Canelo Alvarez vacates WBA 160-lb title
By Jeff Aronow: In a long-overdue move, Canelo Alvarez vacated his WBA middleweight title on Friday, letting go of the belt he hadn’t defended in a year and a half.
It was expected that Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) would vacate his WBA 160-lb title after his win over WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith on December 19th.
Canelo’s focus right now is unifying the 168-lb division, and that goal will keep him busy the remainder of 2021.
Murata vs. Eubank Jr = great fight for WBA belt
Currently, Ryota Murata holds the WBA ‘regular’ middleweight title, and Chris Eubnk Jr holds the interim WBA title.
It would make sense for the World Boxing Association may order those two to fight for the belt Canelo just vacated. But with the WBA, anything is possible. It wouldn’t be surprising if they have #5 Sergio Martinez. The 45-year-old Martinez came out of a six-year retirement in 2020, and he’s quickly picked up two wins over journeyman opposition.
It doesn’t matter that Martinez hasn’t beaten a quality fighter. With his #5 ranking with the WBA, it wouldn’t be a big shock if the sanctioning body has him fight for Canelo’s vacated title.
Canelo giving up the WBA middleweight title could mean that if welterweight Errol Spence Jr and Gennadiy Golovkin wish to fight him, they’ll need to go up to 168 to make that happen.
That’s less of an issue for Golovkin than it would for Spence, who would need to go up in weight three divisions to meet Canelo at super middleweight. Spence would still do it, but Canelo would receive little credit from boxing fans if he were to win. Canelo likely wouldn’t lose any sleep over fans not happy with him.
If Canelo were to stay at 160, he would have been pressured by fans to face Jermall Charlo, Golovkin, and Demetrius Andrade. Those are three fighters that Alvarez isn’t showing a lot of interest in fighting right now. All three of those champions are expected to move up to 168 soon to chase Canelo.
Canelo focused on unifying 168-lb division
Whether the Mexican star will fight any of them this year is unknown. DAZN would be pleased to see Canelo fight those guys, but those are risky matches and he’s not shown a desire to take on risky opponents since his controversial 12 round decision win over GGG in 2018.
Where Canelo is at right now at 168, he’s got winnable fights against Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant to become the undisputed champion in the weight class.
If Canelo is able to do that, then it’s going to get harder for him, as he would be pressured to face David Benavidez, who is gunning for a fight against him.
WBA’s top 10 rankings at 160
1. Chris Eubank Jr. (interim champion)
2. Magomed Madiev
3. Carlos Lindsey Monroe
4. Mikalai Vesialou
5. Sergio Martinez
6. Jaime Munguia
7. David Papot
8. Michael Zerafa
9. Anatoli Muratov
10. Alfonso Blanco
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