Canelo Alvarez’s search for a next opponent has added two new names, with his previous main target, Dmitry Bivol, possibly but not certainly out of the running.
Mike Coppinger reports at ESPN.com that both Jermall Charlo and Badou Jack have had talks with Canelo’s team about a fall bout, while Bivol is saying he’s turning his attention to an undisputed light heavyweight championship fight with Artur Beterbiev.
That doesn’t mean you should count Bivol out of this race, however, because there are clear problems with his hope and public stance.
- As Bivol is Russian and not claiming to “represent” another country, the way Beterbiev does because of his Canadian citizenship, Bivol is not currently eligible to fight for a WBC title.
- Beterbiev has a fight with Callum Smith for his WBC, IBF, and WBO titles on Aug. 19 in Quebec. The first bullet point is an issue no matter who wins that fight, and the second thing is that Bivol would be waiting quite a while, probably at the very earliest December, before he could fight the winner, and December is probably optimistic by three to five months.
The issue with Canelo vs Bivol 2 getting done is that Canelo wants the fight at 175 lbs for Bivol’s WBA title there, while Bivol (21-0, 11 KO) is only interested in moving down in weight to fight for Canelo’s undisputed championship at 168 lbs. This has been the sticking point for a while now, and there’s no compromise you can make here that will satisfy both parties.
Canelo wants the fight at the weight he lost to Bivol in 2022, while Bivol doesn’t see a great reason to face Canelo again under those same circumstances. It has to be said, because this is boxing, that this could all be posturing, and that there perhaps is a dollar amount that would get Bivol to take a light heavyweight rematch with Canelo, but that might also be a huge dollar amount.
Bivol last fought in Nov. 2022, routing Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in Abu Dhabi.
On the other options, you have Charlo (32-0, 22 KO), the WBC titlist at 160 who hasn’t fought in two years with myriad issues outside of the ring, but could be an intriguing and marketable opponent, and Jack (28-3-3, 17 KO), who beat Ilunga Junior Makabu to win the WBC cruiserweight title in February in Saudi Arabia.
Charlo, 33, carries far more name value in the States than the 39-year-old Jack does, but Canelo has had that WBC cruiserweight title in mind before, too. He was totally set to face Makabu in 2022, but Thabiso Mchunu wouldn’t step aside, and Makabu had to fight him instead, leading Canelo to the Bivol bout.
Jack, even more than Makabu, presents an intriguingly tasty matchup for Canelo to try his luck at cruiserweight, a division where the Mexican superstar sincerely has no long-term serious business. Jack is a natural super middleweight who is fighting heavy at the weight himself, definitely a naturally bigger man than Canelo but his size and age make him the type of opponent Alvarez would want for a cruiserweight title grab.
Think of the idea sort of like Roy Jones Jr when he moved up to heavyweight to fight John Ruiz. Roy wasn’t going to fight someone like Lennox Lewis, but Ruiz had a style and wasn’t so enormously big that Jones felt comfortable taking that shot.
Canelo vs Jack could possibly take place with a catchweight at 185 or 190, maybe something in between, and the working idea is an October fight in Saudi Arabia. Canelo vs Charlo doesn’t have as clear an idea, but given it’s mid-June, I think we might be counting out seeing Canelo on Sept. 16, which is Mexican Independence weekend, a traditional huge fight weekend you generally want to build around a Mexican star, and there is no bigger Mexican star than Alvarez.
If you had to pick between Charlo and Jack, which fight would you rather see for Canelo?
What would you pick for Canelo’s next fight with these two options?
This poll is closed