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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: MAPPING CANELO'S FUTURE

By Paul Magno | February 14, 2022
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: MAPPING CANELO'S FUTURE

Last week, there was an article posted at Boxingscene.com, proposing a course of action for 4-belt super middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, different than the one currently in play for his immediate future.

In this reality, Alvarez reportedly has two proposals on the table. The first is a one-fight deal with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) that would see him face WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (although this could be in serious doubt after recent developments-- more on that later). The second is a two-fight deal with Eddie Hearn and DAZN to face WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol and then Gennadiy Golovkin for a part 3 in their rivalry. Depending on which breaking news from “sources” tickles ESPN Mike Coppinger’s cherry blossoms on any particular week, both are likely scenarios. 

However, in the alternate reality of DAZN commentator Chris Mannix, Alvarez would “split the baby” and work with both PBC and Hearn/DAZN. The Mexican superstar would cut and paste offers made to him, facing Charlo first and then Golovkin. Keith Idec, who wrote the Boxingscene piece and appeared on the podcast where this earth-rattling stroke of reality-bending genius was first revealed to the dimmest of us, marveled at the brilliance shat before him. Idec’s article (“Why Can't Canelo Fight Jermall Charlo Next And, If He Wins, Then Golovkin A Third Time?”) enthusiastically makes the case for this alternate reality, declaring that “Mannix might be on to something.”

Well, no fucking shit.

Inspired by this child-making-big-plans-in-his-Fantastic Four-notebook philosophizin’, I plan on submitting a piece to Scientific American-- “Why can't someone make Big Macs as nutritious as broccoli?” Then, maybe, a follow-up-- “Why can’t someone invent a teleportation machine so we don’t have to use airplanes to travel?” 

But let’s stop poking at the boxing experts, okay? Boxing life would, indeed, be much easier if boxing business was that easy. In this real world, however, Canelo may have all the leverage and, in theory, call all the shots, but the money is coming from businesses with business interests. The suits aren’t going to fork over tens of millions of dollars without wanting some sort of guarantee that their investment isn’t just a one-and-done (or never-gonna-happen) deal.

DAZN, especially, needs Canelo to be present for longer than one fight and they need the subscribers he brings immediately, not seven months down the line after holding their breath and crossing their fingers that he doesn’t get beat/hurt/popped for a banned substance/abducted by aliens before they can make some money off his star power. 

So, how are the stars lining up for Saul Alvarez’s future in non-fairy-tale land? Here’s a brief look:

– Jermall Charlo was arrested Friday in Texas on a felony charge of assault, stemming from an attack on a male “family/household member.” The whole story of what happened has yet to be fully fleshed out as of this column’s writing, but it’s pretty bad news for a guy on the possible precipice of a life-changing opportunity/payday. It also totally changes the “what’s next for Canelo” landscape.

If the 31-year-old Charlo gets taken out of the Canelo sweepstakes, Eddie Hearn/DAZN will be left holding the only lottery ticket for the drawing. 

On Saturday, Charlo’s attorney told TMZ that all of this is nothing but a shakedown effort and that his client will absolutely be cleared of all wrongdoing. We shall see.

– The Daniel Jacobs- John Ryder WBA super middleweight eliminator over the weekend was a bit disheartening from the get-go. No matter who won, a pairing with WBA titleholder, Alvarez, promised to be a buzzkill. Jacobs lost to Alvarez in 2019 in an uninspired effort that made for a fairly dull encounter. A Ryder victory, meanwhile, would offer up yet another UK fighter to be pummeled by Alvarez. Honestly, it’s to time for the Mexican star to move on to some more US-seasoned opposition.

As things turned out, Ryder pulled off the minor upset and will be moving on to the WBA mandatory challenger slot, becoming a Plan B opponent if Alvarez’s bigger, better opponent options don’t pan out.  

– The WBC recently ordered a bout for their interim super middleweight title between David Benavidez and David Lemieux. This is pretty much a consolation prize for their no. 1 contender Benavidez and, ultimately, an acknowledgment that they have no intention of forcing their champ Saul Alvarez to face Benavidez anytime soon.

– Demetrius Andrade has apparently ditched his WBO middleweight belt for a run at the WBO’s super middleweight title and an eventual shot at Canelo, who holds the WBO strap. An eliminator with the UK’s Zach Parker is planned, but there’s no guarantee that Andrade, who pissed Alvarez off by barging into his post-fight press conference not too long ago, will get anything more than the runaround and an interim 168 lb. belt of his own, like Benavidez. Getting past Parker, who’s only competed at the regional UK level, will not get him past Canelo’s “You fight with nobody, man” dismissal.

– A move back up to 175 brings some interesting matchups for Alvarez. Dmitry Bivol holds the WBA light heavyweight title and is already an “offer is on the table” possible opponent. The rumored unification between WBC/IBF 175 lb. champ Artur Beterbiev and WBO titlist Joe Smith Jr. offers up another light heavy option for a light heavy-minded Canelo. Beterbiev, especially, would be an extreme challenge for a Canelo eager to prove himself balls-heavy.

– IBF middleweight champ Gennadiy Golovkin has been shoved into the Canelo opponent talk, but the Kazakh has given zero recent indication that he’s even interested in moving up to 168 to fight Alvarez. He could just as easily be content with collecting the three remaining fat paychecks of his DAZN 6-fight deal, fighting chum to critical acclaim until retirement. Golovkin’s “unification” bout with Japan’s Ryota Murata may actually happen some day, but the world will be just fine without that one-sided shellacking. A third fight with Alvarez would make for big business, but Golovkin hasn’t exactly shown himself to be burning with competitive hunger in recent years and Alvarez seems fine with living up to his vow to not put another dollar in Triple G’s pocket.

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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