Bradley: Canelo Alvarez doesn’t want Artur Beterbiev
By Dan Ambrose: Tim Bradley has doubts whether Saul Canelo Alvarez will want to take on IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev if he’s victorious next month in his title challenge against WBO 175-lb champ Sergey Kovalev. Bradley believes that the unbeaten Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) is too good for Canelo to fight at light heavyweight at the moment.
Canelo (52-1-2 35 KOs) faces Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) on November 2 on DAZN at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even though Kovalev is on the decline at 36, it’s still an interesting match-up with Canelo moving up 2 weight divisions to face him. Kovalev is still a world champion at 175, and that ensures Canelo will at least receive some credit if he beats him. The casual fans will admire Canelo if he beats Kovalev. They don’t know much about Kovalev being old, and looking like a shadow of his former self.
Will Canelo’s power be improved at 175?
If Canelo has better power at light heavyweight, he could make it interesting in a fight with Beterbiev. Canelo looked good against former WBA super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding last December. The shots that Canelo landed on Fielding looked more devastating than what we’d seen from him in fights with Gennadiy Golovkin. If Canelo destroys Kovalev with a quick knockout on November 2, there will be a lot of boxing fans believing he can defeat Beterbiev.
Bradley says Beterbiev represents pain for Canelo
“He’s ready to go up to 175 pounds against a guy like that [Kovalev, but a guy like Beterbiev? I don’t think so,” said Bradley to Fighthub. “I don’t think Canelo wants that! That’s pain!”
If Canelo were willing to face Beterbiev now, he would need to come up with an entirely different strategy to beat him than what we’ve seen in his previous fights. Canelo likes to fight on the inside, and take advantage of his superb skills in close. That would be a no-no for Canelo against Beterbiev though, as the Russian fighter is a devastating puncher on the inside.
Beterbiev’s inside game would be a problem for Canelo
Canelo wouldn’t last long against Beterbiev if he were to fight him in close. You can argue the same thing would apply to Andre Ward if he were to come out of retirement, and face Beterbiev. The inside game that Ward used to beat Kovalev twice, it wouldn’t work well against Beterbiev. In fact, it would be a disaster for Ward. Fighting Beterbiev on the outside would be no picnic either, as Oleksandr Gvozdyk found out last Friday. The long right hand body shots that Beterbiev would be throwing at Canelo would make it difficult for him to stay in there with him. Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso has taught him how to dodge head shots by using movement, but he’s still wide open for punches to the body.
That doesn’t mean that Canelo won’t one day fight Beterbiev though. The Russian fighter is 34-years-old now, and it’s possible that in 3 to 5 years, Canelo could take the fight with Beterbiev.
Canelo fighting Kovalev because he’s old says Bradley
“Canelo’s a smaller guy coming up to this weight class, man,” said Bradley in talking about Alvarez’s decision to fight Kovalev. “He’s going to take that risk because Kovalev, who is kind of watered down a little bit. He’s a little long in the tooth, so I think that’s the reason he’s taking that risk. He sees the opportunity to break Kovalev down to the body; that’s his specialty,” said Bradley.
Bradley’s view of Canelo’s rationale in choosing to take the risk of fighting WBO 175-lb champ Kovalev is what many boxing fans believe. They think it’s a weak cherry-picking move on Canelo’s part in picking a fighter that is in his mid-30s, and showing signs of decline. That’s too bad for Canelo that people are seeing him as an opportunist rather than a courageous guy, because he’s not going to receive full credit if he beats Kovalev.
For many of the hardcore boxing fans, they won’t give Canelo the proper respect if he comes out victorious against Kovalev. Canelo didn’t fight Kovalev when he was in his prime five years ago in 2014. It’s only now when Kovalev has lost 3 out of his last 7 fights that Canelo wants to fight him.