By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez said last Saturday night that he’s leaving it up to his trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso on who he’ll fight next. When interviewed on FOX PPV, Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) appeared to be passing the buck to Reynoso to take the heat for the selection of his next opponent, which is expected to be Ilunga Makabu, an obscure fighter known by many fans as being the weakest link among the cruiserweight champions.
During the interview, the 31-year-old Canelo made it obvious who his next opponent would be when he said he wanted to “Make history.”
During the interview, Canelo may not have realized it, but he let the fans know who he’ll be fighting next, and NO, it won’t be against the best unless you view the weakest link at cruiserweight, Makabu as the best. It’ll be against the worst.
Ilunga Makabu = Canelo’s obvious next opponent
Given that the only that Canelo can make history is by moving up to cruiserweight or heavyweight to try and capture a world title in one of those weight classes, it’s clear who his next opponent will be.
Canelo is NOT going to make history in his next fight if he were to move up to 175 to challenge world champions Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, or Joe Smith Jr. because he’s already captured a world title in that division when he picked off the washed 36-year-old Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
As such, if Canelo were to move up to 175 to take on Beterbiev, Bivol, or Smith, he wouldn’t be making history. He’d just be trying to capture another belt.
As usual, Canelo repeated the same tired line that we’ve heard from him in the past, saying, “I just want to fight the best.”
Yeah, if that’s the case, why has Canelo burned through the last four years fighting less than the best by facing paper champions one after another at 168 and the weakest link at 175 in Sergey Kovalev.
In perhaps the most unambiguous indication that Canelo is NOT interested in fighting the best, he defended his WBA/WBC super middleweight titles last year against his former sparring partner Avni Yildirim. This fighter hadn’t fought in 2 years and was coming off a loss to a shot Anthony Dirrell in 2019.
Only the World Boxing Council knows why they made Yildirim the mandatory for Canelo rather than the unbeaten former two-time WBC 168-lb champion David Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs), who was ranked #1 with the sanctioning body at the time.
In Yildirim’s next fight after his loss to Canelo, he was beaten by British domestic-level fighter Jack Cullen in a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision last July.
Canelo says he wants to “make history”
“I don’t care; I don’t care, really. Whatever Eddy [Reynoso] wants, I’m ready, I’m ready for everything,” said Canelo Alvarez to FOX Sports last Saturday night when briefly interviewed during the Luis Ortiz vs. Charles Martin PPV event in Hollywood, Florida.
By Canelo shifting the burden to Reynoso to taking responsibility for choosing his opponents, it’s transparently clear that he’s ensuring that he doesn’t take heat from boxing fans for the choice of his opponents.
If fans aren’t happy with the ham & eggers that Canelo is padding his record with, he doesn’t have to face their wrath because it’s Reynoso who is hand-picking the guys he faces.
“I don’t really think about it,” said Canelo when asked if there’s a name out there that he’s considering for his next fight in May.
“And I just want to fight the best, and that’s it and make history. I don’t care who is there. I’m ready for anyone,” said Canelo in sounding like he was on the hot seat when asked who he plans on fighting next.
Sean Jones believes Canelo has retired from fighting the best since his loss to Gennady Golovkin in 2018, and he’s just fighting paper champions and scrubs for easy coin now.
That second fight against Golovkin seems to have taken away all the ambition that Canelo once had because he’s not fought anyone dangerous since then.
In a way, Canelo’s career is comparable to that of Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he was winding down. When Mayweather was at the end, he stopped fighting quality guys and focused on fighting these guys:
- Robert Guerrero
- Marcos Maidana
- Andre Berto
I’m not sure if Canelo is on the level about Reynoso being the one that is choosing his opponents for him nowadays. Assuming that’s true, it tells me that Reynoso has concerns about Canelo’s ability to beat the best.
Why else would Reynoso match Canelo against the lesser guys that he’s been matching him against if he really believed in him? Hopefully, for Ryan Garcia, Andy Ruiz Jr., and Frank Sanchez’s sake, they’re not letting Reynoso pick out their opposition.
If Reynoso is matching those guys against only soft touches the way he’s doing with Canelo, it’s going to take them a long time for their careers to take off.
Ruiz already wasted a fight recently by sitting out of the ring for a year and a half and then facing Chris Arreola rather than a top heavyweight.
If Canelo were truly interested in fighting the best, he wouldn’t have wasted his time padding his record against Billy Joe Saunders, Avni Yildirim, and Caleb Plant in 2021. Those are not the best, not even close.
To fight the best, Canelo needs to step up the level of opposition he’s been fighting. These are Canelo’s opponents he’s fought since his controversial decision win over Gennady Golovkin in 2018:
- Rocky Fielding
- Daniel Jacobs
- Sergey Kovalev
- Avni Yildirim
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Caleb Plant
- Callum Smith
I hate to break the bad news to Canelo’s boxing fans, but those guys that he’s been facing are not elite-level fighters. They’re B & C-level fighters, and all of them would be beaten by David Benavidez, Gennady Golovkin, and David Morrell Jr.
I don’t know what happened to Canelo but he hasn’t been the same since his second fight with GGG in 2018. That fight, which should have been a loss, took something out of him in terms of the Mexican star’s ambition and willingness to face the best.