By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez had planned on fighting Billy Joe Saunders next on May 2 until the pandemic wiped out that fight. While that might be a disappointment for Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs), it’s not even registered with American boxing fans, who had no desire to see the Mexican star beat up on another over-matched, over-the-hill fighter.
If Canelo wants to wow the boxing world, he’ll forget about Saunder, and instead challenge IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev or WBA champ Dmitry Bivol.
Fans are fed up with seeing Canelo fight weaker opposition on his DAZN contract, and they want him to step it up against elite-level fighters, not guys living off the memories of 3,000 yesterday’s ago. They already saw Canelo fight Sergey Kovalev and Rocky Fielding, and they don’t want to see him burn through another easy fight against Saunders.
Fans are paying their hard-earned money to watch boxing on DAZN, and they want quality fights from guys like Canelo.
Canelo can make DAZN happy
For DAZN, it’s got to be especially tough for them to watch Canelo hand-pick soft jobs like Rocky Fielding, Sergey Kovalev, and Saunders instead of quality guys capable of beating him or at least giving him a true test.
One way for Canelo to help DAZN bring back their lost subscribers would be for him to show some courage by taking on Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, David Benavidez, or Caleb Plant. These are the fighters that U.S boxing fans want to see Canelo fighting now, not guys like Fielding, Saunders, or Kovalev.
It’s a good thing that the Saunders fight isn’t happening because it gives Canelo a chance to focus on facing guys that the fans want to see him competing against.
On top of the list, fans want Canelo to take on the BIG four:
- Artur Beterbiev
- Dmitry Bivol
- David Benavidez
- Caleb Plant
Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) holds the IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles and is considered to be the best fighter in the 175-pound division. The two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev is the fighter that Canelo chose not to last November.
Canelo would impress a lot of boxing fans if he showed courage in taking on Beterbiev, Bivol, or Benavidez. Those are guys that many fans would pick as a favorite to beat Canelo. Plant would be a nightmare as well with his boxing ability, and that would be a 50-50 fight if Canelo were willing to take him on.
Did Beterbiev scare Canelo away?
Beterbiev might have scared away Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions with his recent tenth round TKO triumph over WBC 175-pound champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk last October. Canelo prides himself on his body-punching ability, but he can’t hold a candle to Beterbiev’s expertise in that area.
The body shots that Beterbiev was hitting Gvozdyk with were punches that seemed to go right through him to the other side. Had Beterbiev landed those same shots on Canelo, there’s little doubt that he’d have him rolling around on the canvas, trying to catch his breath.
When push came to shove, Canelo took the easiest of the light heavyweight champions in the shot 36-year-old Kovalev instead of finding the courage to face the best in Beterbiev. The casuals didn’t know the difference, as they have no clue how good Beterbiev is or how over-the-hill Kovalev has become since his two losses to Andre Ward.
When Canelo moved up to 175 to capture his fourth division world title, he took on the weakest link among the champions in the division in WBO belt holder Kovalev. ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) was a good fighter during his best years, but he’s been fading since 2016.
Gennadiy Golovkin NOT available for Canelo
Fans wanted to see Canelo take on IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) in a trilogy fight so that the close the chapter in their hotly contested rivalry. However, the 38-year-old Golovkin has decided to face his IBF mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta next, which isn’t a bad decision for him.
It’s an easy defense for Golovkin, as he’s being paid a lot of money with his contract with DAZN. Why take on Canelo when you can make money without sweating against Szeremeta? After GGG beats Szeremeta, then we’ll likely see him take on Canelo in 2021 or later, depending on the pandemic.
Yeah, Golovkin is doing the same thing that Canelo is in padding his record with easy marks on his DAZN contract, but you can give him a free pass given his advanced age. GGG will be turning 39-years-old soon, and he doesn’t have much time left.
You can’t give Golovkin too much flak for him wanting to take a soft guy like Szeremeta at this stage in his career. Golovkin took a lot of punishment in his last fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, as well as in his fights against Steve Rolls and Canelo.
At the same time, Golovkin dished out a lot of pain as well in those fights. Derevyanchenko’s face looked unrecognizable afterward in their clash last October.
Golovkin had Canelo hurt twice in their rematch in 2018, which might be a key reason why the Mexican star chose not to give him an immediate rematch. Instead of giving GGG an immediate rematch, as he wanted, Canelo fought Rocky Fielding in a much-criticized fight.
Dela Hoya says Plant won’t get another shot at Canelo
The talented IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) recently told the reporters that he wouldn’t be available to face Canelo if he were asked to fight him on May 2. At the time, Plant, 27, has just destroyed his IBF mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz in an impressive 10th round knockout win on February 15 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Plant wanted to take a break and rest, not from the fight, but from the hard training camp he’d endured getting ready for the powerful German fighter Feigenbutz.
“I don’t understand ‘short notice.’ There are still nine weeks left,” said Dela Hoya to Fighthype in reacting to Caleb Plant’s excuse last February that he couldn’t face Canelo on May 2 because he needed more time to rest.
“What short notice is that? The truth of the matter is if you’re not going to want to fight Canelo and we’re considering you, it’s over, that’s it. You will not have that opportunity ever again because there are so many other champions out there. He [Canelo] can choose from three weight divisions.
“No, we’re telling you to fight him now. It’s an opportunity of your life. Opportunities don’t come often. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Dela Hoya at the time in making it clear that Plant won’t receive a second chance to fight Canelo.
Plant says he was NEVER offered the Canelo fight
What’s interesting is that an offer was never made to Plant in the first place, which seems to suggest that Dela Hoya was grandstanding in making a big production about Plant, saying that he wasn’t interested in facing Canelo in May. Likely, Golden Boy never had Plant on their list as one of the options for Canelo’s next fight.
Canelo doesn’t have a lot of options available to him for exciting fights for the boxing fans, which is why Dela Hoya shouldn’t be talking in absolutes. Unless Canelo is going to finish out the remainder of his DAZN contract fighting weaker champions like Billy Joe Saunders, he needs to have talented guys like Caleb Plant available for him.
It’s not going to help Canelo if Dela Hoya is saying that Plant is permanently off his list of future opponents because he didn’t want to jump back into training camp to fight him.