Fresh off the back of his 56th professional win, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has further solidified himself as pound-for-pound the best fighter on the planet. At just 30 years of age and having sustained very little damage in his boxing career, the world really is Canelo’s oyster. So the questions on all boxing fans lips is, what’s next?
In what was a tricky contest last Saturday in front of 73’000 fans at the AT&T Stadium in Texas, Canelo gradually broke Billy Joe Saunders down to a point where Mark Tibbs couldn’t send his man out for the ninth round. Up until then, the fight was very competitive, that is for sure. The Brit was causing Mexico’s hero some serious problems, but just didn’t have enough to keep it going.
That was of course, due to the sheer brilliance of Canelo, who began to eat away at Saunders as the fight progressed, before landing a shattering right uppercut in the 8th round, which looks to have caused severe damage to the eye of the Brit. That was the beginning of the end for Saunders, who quite clearly had no vision out of his right eye, and therefore could no longer continue meaning Alvarez got the stoppage victory.
Now the dust has settled from the weekend, with Canelo adding the WBO super-middleweight title to his collection, he now just required the IBF title to complete the undisputed set at 168-pounds. With that in mind, here are some potential avenues which Canelo may choose to go down in the near future.
Fight Caleb Plant To Become Undisputed Champion At Super-Middleweight
Perhaps the most clear and obvious option for Canelo is to fight Caleb Plant. The reason being, Plant has the one belt that Canelo desperately wants his hands on, to become the first Mexican fighter in history to be the undisputed super-middleweight champion.
This fight makes total sense, and it is blindingly obvious to boxing fans that this is the desired route for Canelo next. Having said that, ‘Sweethands’ will most certainly have other ideas, with the aim of dethroning Canelo and beating the Mexican superstar, and himself being crowned as the undisputed champion at 168-pounds.
Caleb Plant holds the final key to Canelo becoming undisputed champion at 168-pounds (Photo: Pinterest)
The only potential stumbling block in the way of this fight happening, is that Plant fights under the promotion of Al Hayman, which could potentially throw a spanner in the works and make negotiating this fight quite difficult for Eddie Hearn and Team Canelo.
Having said that, the fight is for all of the marbles, and Plant seems to want it just as much as Alvarez. A career high payday against the pound-for-pound king is undoubtedly on the table for the American, as well as the added incentive of holding every belt there is to offer in the super-middleweight division.
This fight is definitely the most likely for Canelo next, so do not be surprised if this fight takes place before the end of the year.
Trilogy With Gennady Golovkin?
As previously mentioned, it is extremely likely that the Plant fight happens next for Canelo, and rightly so. But one fight that will always keep getting brought up is the trilogy bout with former middleweight foe, Gennady Golovkin.
Canelo and GGG gave boxing fans two of the best middleweight contests seen in a very long time, with the first fight being declared a draw, and Canelo getting the nod in the rematch. Both contests were extremely competitive, with both men justifiably believing they won.
The general consensus amongst boxing fans was that Golovkin did more than enough to win the first fight, but it was deemed a split decision draw. This was the fight where the infamous Adalaide Byrd scorecard was produced, awarding Canelo the fight by a score of 118-110. An utterly ridiculous card which will do gown in history as one of the worst we’ve ever seen.
However, that doesn’t detract from how good the two fights were, which is why there will always be a narrative to sell for a trilogy fight. Although now boxing in two different weight classes, the fight is too big not to happen again. Whether it be at a catch weight, Canelo moves down or Golovkin moves up, the vast majority of boxing fans would pay to see this fight for a third time, that is for sure.
Canelo and GGG have served up two cracking fights already, who's for the third? (Photo: Daily Express)
Golovkin has shown signs in his past few fights that he doesn’t have long left in the sport, or whether it has anything to do with his age or if he could be finding it difficult to make the 160-pound middleweight limit. Canelo would go into the fight as the betting favourite, but it is certainly one which boxing fans would get excited for if it were to be made for the third time.
Move Back Down To Middleweight?
Perhaps another option, all be it quite unlikely for Canelo, is to move back down to middleweight. Having already conquered the division before, and seemingly growing into a fully-fledged super-middleweight, a move back down to 160-pounds would surprise the vast majority of the boxing community.
However, there are some major players in the middleweight division who would most definitely bite your hand off for the Canelo fight. Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade and Jaime Munguia are all elite middleweights at this moment in time, and if the 30-year-old was to step back down to middleweight in the future, fighting either of these three men isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. The fight with Munguia could perhaps be made into the biggest of the lot, given that it would be a clash of two Mexicans.
Closer to home, another man who most certainly believes he has the beating of the Mexican king, is Chris Eubank Jr. Eubank has thrown his hat into the mix on several occasions for the potential clash with Canelo, but to no avail as of yet. Alvarez vs Eubank Jr is a mouth-watering proposition, and could be the perfect fight for Canelo to come over and make his debut on British soil.
Although unlikely due to the growth of his frame and having not fought there since 2018, Canelo campaigning back down at middleweight is yet another option for boxing’s golden goose in the future.
Move Up To Light-Heavyweight?
Yet another potential avenue for Canelo to explore, is moving up to light-heavyweight. Having already stepped up to 175-pounds for a one-off fight with Sergey Kovalev back in 2019, this potential move for Alvarez is most definitely possible in the not so distant future.
Canelo's only previous outing at 175-pounds ended in a dramatic knockout of Sergey Kovalev (Photo: Talksport)
Canelo beat Kovalev with a devastating knockout in the 11th round of their light-heavyweight contest back in November 2019, claiming the WBO world title in the process. At the time, it seems to the majority of boxing fans that this was just a one-off, with the Mexican seeing the Russian as damaged goods, and that perhaps he was there for the taking for Canelo to claim a world title in a fifth weight division.
This wasn’t necessarily the case, with ‘Krusher’ putting up a strong fight, ahead in a lot of peoples mind, before Canelo eventually broke him down and stopped him in the penultimate round. It was job done for Canelo, who then proceeded to move down to super-middleweight in his quest for supremacy at 168-pounds, which he is now just one fight away from achieving.
However, looking forward, this is certainly a viable option for Canelo. The only question looming over this career move, is if it is a step too far in terms of size/weight for the Mexican hero. Although only a seven pound gain, the sheer size of the elite light-heavyweights, compared to Canelo who is seen as a small super-middleweight, is huge.
Again, the champions at 175-pounds would welcome Canelo to their division with open arms, firmly believing Alvarez has bitten off more than he can chew. Potential fights with the WBO champion, Joe Smith Jr, the WBA champion, Dmitry Bivol, and the WBC and IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev, all whet the appetite of boxing purists, who would most certainly love to find out if Canelo can reign supreme again, at yet another weight class. Only time will tell.
Canelo has a plethora of options and countless potential avenues he could go down in the future, all just as appetising as each other to boxing fans. One thing is for sure, no matter what route Canelo takes in the next couple of years, we are in for one hell of a ride following the pound-for-pound king.