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What’s next for Canelo Alvarez?

The Mexican ripped through Rocky on Saturday night, claiming a world title at a third weight class.

Canelo Alvarez v Rocky Fielding Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has been a contributor at Bad Left Hook since 2018.

Saturday night went as planned. A game, brave, but overmatched Rocky Fielding sold his WBA “world” super middleweight to the highest bidder: that bidder being Golden Boy and the face of boxing, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

In the first fight as part of his new lucrative DAZN deal, the Mexican superstar made light work of the British challenge, with a belt at 168 pounds now draped over his shoulder; his next move, however, is a curious one.

Staying at 168 pounds would be a strange option for Canelo. The division isn’t brimming with the money and opportunity that middleweight is at this current moment, with an expectancy for Alvarez to jump back down following this smash and grab. A catchweight defence, maybe, but it’s more likely he will enter the dangerous 160-pound waters in his next outing on May 4.

Daniel Jacobs

Jacobs caught the eye after winning the vacant IBF middleweight strap against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October. The ‘Miracle Man’ is looking to unify against Canelo with three of the four recognised 160-pound trinkets up for grabs, however, Oscar de la Hoya has stated that this challenge is unlikely to be next. Oscar doesn’t hold all the chips in this conversation, with the fight still being on the table for May 4.

This fight should be easy enough to make. Jacobs has the backing of Eddie Hearn and Matchroom USA, with the British promoter seemingly forcing Jacobs in the ring after Canelo’s win on Saturday to manufacture photo opportunities. Many thought Jacobs beat Golovkin when they fought in 2017; Jacobs would be a huge statement on the Mexican’s growing résumé if he were to get the win.

Speaking at the fight on Saturday, it’s clear that Jacobs is chasing down this potential super fight: “I’m not sure if they want to do the trilogy with Golovkin. It’s time for the fans to see something different, I guess a new champion. Canelo has all the belts, that’s my goal, I just want the guy with the belt and I want to be considered number one. He’s a pound-for-pound star and it’d be an honour to share the ring with him.”

Gennady Golovkin III

We know T-Mobile Arena is booked for May 4 next year; we saw the post on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s website stating that Tom Loeffler and Oscar had booked out the venue. It makes sense to do it all over again, right?

Not so, if you are to believe what Golden Boy are saying: “There is nothing set in stone and we haven’t even talked to Tom Loeffler’s people. There is no Golovkin fight whatsoever next year. We haven’t even discussed it and I haven’t thought about it.” This is what Oscar told CBS Sports, however, Canelo was coy in his post-fight press conference stating that “If the people want it, we can make it.”

Whether Golovkin would be happy taking the third fight in Vegas after their two fights were marred with poor judging displays, is yet to be seen. There is still life in this rivalry, however, other options are likely to take precedence.

Demetrius Andrade

Fighting unbeaten ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade gives Canelo a chance to pick up the WBO strap with another fighter tied to Matchroom USA. The Mexican’s DAZN deal makes this fight easily made, with the 30-year-old’s unbeaten record another dangling fruit ready to be plucked.

The WBO titlist was unspectacular in picking up the vacant strap against last-minute replacement Walter Kautondokwa. Andrade was due to face former champion Billy Joe Saunders prior to the Briton failing a drugs test in controversial circumstances.

Hearn and Frank Warren have repeatedly stated their eagerness to get this fight back on, however, with Andrade now champion it wouldn’t be surprising to see BJS phased out gradually with Andrade chasing bigger paydays; Canelo would be a huge step up from his lacklustre record.

Billy Joe Saunders

Speaking of Billy Joe, there was a time when the Briton was only interested in fighting GGG or Canelo. This was when he had a bargaining chip — namely his WBO middleweight title. After being stripped, the unbeaten southpaw will struggle to entice the bigger names into the ring due to his awkward style — his faultless win over David Lemieux last December did more harm for his career than good with the UD highlighting his underrated strengths.

Saunders returns for the first time in 12 months next week against Zoltan Sera in a tune-up before rolling the dice in 2019.

David Lemieux

Lemieux has been the plan for Canelo for some time, however, after his struggles in cutting weight over the weekend, it looks unlikely that the Canadian will contest 160 pounds well anytime soon.

If Golden Boy still want to make this fight it’s likely to come in the form of a WBA “regular” super middleweight title defence. Lemieux will look to the 168-pound division in 2019, with the enforcement of the new weight gain rules surely confirming this.

Callum Smith

If Canelo is looking to make a statement at 168 pounds, then why not hunt down the top dog in the division? After claiming the WBA “super” title off of George Groves in winning the World Boxing Super Series, the rangey Liverpudlian would be a massive test for Canelo with size proving a huge factor.

Smith showed how far he has matured in the division as he dissected an impressive Groves; if Canelo had any inclinations to fight in the UK then a stadium fight with Smith would be a huge draw.

This is unlikely. Canelo is unlikely to fight outside of the States or fight outside of the 160 division in the near future, with his tip-toe into a third weight class nothing more than that.

With May 4 booked, we can expect an announcement early in 2019 as Canelo looks to move fast. Julio Cesar Chávez Jr, Amir Khan and James Kirkland have provided Canelo with limited tests over the past three Cinco de Mayo weekends. Maybe we are being optimistic that this time around it will be the super fight we crave.

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