By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez and WBC cruiserweight champion Badou Jack at “90% of terms agreed” in negotiations to fight for Jack’s title in Saudi Arabia.
According to boxing director Amer Abdullah of Skills Challenge, the sticking point is the weight. Canelo (59-2-2, 39 KOs) wants a MASSIVE, strength-draining catchweight, which would see the 39-year-old Jack potentially come down as low as 168 or 175.
If Badou agrees, he could look like a walking zombie at the weigh-in, which would work in Canelo’s favor.
The normal weight limit for the cruiserweight division is 200 lbs, so it would give Canelo a massive handicap if Jack had to come down as low as 168 or 175 to accommodate the Mexican star.
Why Canelo would want a massive 25 to 27-lb handicap for a catchweight is frankly troubling. One could understand for Canelo asked for a catchweight of 195 lbs for the 200-lb cruiserweight division, but to ask for the weight to be at 168, there are simply no words.
It’s unclear how long the negotiations have been taking place between Canelo and Badou, but that might explain why Dmitry Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov is saying that there have been “zero talks,” which means Eddie Hearn has been disingenuous all along by telling the media for months, including this week, that Canelo’s intention is to fight Bivol next.
“We’re talking to Canelo directly, and we manage and oversee Badou. There is the intention to have the fight,” said Amer Abdullah of Skills Challenge Promotion to Boxing King Media about a right between Canelo Alvarez and 39-year-old WBC cruiserweight champion Badou Jack. “We have 90% of the terms agreed to.
“I think out of the five or six terms there, we’ve agreed on the majority of them. But the one thing is, Canelo is a living legend; he’s an icon in the sport, he’s the face of boxing, and he wants to jump up to cruiserweight.
“I think the only thing that’s sticking now is what the weight is because the financial terms are agreed on the date is agreed on. Everything is there, but the weight is the sticking point. If you want to come up to cruiserweight, then you have to fight at cruiserweight, and that’s where the hesitation is.
“I get it. Canelo is a super middleweight, and Badou was a super middleweight. So you can’t ask a guy that walks around at 210, who fights at 200, to come in at super middleweight, light heavyweight, or slightly above that.
“We have to clarify with Mauricio [Sulaiman] what the rules are with the WBC are [in terms of how low the weight could go while still having the cruiserweight title at stake]. Maybe they say, ‘No, you have to fight at cruiserweight to fight for that title.’
“But if you are looking to fight for the cruiserweight title, you can’t have a guy 30 or 40 lbs to come down so that you can fight for a title in a different weight class.
“Look, Canelo’s team is very competent. They know what they’re doing, and we have the utmost admiration for them, and they’re definitely within their right to ask for whatever they want for their fighter’s benefit. We also have to look at our fighter’s benefits and what it means for boxing as a whole.
“So maybe the fight gets made if it doesn’t get made. I would, of course, want that fight to get made for everybody’s interest. There are remaining one or two items, and I think the weight is going to be an issue here.
“Everything is open,” said Abdullah when asked if Canelo could sign with Skills Challenge Promotion. “We’re working with a neighboring country, and we’re very interested in signing a multi-fight deal with Canelo. Could that happen?
“Of course, it could happen. It would just depend on whether we want it to happen. It’ll spend on what Prince Khalid wants to do, and then we’ll move forward and take a step. It’ll be soon.”