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Canelo on why No Benavidez fight: “I can do what I want”

Image: Canelo on why No Benavidez fight: "I can do what I want"

By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez said his reason for why he’s fighting WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu next rather than David Benavidez is because he just beat all the champions at 168. He feels he can do whatever he wants now.

Boxing fans wanted to see Canelo, 31, defend his four super middleweight titles against his WBC mandatory Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) because he’s considered the #1 guy in the 168-lb weight class.

Alvarez beat all the 168-lb champions, which the paper variety belt-holders, and arguably none of them deserved to hold titles. These are the belt-holders that Canelo swooped in and beat at 168:

  • Rocky Fielding
  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Caleb Plant
  • Callum Smith

Canelo says he does whatever he wants

Right now, I can do whatever I want. I faced all the 168lbs world champions; I took the title from all of them. Now I do what I want,” said Canelo Alvarez on Thursday at the WBC convention on why he’s fighting Ilunga Makabu instead of David Benavidez.

There it is. As simple as it is, Canelo explains why he doesn’t have to fight Benavidez. “I do what I want.”

If Canelo does capture the WBC cruiserweight title from Makabu, his next move will likely be to shoot up to heavyweight to pick off WBA ‘regular’ champion Trevor Bryan. Some boxing fans see him as the weakest of the champions, and he’s not a huge puncher. If Canelo bulks up to 200 lbs, he probably can beat that guy.

Image: Canelo on why No Benavidez fight: "I can do what I want"

Canelo won’t take on IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk because he’d given the flat-footed Mexican star a boxing lesson.

Canelo’s feet are too slow for him to compete against a fighter like Usyk, which would be a mismatch. Canelo is too small to fight WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury or the 6’6″ Anthony Joshua if he recaptures his three titles.

Until Benavidez lost his WBC title on the scales last year, he held a title and was viewed as the top fighter in the super middleweight division bar none.

Soon after Benavidez lost his WBC 168lb title on the scales, Canelo took advantage of the situation by facing inactive Avni Yildirim for the vacant WBC belt.

Shockingly, the WBC sanctioned that fight even though Yildirim hadn’t fought in two years and was coming off a loss to Anthony Dirrell in February 2019.

Malignaggi approves of Canelo facing Makabu

“When you go up in weight, you can’t fight the best guys in every weight class,” said Paulie Malignaggi to iFL TV about Canelo taking on arguably the worst champion at cruiserweight in Ilunga Makabu.

“I know Pacquiao spoiled you, but some realistic thoughts here,” said Malignaggi about Manny Pacquiao having captured world titles in nine weight classes while fighting the best champions, not the worst, as Canelo did against Sergey Kovalev and is about to do against Makabu.

“Realistically, I didn’t see it coming, but I didn’t pay attention to Makabu,” said Malignaggi. “But when you look at the light heavyweight division, all filled with monster punchers like Joe Smith, Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, all huge punchers. You got to go up in weight and fight huge punchers?

“You look up one more weight class, and you got this little-known guy with a major title, Makabu. Maybe you pick him off and become a cruiserweight world champion and then see how the heavyweights shuffle out and then go after them later.

“Notwithstanding the morons that are going to talk about the heavyweight division once he becomes cruiserweight champion because you know those morons exist in boxing.

Andy Ruiz Jr. is too powerful for Canelo

“No, I don’t think so,” said Malignaggi when told that someone believes Canelo would beat Andy Ruiz. “If you get hit with a hook. Ruiz knocked out AJ. You’re not playing a video game.

“You’ve got guys that are really getting hit in there. If Andy Ruiz hits Canelo with a left hook, it’s going to hurt him bad. Canelo is not that size. They train together, and they’ll never fight regardless.

“I would have loved to have seen him [Canelo] fight Benavidez or [Jermall] Charlo,” said Malignaggi. “They’re terrific fighters, and I think they would have been deserving of the shot.

“Right now, he’s [Canelo] probably going to go the Makabu route. That’s why they made the announcement at the WBC convention,” said Malignaggi.

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