Tim Bradley to Canelo: ‘Why not fight Benavidez? Fans don’t want to see Makabu’

By Boxing News - 11/19/2021 - Comments

By Sean Jones: Tim Bradley says he would have preferred that Canelo Alvarez face David Benavidez next rather than going up to 190 to challenge the unrecognized WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu next in early 2022.

The former two-time WBC super middleweight champion Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) is the ideal fight for Canelo in Bradley’s estimation, as it sells itself. Benavidez is unbeaten, wells-spoke, powerful, and viewed as one of the best fighters at 168.

This move by Canelo to go up to cruiserweight to fight Makabu is unnecessary because the boxing public doesn’t want to see it, and it does nothing for his legacy.

Right now, Canelo is trying to cement his legacy by winning world titles in as many divisions as possible, believing that doing this, it’ll validate him in the eyes of future generations of boxing fans.

It’s a wrong-headed idea because the average fan doesn’t care about how many division world titles a fighter has won. When they look at a fighter from the past, they focus on the great fights they had, not division titles they’ve won.

Bradley feels that boxing fans want to see the Mexican star Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) be challenged against an opponent who is not sure he can win like when he was fighting Gennadiy Golovkin years ago.

Tim states that fans don’t want to watch fights in which Canelo is a massive 10-1 favorite to win, like his upcoming match against Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs).

Bradley: We want to see Canelo challenged

“As I said before, I knew Canelo would accomplish the undisputed championship. I knew he could beat every fighter in there [at super middleweight] once Benavidez was eliminated by losing his [WBC 168-lb] title on the scales,” said Tim Bradley to Fight Hub TV.

Image: Tim Bradley to Canelo: 'Why not fight Benavidez? Fans don't want to see Makabu'

“I called it, I saw it coming, and I was like, ‘Okay, so now you [Canelo] want to stay at 168 because you know you can clean out the division and make history,'” Bradley continued.

“And I respect Canelo, I respect him, I really do. You didn’t do it [become undisputed] at 160, and you didn’t want to do it at 154. See, I’m not throwing salt; I’m giving you facts.

“If I was throwing salt without facts, then I have no argument, but I’m giving you facts. It doesn’t mean that Canelo is not great, and it doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a great Mexican champion. He is, he truly is.

“But if you sit down and really think about it, we want to see him be challenged.

“We don’t want to see him in the ring with a guy [Ilunga Makabu] where he’s a 10-1 favorite. We want to see him [Canelo] like when he fought GGG,” said Bradley.

It seems like Canelo has lost his nerve since his second fight with Golovkin in 2018. If you look at the opposition that Canelo has fought since his rematch with GGG, he’s faced beatable guys and veered away from risky fights

Many boxing fans believed that Golovkin should have been victorious in both of his fights with Canelo.

A logical move on Canelo’s part would have been to fight GGG a third time rather than turning his attention to his simple goal of becoming the undisputed champion at 168.

Golovkin took something out of Canelo in their second fight that has made him risk-averse to where he’s taking on opposition in sure-thing contests.

Alvarez’s fights since his rematch with GGG:

  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Caleb Plant
  • Callum Smith
  • Rocky Fielding
  • Danny Jacobs
  • Sergey Kovalev
  • Avni Yildirim

Canelo vs. Benavidez = major PPV fight

“You know, we want to see him in fights like that where we say, ‘Oh man.’ You look at David Benavidez, a young guy and a bigger guy [than Canelo],” said Bradley. “He’s 168 pounds just like he is, and I think he can impose some sort of threat to Canelo.

“He [Benavidez] has speed, he has power, he has grit, he’s hungry, and he’s a talented young fighter. So why not fight that guy? Do you want to sell out Cowboy Stadium? I promise you that you’d sell out Cowboy Stadium in fighting that guy [Benavidez].

“You want to sell major pay-per-views? I think you [Canelo] would sell out a lot because this kid is going to talk. The promotion, it would promote itself, you know?

“He’s [Benavidez] brash, he’s confident, and he’s not going to be sitting there respecting Canelo like everybody else. He truly believes he can beat him. So that right there, to me, is an easy sell,” said Bradley.

Canelo vs. Benavidez would bring in a tremendous amount of PPV buys on Showtime and sell out the 100,000 seat Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

In contrast, Canelo fighting Makabu isn’t a PPV-worthy fight, and it wouldn’t come close to selling out the Cowboys Stadium. Sure, 50,000 fans would show up for the Canelo-Makabu fight, but it wouldn’t be the same turn-out as a Canelo-Benavidez match.

The way that Canelo has chosen to turn his back on a massive fight against Benavidez to take a much smaller one against an unnoticed cruiserweight champion in Makabu doesn’t make sense.

Canelo has undoubtedly heard the backlash from his decision to jump up to cruiserweight to challenge WBC champion Makabu.

For Canelo not to have changed his mind about taking this fight after hearing the negative response from the fans tells you that he doesn’t want to face Benavidez or any of the killers at 175.

Fans DON’T want to see Canelo at cruiserweight

“Canelo wants to go up and make history [at cruiserweight], and that’s cute and all, I get it, but that’s NOT what the fans want to see,” Bradley continued.

We don’t know what is behind Canelo’s decision to go up to cruiserweight to fight WBC champion Makabu.

Although Canelo maintains that his reason for fighting Makabu is because he wants to make history, there’s an alternative explanation for this move.

It could very well be that Canelo doesn’t believe he can beat Benavidez, Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, or Jermall Charlo. By coming up with the justification for that move, ‘I want to make history’ in going up to cruiserweight, it works with Canelo’s impressionable/gullible boxing fans.

But if you look at the move closely by Canelo, it reaks of a fighter that is ducking dangerous fights. Canelo is a great fighter, but he’s also someone that lacks confidence.

He didn’t fight Gennadiy Golovkin until he turned 36 after being called out for four years. Golovkin was 32 when he first started calling out Canelo. Then, of course, there was the transformation in Canelo’s physique in which he suddenly became very, very vascular, looking like a bodybuilder.

Canelo would later test positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol, which was blamed on eating tainted beef in Mexico.

On top of all that, Canelo never showed any interest in fighting for the WBC super middleweight title until after Benavidez lost the belt on the scales in 2020. If Canelo were a confident fighter, he would have fought Benavidez while he still held the WBC title instead of going after the belt after he lost it on the scales.

“I think he can fight Benavidez, and he doesn’t have to go up to 190 lbs to fight Makabu or whatever his name is. But I can tell you is there’s a guy named [Artur] Beterbiev and a guy named [Dmitry] Bivol,” said Bradley of Canelo. “Beterbiev holds the IBF & WBC titles at 175.

“Canelo, you got a belt at 175 already; you got it from [Sergey] Kovalev. Why don’t you go to 175 instead of 190? You see easy pickings by going up to cruiserweight. Go to 175, and why don’t you unify that division? Do you want a challenge?

“Don’t challenge at 190. Go to 175 because that’s a feasible weight for you. There are some killers there [Beterbiev, Bivol, and Joe Smith Jr.]. If you defeat those guys, I promise you that you’ll get the credit.

“You will get beyond the credit that you got for this undisputed championship [at 168], but you’ll get it there because those guys are punchers, those guys are bigger than you,” said Bradley.

There’s no question that Canelo would receive huge credit if he cleaned out the 175-lb division by fighting the murderer’s row of champions. But it doesn’t appear that Canelo has the confidence needed to make that move, which is why he’s aiming for the lowest hanging fruit on the tree against little-known Makabu at 190.

Canelo can achieve greatness at 175

“If you have the skillset to defuse those guys and get rid of those guys and become undisputed there [175], now that’s history, history, history right there because nobody has done that, said Bradley.

“[Becoming undisputed at] 168 and then going to 175 and then clean it out like that at light heavyweight? Come on, man. I’m just saying if you do that, that’s greatness,” said Bradley about him wanting Canelo to become undisputed at light heavyweight.

“Canelo to me, he’s already somewhat great, he is. He’s accomplished a lot in the sport, but we want to see him in a competitive fight, that’s it. So, forget 190. 175, go there, Canelo. That’s where you need to be,” said Bradley.

Saul Alvarez and his trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso have betrayed themselves as lacking in the self-belief needed to take on Benavidez or the killers at 175 like Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr., and Dmitry Bivol.

If Canelo believed that he had it in him to best those fighters, he wouldn’t be moving up to 190 to pick off the weakest champion at cruiserweight in Makabu.

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