Boxing News - Latest Headlines

Will the contenders work for Canelo

Image: Will the contenders work for Canelo

By Gav Duthie: Steve Kim made an interesting observation on IFL TV about how Canelo Alvarez could please his fans and make all the fights that he needs to. Clone him. Obviously, the comment was tongue in cheek but every top fighter in the modern era has had this dilemma.

You can only fight one man at a time and most top fighters only fight once or twice a year. Canelo often gives us 3. Recently the Mexican chose a DAZN deal to fight Dimitry Bivol, followed by a trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin.

Many have criticized his decision not to take the 100 million PBC deal to fight Jermall Charlo and David Benavidez. Canelo made an interesting point when asked about the alternatives. He simply asked why do they not fight each other. This article will explore what the contenders could potentially do to stand out from the crowd as well as the implications of the DAZN deal that Canelo has opted for.

DAZN deal

  • Canelo v Bivol (May)
  • Canelo v Golovkin (September)

A lot of stars need to align for this deal to even come off in reality. There is still a lot of conjecture as to whether Russian boxers will be allowed to fight due to the war with Ukraine. This has raised questions over whether Artur Beterbiev will be allowed to face Joe Smith Jnr and Dimitry Bivol facing Canelo. As this writer understands Bivol is already in America where he trains in California. Furthermore to that Bivol was born in Kyrgystan to a Moldovan father and Korean mother. He moved to Russia aged 11. He did represent Russia in the amateurs though amassing a 268-15 amateur record. It’s not the athlete’s fault that Putin has waged a war on Ukraine, but examples need to be made, I understand. We will have to watch this space.

The fight itself and Golovkin v Murata

People also seem to be ignoring the fact that if the fight does come off that Bivol might actually beat Canelo. Bivol has huge height and reach advantages, a great and persistent jab, and is in his prime having now held the WBA light heavyweight title for 5 years. He mixes his attacks well and is always punching. He won’t play defense like Canelo’s last few opponents but he isn’t a slugger either. His attacks have great composure. If Bivol wins then the entire landscape changes.

Image: Will the contenders work for Canelo

If Canelo does win then onto Golovkin, or is it? What division would this be at? Golovkin has fought at 160lbs his entire career, and it is unlikely Canelo is going to go from a fight at 175lbs to another two divisions below. Canelo could easily lose as could Golovkin. GGG turns 40 the day before he faces Ryota Murata on April 9th. Since Canelo and GGG fought to a close controversial win for the Mexican, he has fought eight times, with Golovkin fighting only 3. Golovkin was the most active P4P fighter in the sport 5 years ago but took the whole of 2021 off. Golovkin not only needs to beat Murata but look good doing it for people to be interested in this fight.

Other contenders need to stand out

Potential Opponents

Jermall Charlo

David Benavidez

Demetrius Andrade

Illunga Makabu

Gilberto Ramirez

Jaime Manguia

Canelo was right to ask for some of the other contenders to fight each other to stand out after Canelo’s two fight deal. At the moment people seem to want Benavidez, but nobody has really stood out with notable wins. They all seem to be happy to tread water and just hope that Canelo picks them but this needs to stop.

Demetrius Andrade

He is signed to fight British boxer Zach Parker to become the WBO mandatory for Canelo at 168 on May 21. The WBO are probably the best for enforcing mandatory fights with champions, they usually accept no excuses. If Canelo doesn’t want the fight v Andrade (Or Parker of course) however he will just give up the belt, simple as that. Billy Joe Saunders got an easy fight for it against Shefat Isufi after ‘Zurdo’ Ramires relinquished. It would be good for Andrade’s legacy to be a 3 weight world champion but with fights like Parker, he will always be known as the boxer who never got a career-defining fight. There was talk of Benavidez v Andrade for a joint WBC/WBO mandatory but it never materialized.

Jermall Charlo

Don’t get to fight Canelo for all the belts at 168lbs. What do you do? Defend the one you have at 160 against Maciej Sulecki, of course. I don’t want to disrespect these opponents they are good. Sulecki has beaten the likes of Gabe Rosado, Hugo Centeno Jnr, and Jack Culcay but he isn’t elite. Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade both already soundly outpointed him. Charlo fought once last year and continuing like this will not get him big fights. His talks with Demetrius Andrade and Jaime Munguia have both fallen through recently.

David Benavidez

His family claim he has called out Caleb Plant but he is fighting David Lemieux next. Again Lemieux like Sulecki is a sound fighter with some great highlight reels knockouts but also not elite. Billy Joe Saunders made him look average, and he has boxed most of his best career at middleweight. It could be a fun watch, but Benavidez needs a Plant, Berlanga, Morrell, Andrade, or Charlo in the second half of the year to make the Canelo sweepstake his own.

Image: Will the contenders work for Canelo

Jaime Munguia

For a 25-year-old to be 39-0 is incredible. He is a very active fighter but doesn’t really have any career-defining wins. He made five defenses of his 154lb title in a year and a half, which is incredible, but he has now been a middleweight since 2019 and has not fought for a title. His partnership with De La Hoya and DAZN has made it difficult to get fights like Charlo over the line. He has been kept busy by them but without any big fights, much like Demetrius Andrade. Why they haven’t faced each other I don’t know. A WBO title defense between Andrade and Munguia would have been much more preferable than Andrade v Liam Williams, Luke Keeler, and Jason Quigley but nobody seems to want to take the big risks.

Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez

Incredibly he is on course to match Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 record with 7 wins to go. He isn’t really talked about much despite his talent. He doesn’t really have anything in the pipeline and wasn’t really factored into the Canelo DAZN deal as a potential alternative to Bivol or Golovkin. Part of his problem was leaving Top Rank, being inactive then trying his own ‘Zurdo’ Promotions before opting for Goldenboy. At 175lbs, the champions Beterbiev and Smith are with Top Rank, and Bivol is with Matchroom. It is possible that because of the DAZN partnership, he could link up with them to face Callum Smith. That is a big fight although there would be no title on the line. It is more likely that Zurdo will keep racking up wins in 75/25 contests and hope Canelo fights him later. The fact Canelo says he would rather not face Mexicans isn’t good for Manguia or Ramirez, though.

Ilunga Makabu

Interest in this fight seems to be completely gone, but there was so much talk on it; I felt I better mention him. His situation is different as the fight isn’t so much about him as a boxer but more of Canelo’s chance to become a 5 weight world champion. So all he really needs to do is keep winning. It would probably be useful for him to leave Don King and join Matchroom for ease in making the fight. As for opponents, he could fight Sergiy Kovalev if he gets through Tervel Pulev (younger brother of Kubrat by one year aged 39) or Yuniel Dorticos. A unification against Briedis or Okolie wouldn’t make much difference as Canelo doesn’t really mind which title he wins he probably likes the fact that Makabu is more beatable than the others so again to conclude just keep winning.


Canelo might fight again in December after this two-fight deal so the above fighters have 9 months to pimp up their resume/CV to get their names at the top of the tree. It could be one big win for Benavidez or an alternative that sets them apart from the crowd. Until someone does this Canelo can justifiably pick and choose unless there is an opponent that almost 💯 the public demand above everyone else. Otherwise, Canelo will just do what he wants.

Related Boxing News:
Subscribe (Free!)

Boxing News FB Boxing News Twitter Boxing News INstagram Boxing News 24 Youtuber Mail

Privacy Statement l TOS & Cookies Policy l Back To Top l Contact Us