Canelo Alvarez says Jermall Charlo fight must happen
By Matt Lieberman: Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) says the fight with WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo must happen soon. He’s interested in facing one of the Charlo brothers, which would likely be Jermarll (31-0, 22 KOs) once he moves up to 168.
Although Canelo hasn’t ruled out moving back down to 168, it’s unlikely that he’ll choose to face Charlo at 160. The guy that will bring in good money for Canelo at 160 is WBA champion, Ryota Murata.
Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso wants to have him go to Japan to fight one of the top fighters in that country, and Murata would be the obvious choice.
This Saturday, Canelo will defend his WBA/WBC 168-lb titles against his WBC mandatory Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. The fight will be shown on DAZN.
Canelo won’t have a chance to fight Jermall Charlo in 2021, as he wants to unify the super middleweight division this year.
If Alvarez beats Yildirim, his next fight is WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders and then Caleb Plant. Those unification matches will take place in May and September, respectively.
Canelo wants Jermall Charlo
“I always respect my opponents and give them all the respect they deserve,” said Canelo to Fighthub about his fight against Yildirim.
“All fighters always say the same thing,” said Canelo about fighters complaining that he’s avoiding them. “I beat one, and another one comes up. That’s how it is; it’s normal. It’s part of the game.
“Hopefully, yes, why not?” said Canelo when told that Jermall Charlo thinks he’s avoiding him. “A fight has to happen with one of those two.”
It’s good that Canelo addresses the fight with Jermall Charlo because that’s one that fans have been asking for quite frequently in the last year.
With Gennadiy Golovkin having added out of the picture due to age, weak opposition, and poor performances, Charlo has emerged as the guy that boxing fans want to see Canelo fight.
Yildirim has sparred with Canelo
“I always train 100%, and I’m ready to show my best self inside the ring,” Canelo said. “No, it’s not the same as having a sparring partner and having a real fight.
“He has a lot of power, and that’s why we prepared the way we did for his style. But a fight is totally different from sparring.
“Yeah, I think so, and I believe him, and well, he has his strategy. Let’s see him try, and I have my strategy as well.
“No, honestly, I’m very happy and very thankful where I am at. Very prideful, and pressure is just motivation for me,” said Canelo.
“We’re talking about that because we want to unify this year with all the titles at 168,” Alvarez said about him wanting to face Billy Joe Saunders next. “He’s the WBO champion. There have been talks, but we have this fight on Saturday and then let’s see.
“Yeah, I hope that that fight is concrete for this year,” Alvarez said about him possibly facing IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant in September.
“We don’t know. The only thing that I can tell you is my goal is to win the 168-pound belts, and then let’s see what comes.
“Right now, we have these two fights in May, and the one on Saturday,” Canelo said when asked if he plans to continue working with Eddie Hearn in the future. “I’m happy working with Eddie Hearn.
“It’s just to have more focus in my career,” Canelo about him picking up a promotional license for Nevada. “And it’s to be able to steer my career and the way we steer it. I’m proud of that.
“I want to focus on my career. Right now, I just want to focus on my career, but in the future, we will see.
“Yeah, I was so happy and excited and proud of the team,” said Canelo about Oscar Valdez’s win over Miguel Berchelt last Saturday. “Thank God, we are all winning our fights, and I’m very proud of everyone,” said Hearn.
It’s been three years since Yildirim worked with Canelo as a sparring partner, and a lot has changed since then. Yildirim has a new trainer in Joel Diaz, and he’s more advanced now.
The same power is there for Yildirim, but he has a more complex style. So if Canelo is counting on Yildirim being ‘Mr. Robot’ like he was in the past, he’ll be in for a shock.
Is Canelo ready for Yildirim?
“I will say this about his fight against [Anthony] Dirrell. One judge had him up widely, and one had it close, and one had it to Dirrell,” said Eddie Hearn to Behind The Ropes in talking about Yildirim.
“But it was a technical decision, wasn’t it? So a lot of people had him winning that fight against Dirrell, who is a good fighter. If you ask, ‘why is he the mandatory?’ That’s a question for the governing bodies, the WBC.
“I think being totally honest about this fight, this fight is a good fight to fit in amongst Canelo’s normal schedule.
“So if this fight was a Cinco de Mayo fight or a September fight, I think it would be a bit of a letdown for the fans.
“But to see him eight weeks out after Callum Smith to take care of his mandatory and then go nine weeks later to go in against Billy Joe Saunders, that’s what’s called impressive.
“I think he acknowledges that. He knows what the fans are thinking. He wants to satisfy them; he wants to get the adoration of the fans. So he knows that fighting Yildirim on Cinco de Mayo wouldn’t have gotten him there.
“And so he looked at his schedule and went, ‘If I beat Callum Smith, I’m WBC world champion, but I’m going to have to fight Yildirim. Okay, let’s do that quickly in February.’
“The only danger with that, once you finish the Callum Smith fight and you did your camp before that after the Callum Smith fight of those eight weeks?
“Did he have one? Did he have four? So there is the danger that he may not be as well prepared for this fight as he was for the Callum Smith one. Now, will that matter?” said Hearn about Canelo.
The only way that Canelo wouldn’t be ready for Yildirim is if he took a lot of wear & tear in training camp for this fight. Canelo’s last fight against Callum Smith was an easy one last December, which was surprising.
Callum was supposed to have been the #1 fighter at 168, but he came to survive. He didn’t try and win the fight.
Yildirim shooting for a knockout
“The only thing I’ll say about Yildirim is, I promise you, an exciting fight. He’s got plenty of courage, and he won’t run, and he won’t try and survive,” said Hearn.
“He’ll come out, take a look and go for it. That’s not a good idea either, but at least this is not a guy that will back up against the ropes and take a few and take a knee.
“He will try and knock Canelo out, and he may get brutally knocked out trying to do it. But I promise he’ll try and do it.
“He’s got a tremendous coach in Joel Diaz. I mean, really, one of the great stories of this fight is probably two of the best coaches in boxing in Eddy Reynoso and Joel Diaz.
“He’s a lovely guy, Yildrim. I believe they’ll give everything, and I believe they’ll let their hands go.
“A lot of people look at Yildirim through the Eubank performance, and actually, if you watch that fight back, the combination that Eubank knocked him out with was phenomenal.
“The speed of that was fantastic, but it wasn’t like he was getting smashed to pieces. He was nonstop having a go. At the time, Eubank was in his prime. When Eubank is on top and letting his hands go, he looks great.
“He [Yildirim] got caught with a flurry of shots at great speed, and it was a really good knockout. People don’t give Eubank any credit anyway. ‘Oh, Eubank knocked him out. He must be [poor].’
“He wants to fight Eubank again, Yildirim. But listen, he’s a massive underdog in the fight, but I think it’ll be exciting because how do you beat Canelo? The only way to beat Canelo, I guess.
“His boxing has improved so much. People used to say, ‘If you’re a boxer and a mover, you can outwork him.’ Mayweather, Trout, Lara, but now he’s a bit of a boxer and mover,” Hearn said.
Yildirim, 29, always shoots for knockouts, but he must accomplish that against Alvarez in this case. He’s not to beat Canelo by a decision, and his trainer Joel Diaz knows that.
Eubank Jr used an odd style of throwing almost exclusively uppercuts against Yildirim, and he threw them in combination form. You don’t see that from fighters, and Yildirim wasn’t ready for that style.
Saunders has the best chance of beating Canelo
“His defense is the best in boxing,” said Hearn of Canelo. “The person with the best chance to beat him is Billy Joe Saunders because Billy has something inside him where he’s a winner as well.
“He’s never lost, he truly believes it, and on the night, he’s capable of something really speak. But he’s going to have to produce something on the night that is beyond special to beat him, but he believes he can do it.
“We just did 12 rounds against Martin Murray,” said Hearn when told that Tyson Fury said Saunders needed another tune-up before fighting Canelo.
“I know he was out for a year, and so was everybody, and so was Canelo. He just did 12 rounds against Martin Murray in November. So it’s not like he’s not been active.
“But also, it’s not like Billy Joe is getting any younger. This is it; he’s in his prime. So you can’t pick and choose when you get a shot against the biggest name in boxing. But thankfully, he just did 12 rounds.
“Billy needs fear. When Billy boxed Coceres in LA, he thought it was going to be a stroll in the park. He had to come from behind to knock him out.
“When he fought Martin Murray, he trained hard, but in the back of his head, he knew he wasn’t going to lose this fight.
“I don’t even think his Eubank performance was that good. He beat him, but I don’t think he had massive fear of Eubank.
“The two fights where he felt he could lose were Andy Lee and David Lemieux. The Andy Lee performance was outstanding, but the David Lemieux performance, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Hearn.
You’d expect Hearn to be pumping up the chances of his fighter Billy Joe Saunders for a fight against Canelo. It’s not surprising that Hearn is talking up Saunder’s chances, but he’s the least likely to beat Canelo at 168.
The fighters in the super middleweight division that do have a decent chance of beating Canelo are from this list:
- Edgar Berlanga
- David Benavidez
- Caleb Plant
- Eddie Hearn: Charlo and Golovkin would be the favorite against Andrade
- Billy Joe Saunders sounding unconfident, bellyaching about judges
- Demetrius Andrade scolds Golovkin & Charlo to step up
- Boxing Results: Carlos Gongora stops Chris Pearson, wants Canelo next