Andre Ward Questions Canelo’s Legacy: A Strike Against Avoiding Benavidez

By Sean Jones - 03/09/2024 - Comments

Former super middleweight world champion Andre Ward believes Canelo Alvarez’s decision not to fight David Benavidez is a strike against his legacy.

Ward feels that Canelo has hand-picked many of his opponents carefully during his career, facing the top names when they were older or not the same fighters they’d been during their prime years.

For example, Ward mentions former unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev as a fighter that Canelo fought at the tail end of his career, not when he was ‘The Krusher.’

Non-prime fighters Canelo fought:

Shane Mosley
Miguel Cotto
Alfredo Angulo
Gennadiy Golovkin
Erislandy Lara
Carlos Baldomir
Billy Joe Saunders
Lovemore Ndou
Kermit Cintron
John Ryder
Daniel Jacobs
Jermell Charlo

Not Just Names, But Timing

“Absolutely,” said Andre Ward to the Breakfast Club Power YouTube channel when asked if he would give a strike against Canelo Alvarez if he doesn’t fight David Benavidez before retiring.

Canelo’s legacy will be tarnished if he avoids Benavidez for the remainder of his career without testing himself against the undefeated fighter.

It’s already gotten to the point where Canelo is losing popularity because of his ducking, and if he doesn’t change that soon, his PPV fights will suffer.

“In terms of his resume, you can look at the opponents that he fought, and people say, ‘He fought this name and that name.’ Where did he fight that name when he fought them?” Ward continued about Canelo.

“He’s 32 and coming off two losses. He’s 35. When he fought Kovalev, Kovalev was cooked. He wasn’t ‘The Krusher,’ he wasn’t the undefeated guy. He had lost that. I’m not knocking the hustle, but you lose me when you start saying, ‘I’m the best fighter in the world.'”

Except for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Dmitry Bivol, Canelo has done a good job of selecting opponents he could always beat. Bivol is seen by many as a cherry-pick gone wrong for Canelo, as he’d recently looked poor in a fight before that against Craig Richards.

The Need for Risks

“You lose me when you don’t fight the best, but you say everybody else has got to fight the best,” said Ward. “Canelo is a really good fighter, but you don’t know how good you are until you fight the other best. You shouldn’t fight top guys every fight out. That’s not wise, and that’s not safe.”

There was a time in Canelo’s career when he took more risks, but he stopped doing that after his loss to Bivol. Since that defeat, he’s taken two gimmes: John Ryder and Jermell Charlo. Now, he’s fighting Jaime Munguia on May 4th, which is along the same lines as those fighters.

“You need tune-up fights. You need those kinds of fights, but when most of your fights are like that. Come on, man,” said Ward.

“That’s the risks you take,” said Ward when asked if people will discredit David Benavidez if he beats Canelo because they’ll say that he’s been in the sport a long time.

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