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Only David Benavidez can beat Canelo – says Chris Algieri

Caleb Plant Canelo Alvarez David Benavidez

By Dan Ambrose: Chris Algieri believes that former WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez could be the guy that beats Canelo Alvarez. Algieri likes the unbeaten Benavidez’s size, power, and toughness (24-0, 21 KOs).

You can argue that the majority of the boxing world believes Benavidez KOs Canelo when that fight happens. Fans also believe that Canelo is running scared of Benavidez and wants no part of facing him.

If Canelo wanted to fight Benavidez, he would have done it a long time ago. Rather than wasting time on fighting no names like Avni Yildirim, Canelo could have fought Benavidez, but he didn’t.  That tells you a lot about Canelo.

Despite being called out many times by the 24-year-old Benavidez, Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) has shown no sense of urgency to get inside the ring with him.

Indeed, Canelo didn’t attempt to unify the 168-lb division when Benavidez held the WBC super middleweight title.

When Benavidez lost his title on the scales a couple of years ago, Canelo then got excited about becoming the undisputed weight class champion.

Plant can give Canelo problems

“I think his [Plant] footwork, rhythm, and hand speed will pose more of an issue in the beginning than [Billy Joe] Saunders,” said Chris Algieri to Fighthub about the Canelo vs. Plant fight.

Caleb Plant Canelo Alvarez David Benavidez

“I had said this in an interview about Saunders.  The more offensive he is, the better he’ll do, but he’ll be at more risk, which is what happened in the fight,” said Algieri.

“If he’d [Saunders] just moved around the ring, he’d have lost every round but would probably have made it to the end. But he exchanged and had some success in the middle there, which exposed him to getting hit.

“Caleb has a better style to fight from the outside and still be able to be competitive.  So I think it’ll go more rounds, but I’m not necessarily sure he’ll be more effective.

“Definitely [Caleb can cause Canelo problems]. Anybody that is a good boxer and has a good jab is a problem for anybody.

“Again, he’s [Plant] is undefeated, and he’s proven up to this point, he hasn’t fought the same caliber of guys [as Canelo] yet. He hasn’t been in a show this size, and he hasn’t been in front of a guy like Canelo,” said Algieri.

Plant can give Canelo loads of problems if he stays on the outside and moves a lot. Plant could school Canelo like Mayweather and Erislandy Lara did, but the big question is whether he’ll get the decision.

The Canelo vs. Plant fight takes place in Las Vegas, a city where Alvarez has been involved with many controversial decisions.

Algieri says Canelo has gotten faster

“Again, that makes some guys step up,” said Algieri. “On paper, he’s [Plant] got a lot of the tools that can give Canelo an issue. But Canelo is a different thing now than he fought those other guys that gave him trouble.

“His jab is better, and he’s way faster. He’s gotten faster, which is, even though he’s moving up in weight classes, he’s so much more explosive now.

“I was watching the [Erislandy] Lara fight, and I was getting prepared for the Saunders fight. He’s [Canelo] way slower in the Lara fight and plodding.


“He was doing a lot of the same things against Lara than he did against Saunders, but it was way slower and wasn’t set up as good. He’s gotten a lot better,” said Algieri.

I’m afraid I disagree with Algieri about his belief that Canelo has gotten faster since his fight with Erislandy Lara in 2014. The truth is, Canelo isn’t quicker than he was when he fought Lara.

Of course, Canelo is slower because he’s older, and he’s put on a lot more size in the last seven years since the Lara fight. What’s different now is Canelo loads up on his shots by putting everything he can into them.

As a result, it may seem like Canelo has gotten faster, but what you’re seeing is him putting all he can into his shots.

When Canelo fought the highly skilled Cuban Lara, he couldn’t fight like that because he was getting picked off.

Fighting wreckless the way Canelo does now, Lara would have picked him apart if he’d done that against him.

The reason Canelo can swing for the fences now is that he’s facing weaker opposition than when he fought Lara and Floyd Mayweather Jr. In Canelo’s last three fights, he’s fought Billy Joe Saunders Avni Yildirim, and Callum Smith. Those aren’t talented guys like Lara.

As such, Canelo could load up with everything he had to try and hurt them, but he would have been embarrassed if he tried to fight that way against Lara or Mayweather.

Benavidez can beat Canelo

“Yeah, I like [David] Benavidez a lot,” said Algieri when told that David Benavidez is the guy that many boxing fans believe can beat Canelo.

“I like the way he fights. He’s a big super middle. He’s not just big and size, he’s tall and long.

“He [Benavidez] cuts weight and throws a ton of punches. He’s got a great jab.

“People forget about his jab because he throws so many combinations, and throws so many punches all the time.

“He’s got a great jab, a great body puncher. I was super impressed by his [Benavidez] last fight against Ronald Ellis, who I’ve known for a decade and a half.

“He’s a super tough guy. Ron only won the first round, and after that, it was all Benavidez.

“Really, the strength of the jab was what set the tone. Also, the combination punching.

“I think Benavidez is a real test and a monster, and I think his size, his combination punching, and his doggedness. He’s a dog. He’ll take the shots and come forward. I think that’s a real fight [for Canelo],” said Algieri.

The size, power, youth, work rate, punch resistance, and sheer courage of Benavidez would likely be too much for Canelo to handle.

Canelo can’t throw many punches at his age and never could even when he was younger.

If Canelo fought Benavidez, he would have to increase his work rate significantly, or else he would get bombarded out of the ring.

Canelo can’t physically throw a lot of punches; he just can’t. He doesn’t possess the cardio to match Benavidez’s work rate, and he’s a lot smaller and older.

For Canelo to have a chance of beating Benavidez, he’s got to fight him now while he’s still relatively young. The longer Canelo waits before fighting Benavidez, the more it will impact his ability to win.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Canelo waits four years before fighting Benavidez. By that time, Canelo will be 35, and not the guy he is today.

In contrast, Benavidez will be 28, still in his prime, and ready to add Canelo’s scalp to his resume. That’s why if Canelo is going to fight Benavidez, he’s got to do it now while he is still in his prime or less.

Is Canelo the greatest Mexican fighter of all time?

[Julio Cesar] Chavez, he’s a God,” said Algieri when asked if Canelo becomes the greatest of all time of all Mexican fighters.

“I think Chavez epitomizes Mexican boxing. He’s transcended, and it’s funny because he’s still alive. He’s like a Sugar Ray Robinson.

“He’s basically a legend. I think we got to wait until the end of his [Canelo] career. It’s so hard to place a guy before he’s done,” said Algieri about Canelo.

It’s fair to say that most boxing fans who were around when Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Salvador Sanchez were fighting would argue that they were better fighters than Canelo.

Sanchez wasn’t afraid to take risks with his career, and the same with Chavez. Those guys would have never avoided a fighter like Benavidez if he fought in their weight class during their careers.

Canelo seems to be avoiding Benavidez, and for that reason alone, you can’t say he’s the greatest Mexican fighter of all time.

Also, the way Canelo vacated his WBC title to avoid a fight with Gennadiy Golovkin years back looked terrible.

Of course, Canelo’s positive test for clenbuterol and the many fans who saw how physique changed in a short period, looking suddenly significantly cut up and big. Sanchez and Chavez never tested positive for banned substances like Canelo.

For that reason, you can’t pick Canelo over either of those guys as the greatest of all time.

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