WBO 168 lb title on April 13 at Wembley Arena in London, but he lacks the popularity and the crowd-pleasing style that would make for an interesting fight. Saunders is more of a mover, and a pure boxer than an exciting slugger. It wouldn’t be interesting for a lot of American boxing fans watching the Canelo-Saunders fight at home on DAZN to see him chasing an unwilling fighter all around the ring for 12 rounds or for however long the fight lasts.
“In England there are many very good fighters. They make good fights and I would love it,” Canelo said.
Besides Smith, Eubank Jr., DeGale and Saunders, Canelo could also potentially fight former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in the future. However, that’s a fight that would need to take place at 160 before Canelo moves up in weight to super middleweight and light heavyweight. Brook has fought most of his career at welterweight. He only recently moved up to 154 last year, and he’s still not fighting the good opposition in that weight class. Canelo vs. Brook would be a good money fight, but it wouldn’t be as compelling as fights against Callum Smith, Chris Eubank Jr., James DeGale or Saunders. Brook is viewed by a lot of boxing fans as a fighter with one foot outside of the door, looking to retire after a cash out fight against Amir Khan. Canelo already knocked out Khan in the sixth round in 2016. There would be no interest from boxing fans in the UK or the U.S in seeing the two of them face each other again.
Here are the options for Canelo in UK fighters:
– Chris Eubank Jr: This might be the best option for Canelo to fight to fight if he wants to come over to the UK to fight one of the British fighters.
– James DeGale: Former IBF super middleweight champion DeGale, 33, would be a nice option for Canelo to fight in the UK if he gets passed Eubank Jr. tonight in their fight in London. DeGale is expected to lose to Eubank Jr., and then retire from boxing. If DeGale wins, Canelo would have to fight him soon before he gets beaten by the likes of Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders. Those guys would be going after DeGale if he were to win tonight. There would also likely be a rematch between DeGale and Eubank Jr. DeGale could lose the second time around. The clock is ticking on DeGale’s career, and he doesn’t have much time left even if he were to win tonight, which he likely won’t.
– Callum Smith: This fighter is the cream of the crop talent-wise in the UK, but not so much with his personality, charisma and marketing ability to sell his fights to the public. Canelo fighting Smith would do good numbers in the UK, but it wouldn’t attract a lot of interest from boxing fans in the U.S due to Smith’s personality. Smith possesses good size and punching power. It could be a very interesting match for fans to watch, and Canelo would receive a great deal of credit from the boxing world if he were to defeat Smith, but it’s a fight that wouldn’t resonate in the U.S.
– Billy Joe Saunders: As this writer mentioned already, Saunders would be a dull fight due to the movement that he would be using to try and get away from Canelo the entire fight. It would potentially be a very ugly fight to watch. If Saunders was the only option in England for Canelo to fight, then, of course, he would potentially look to face him, but he’s not. There are several good fights that Canelo can take in the UK against guys that are willing to stand and fight him, and that would be more exciting for the boxing fans to watch on DAZN in the States.
– Kell Brook: this would be the least interesting fight for Canelo, because Brook has stopped fighting good opposition after his knockout loss to Errol Spence Jr. in 2017. Brook is waiting to get a fight with Khan, which he’s expected to win. For Canelo to fight Brook, he would need to stay around the middleweight division a little longer for that fight to happen. Brook was already stopped in the fifth round by Golovkin in 2016. Canelo wouldn’t receive any credit if he were to beat Brook. The only thing Canelo could try to do is stop Brook earlier in the fight than GGG did, and look more impressive in doing so. That’s not a good enough reason for Canelo to waste one of his precious fights in his career in facing Brook. If Brook was still fighting talented champions and contenders, then it wouldn’t be so bad, but he’s facing mediocre opposition and waiting to fight a shot Amir Khan.
Former super middleweight champion George Groves recently retired from the sport following his knockout loss to Callum Smith last year in the World Boxing Super Series 168 lb tournament. If not for Groves retiring, he would be an excellent fight for Canelo at 175. Groves has always been a huge fighter at 168, but if he were to fight Canelo, it would be best to make it at 175. However, Groves has retired, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to come out of retirement to resume his career for anybody, not even a big stadium fight against Canelo.
Canelo (51-1-2, 35 KOs) is interested in fighting WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. This is a fight that would need to happen soon though, as Kovalev is 35-years-old, and he’s suffered losses to Andre Ward [x 2] and Eleider Alvarez. If Canelo waits too long before taking the fight with Kovalev, the Russian fighter may no longer hold his World Boxing Organization 175 lb. Subsequently, Canelo won’t receive credit for beating Kovalev. Canelo is already experiencing that after his win over 36-year-old Gennady Golovkin last September. Many of the fans are saying that the only reason that Canelo won the fight is because GGG was old. Fighting old guys puts Canelo in a position where he doesn’t receive the credit he deserves after he beats them. Few fans gave Canelo credit for beating Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, Ryan Rhodes, Lovemore Nodu and Carlos Badomir, because they were older fighters by the time he fought them.