Canelo Alvarez eyes May fight, Benavidez might have to wait

By Sean Jones - 12/09/2023 - Comments

Canelo Alvarez made it clear today that he won’t be fighting David Benavidez next when he returns to the ring in May for the second fight of his PBC deal. Alvarez will meet with PBC boss Al Haymon on Monday and talk about possible opponents for his next fight.

Haymon will likely want Canelo to maximize his final two fights with his three-fight contract to face the biggest names possible from this list.

David Benavidez
Terence Crawford
Jermall Charlo

It seems obvious who Canelo will face next. Crawford is unavailable for May, and that leaves Jermall to be the guy who gets the pick.

As for Benavidez, he still needs a couple of solid victories against David Morrell and Dmitry Bivol. His last two fights were limited opposition, which no one saw as having a chance of beating him, which is why the PPV numbers were so poor.

If Benavidez faces Morrell & Bivol, those are 50-50 fights that he could lose, but the will be interested in seeing them.

Canelo: “I’m the King”

Undisputed super middleweight champion Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) said he’ll explore that option if he thinks it’s a good idea to face WBC interim champ Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) in September.

Canelo makes it clear that he has the freedom to fight anyone, which means the sanctioning bodies can’t force him to fight Benavidez.

None of the sanctioning bodies have made any mention of wanting to force Canelo to fight one of their mandatories, and obviously, that would be a mistake on their part if they did. He’d vacate and be left with a less popular champion. Benavidez is popular, but nowhere near the level of Canelo.

On the other hand, Canelo said that it’s good sometimes to wait because the “fights are bigger.”

Canelo is right. The longer he holds off on the Benavidez fight, the better it’ll be for the both of them in the long run. As long as Benavidez is willing to wait, there’s a strong possibility of getting the fight with Canelo sooner or later.

Of course, if Alvarez loses to someone like Crawford or Jermall next year, that would probably ruin any chances of Benavidez getting the fight with him.

Crawford would be the riskier option for Canelo than Jermall, as he’s been active with his career and is coming off a win over Errol Spence.

Benavidez must wait

It’s important that Benavidez not get too hung up on waiting for the Canelo fight to happen, as he needs to move his career along without his obsession with fighting him.

Benavidez says he wants to fight Canelo so he can capture all four belts at 168, but few believe that’s what he’s after. He wants that payday and the belts are just trophies that come with it.

Most believe that if Canelo were to vacate his titles, Benavidez would continue his campaign. He likely doesn’t believe Canelo is the best or even the second-best fighter at 168. Benavidez needs Canelo for the money he can get and the additional revenue he can make for his future fights after he beats him.

It’s like how Floyd Mayweather Jr. became a big star after he beat a faded Oscar De La Hoya near the end of his career. Floyd not only got a nice payday for that fight, but his popularity went sky-high after winning, and his earnings increased. Benavidez wants to fight Canelo for the same reason.

After beating him, Benavidez will be viewed as a huge mega-star, and he’ll make money hand over fist against anyone he faces, just like Canelo.

Benavidez, 26, wants the fight in 2024, and he even suggested that Canelo should vacate his four titles if he won’t fight him next year. That didn’t go over well with Canelo, who said, “I can do whatever I want.”

“164 is not an option for me. Right now, that’s not in my plans,” said Canelo Alvarez to Fight Hub TV on whether he would be willing to fight at a catchweight of 164 for a fight with Terence Crawford.

“We’ll see. If it’s a big fight for the people and generates a lot of things, maybe we could see it happen. On Monday, I’m going to sit down with Al Haymon and see what comes next.”

Canelo’s options for his next fight are limited because Haymon will want him to face a popular guy: Crawford, Jermall, or Benavidez. This writer believes it’ll be Jermall that Canelo fights next because Crawford has a mandatory rematch against Errol Spence he must take care of in the first quarter of 2024.

Alvarez not ruling out Benavidez fight in September

“At this moment, I’m the King, and I can do whatever I want; if that’s a good fight for September, we’ll see. Sometimes, the fights are bigger if you wait a bit,” said Canelo.

“I definitely feel like the type of fighters they were. They were high-level fighters and quality fighters. I beat two of them in a year,” said Benavidez to Sporting News about his belief that he should be ‘Fighter of The Year for 2023’ for his wins over Demetrius Andrade and Caleb Plant.

Who is Benavidez trying to kid? The 35-year-old Andrade was old, and inactive, and he’d struggled in his only fight at 168 against Demond Nicholson, getting dropped by him in his previous bout.

Plant had already been knocked out by Canelo, and he was having a lot of problems in his last fight against 38-year-old Anthony Dirrell until he knocked him out in the ninth round last year in October.

“They said I wasn’t going to beat either of them, and I beat them in such impressive ways that I definitely think I should get ‘Fighter of the Year.’ The momentum I had after the Caleb Plant fight, I stayed in the gym and stayed working the whole time,” said Benavidez.

“I knew what I did to Demetrius Andrade; I already knew I could do it to him. I trained hard, I worked extremely hard, and I went out there, and I said I was going to do it, and nobody believed me. When I went out and did it, I shut everyone’s mouth. They had nothing else to say.”

There’s something off-putting about Benavidez campaigning like a politician for ‘Fighter of the Year.’ That’s like an actor putting pressure on the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Oscar award.

Benavidez pushes too hard to force things rather than letting it happen naturally. He doesn’t need to pressure Canelo and definitely doesn’t need to start campaigning for ‘Fighter of the Year.’ It seems weird the way he doesn’t keep quiet.

“I’m just happy that I do the things that I say I’m going to do, and keep looking shape and keep looking impressive. I don’t want to say that because then it comes back to me, ‘Benavidez said Canelo is ducking him.’

“If you just take a look at what’s happening. I was supposed to be the frontrunner for May. Mauricio Sulaiman and Sampson Lewkowicz said they’re going to start negotiating and all of that.

“Now, I’m hearing they’ve got three other options for May. Jaime Munguia, Terence Crawford, and Jermall Charlo,” said Benavidez about three names he’s hearing that are candidates for Canelo’s next fight in May.

WBC president Sulaiman can’t force Canelo to fight him, and he’s not crazy enough to try to force his hand because he knows what will happen. Benavidez will likely continue pushing and will get the same results he’s always had.

“So, that kind of puts me in a situation where I thought the WBC was going to make it mandatory for him to fight me in May, and nobody is saying nothing about that. People want to see this fight. It’s a very lucrative fight,” said Benavidez.

Money won’t change anything

“I’m not going to go in there talking about money because Canelo always makes money, but I think out of all the fights he has on the table, this one will be the most lucrative.”

Canelo has a net worth of over $200 million, so whatever money he’d get from fighting Benavidez, it won’t make a difference in his lifetime because he already has more than he can ever spend.

“So, it makes sense on every single part from the fans getting the respect and from the legends getting the respect. The money, it’s all there. So if he doesn’t want to do it, it’s for a reason,” said Benavidez about Canelo.

“We’re just going to have to sit back, be patient, and see what happens,” said Benavidez.

It would be a good idea for Benavidez to follow those words, try and be patient, and stop talking about Canelo because it makes him seem desperate and bossy.

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