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Canelo must run gauntlet for #1 p4p: Bivol, Beterbiev & Benavidez

Image: Canelo must run gauntlet for #1 p4p: Bivol, Beterbiev & Benavidez

By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez will have run to run the gauntlet for him to retake his #1 pound-for-pound by defeating these three killers:

  • Dmitry Bivol
  • David Benavidez
  • Artur Beterbiev

Fighting the ham & egger John Ryder does nothing for Canelo because he’s not an elite-level fighter to help him move up the pound-for-pound rankings. That fight is just a foxhole for Canelo to hide in.

Canelo has had his time as the #1 pound-for-pound guy in the sport, and he’s been kicked off that hill by Terence Crawford. Unfortunately for Canelo, he’s not going to take his #1 spot back unless he does something dramatic by beating the Big Three.

“It’s going to be tough, and the odds are against him, and I’m going to say, ‘no,'” said Sergio Mora to DAZN’s JABS about whether Canelo Alvarez will ever be #1 pound-for-pound again.

“If Canelo wants to get back to #1, you know what he has to do. Bivol, Beterbiev and Benavidez. If he can knock one of those guys off, yes. He can take the #1 spot, but right now, beating the John Ryders of the world, that’s not going to do it. There are too many people waiting behind you to claim that spot.

“He’s been a pro since he was 15 years old and has had 62 fights. That wear & tear on his body. You see him all the time. His knees, his elbows, his hand injury. That starts to pile up at the age he is now.

“I remember I started having a lot of injuries catching up to me in my early 30s. Your body is not the same,” Mora continued about Canelo. “Is he still going to be elite? Yes. Is he still going to be a pay-per-view star? Absolutely.

“But pound-for-pound #1, that belongs to if Crawford and Spence ever fight, if Inoue and Fulton fight, and Usyk and Fury. It belongs to those types of fights. The mega-fights” said Mora.

“I think he will get back to #1 because I still think the elite fighter is in there,” said Mannix about his belief that Canelo can retake the #1 pound-for-pound spot. “Bivol is always going to be a challenging opponent.

“He’s bigger, he’s stronger, and he’s every bit as skilled as Canelo, and he doesn’t make the mistakes that some of Canelo Alvarez’s other opponents make, and he’s able to exploit.

“But if he beats John Ryder, and over the next couple of years beats guys like David Benavidez, like Edgar Berlanga, like Jermall Charlo, guys that are going to be available to fight and guys that he’s shown a willingness and eagerness to get in there and fight, he’s going to pop right back up to that #1 spot.

“The problem with the pound-for-pound rankings is right now, Terence Crawford is at the top, but Crawford is not fighting anyone of substance. If Naoya Inoue defeats Stephen Fulton this spring, I would make Naoya Inoue the #1 pound-for-pound guy on my list because of someone that he beat.

“Similarly, if Canelo goes through the next two years and gets wins over Ryder, Bivol, Berlanga, and Benavidez, he will solidly entrench himself in that #1 spot. I still think he has it in him.

“His hand injury played a big role in the fact that he went the distance in a very average type of fight against Gennadiy Golovkin. He got that taken care of.

“He’s getting back in the ring with a credible but not especially dangerous opponent in John Ryder. If he can get some of his rhythm back, he’ll go into the fall still the same fighter he’s been for years. So, I think, yes, over the next year or two, Canelo Alvarez will once again be #1 pound-for-pound,” said Mannix.

“You basically repeated what I said that he needs to do and what the other guys aren’t doing,” said Mora about Canelo. “The other fighters like Inoue, Fulton, Fury, Usyk, and Crawford. There’s so much talent there.

“Once you’re on top, it’s easier to get back. You know how to get back there. The Benavidez fight that’s going to be a 50-50 type of fight to me. I don’t see him beating Bivol. I don’t see him beating Beterbiev. I just see him having a hard time with a lot of these fighters.

“Charlo, I think that’s explosive, and Canelo would be the favorite. I would love to see that fight, but there’s too much competition. I think Canelo will get back to being the #1 star. He’s still going to be the main attraction,” said Mora.

“He’s already the #1 star,” said Mannix about Canelo.

“Yeah, but we’re talking about pound-for-pound #1,” Mora said.

“Benavidez is a dangerous opponent for Canelo, but when I watched him, he’s a lot of offense and not great defense, and that can largely be attributed to the fact that he hasn’t fought a lot of guys with the punching power that Canelo has at 168.

“You mentioned how he fights. Kind of, hands down, he’s aggressive. You can’t do that against Canelo. If you come in there and are overly aggressive against Canelo, he’s going to find a way to make you pay for it.

“So, I don’t think Benavidez will fight the way he’s fought over the last couple of years if he gets the opportunity to step in with Canelo. I think what it comes down to is that you believe that time, and number of injuries, will have an effect on Canelo over the next couple of years.

“I don’t think he’s quite there yet. I still think there’s still a year, a year and a half of us seeing a peak Canelo, and I think getting that hand injury taken care of when he did, getting the opportunity to fight a guy like John Ryder, who will be slick, difficult to hit, challenging, very worthy but not going to put Canelo in a lot of danger.

“I think it’s going to set him up for a big second half of the year, and an even bigger 2024,” said Mannix about Canelo.

“Whenever you’re talking about a fighter like Canelo, who is going on 19 years as a professional, and all those injuries, all those training camps, and all those sparring sessions, they all add up no matter how great you are, whether you’re Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson or Sugar Ray Leonard. They all had their inevitable decline,” said Mora.

“It’s just time, and Canelo is already hitting that. We’ve already seen a regression in talent. We’ve already seen him slow down. We’ve already seen him vulnerable,” said Mora.

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