Who Should Canelo Alvarez Fight Next? Billy Joe Saunders, Caleb Plant, Yildirim?5 min read

Canelo Alvarez

After P4P King Canelo Alvarez’s dominant performance over the #1 Super-Middleweight, WBA (Super) and Ring Magazine Champion, 29-0 Callum Smith; Who Should the Mexican Superstar fight Next? He Picked up the WBA and Vacant WBC Titles and has explained his wish to stay at a 168-Pounds and become undisputed there before moving up or down in weight.

Both other champions at SMW are undefeated and tough challenges for Canelo Alvarez. As he is now a free agent it is likely a fight with IBF Champion Caleb Plant could materialize on FOX PPV. A fight with the WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders would be easier to make as Saunders is signed with Matchroom Boxing and Team Canelo has expressed their good working relationship with Eddie Hearn.

If Canelo were not to unify next, there would still be a plethora of options including his WBC Mandatory Avni Yildirim who he could fight in Mexico in February and all going well could still box on Cinco De Mayo weekend. Two-Weight World Champion Jermall Charlo has also expressed a much-desired fight with Canelo Alvarez. DAZN would most like a trilogy with GGG but as Canelo is a free agent it is no longer an obligation.

Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders: WBA, WBC, WBO Unification

Canelo Alvarez Vs Billy Joe Saunders 1
Canelo Alvarez Vs Billy Joe Saunders

Billy Joe Saunders signed with Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn in August 2019 in the hope of landing big, career-defining fights. He made his debut for the company and US debut against 28-0 unknown Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres against who he scraped a late knockout win against after a close 10 rounds which most had Saunders behind in.

Despite this, the signing paid off as in February 2020 Canelo Alvarez started looking for his 2020 May opponent and the shortlist was just two contenders: Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders. Saunders ended up getting the fight in March 2020 and was due to be announced till the pandemic cancelled it. Saunders was offered a September 12 contest but declined it due to insufficient preparation time.

Now, Saunders could get another opportunity at the fight in either May or September of 2021. After his shutout points win over Martin Murray, Saunders has claimed that he only wants the big fights next and will only look towards Canelo, Demetrius Andrade, Gennady Golovkin etc for his next fight. A fight with Saunders would take place on DAZN and would be the fight Hearn would target next.

However, the fight may be reliant on the revenue from a bigger live gate as only 12,000 fans were allowed in Texas and not for the same ticket prices in Las Vegas. Saunders is adamant on the amount of money he wants to fight Canelo and will not back down from that amount.

Canelo Alvarez vs Caleb Plant: WBA, WBC, IBF Unification

Canelo Alvarez Vs Caleb Plant
Canelo Alvarez Vs Caleb Plant

After Canelo Split with DAZN in November of 2020, Al Haymon of the PBC (Boxing Management Company) quickly offered Canelo a 3-fight deal to box exclusively on Fox/Showtime PPV that included a fight with IBF Champion Caleb Plant and suggested a catchweight 166-pound bout with Jermall Charlo. The 3-fight deal was for $75,000,000 or $25M a fight (10m less than the DAZN Contract).

Team Canelo did not accept the deal due to it being a long-term exclusive contract, however, they made it clear they were still interested in fighting Plant and he emerged as a strong favourite to fight Canelo in December. With only 4 weeks, Plant; like Saunders ruled himself out due to short notice. He now faces Caleb Truax on January 30 on FOX.

If he gets through Truax he remains a strong contender for the Cinco De Mayo Weekend 2022 fight. Canelo has said he is happy to box on other platforms and will likely box on a PBConFox PPV where the fight could take place. IBF Champion Plant is a strong, fast boxer-puncher who doesn’t have that single shot power of Smith or the slick skills of Saunders but has the all-round game to give Canelo problems.

Caleb Plant, unlike Saunders, is a big 168-pounder and comfortably fits in the frame. He lands fast accurate combinations throughout the fight, jabs well to control the distance and can defend himself well on the ropes using the Philly-shell defence and head movement.

Canelo Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim: WBC Super Middleweight Mandatory

Canelo Eyeing Wbc Mandatory Vs. Avni Yildirim In February, Wbc Prez Confirms - Boxing News
Canelo Alvarez Ex Sparring Partner Avni Yildirim

Before a super-fight in May, it is likely that Canelo will have to box a WBC Mandatory in the form of Avni Yildirim. Yildirim is far from a top contender and therefore should not be too much of a problem for Canelo Alvarez. Eddy Reynoso, Manager and Trainer to Canelo has expressed his wish for Canelo to box in Mexico for the first time in a decade and Yildirim is the perfect fight.

Team Canelo are discussing having Canelo face Yildirim in Mexico and still fulfilling his Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence day dates. Canelo wants to stay active and it is likely that without the pressure of a contract he will be able to box up to 4 times in 2021 if he does not suffer any injuries or cuts and has a relatively easy fight which would be Yildrim.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman says Canelo must box his mandatory next and Canelo is willing to do so but if a problem were to occur stopping him from defending his belts in February it is likely he would not face Yildirim in May and look for a more lucrative and fan-friendly matchup in Plant and Saunders. He is a superstar of the sport and there is no reason why Canelo wouldn’t be made two-division franchise champion if that were to occur and Benavidez Yildirim be ordered for the vacant WBC Strap.

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