King Canelo; What’s Next?

Canelo Álvarez is the undisputed super-middleweight champion of the world. What’s next for him?

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Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez recently became the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world—a feat that he is the first to accomplish. In a fight that took place on November 6 in Las Vegas, Canelo dominated from start to finish, knocking out Caleb Plant in the 11th round. Canelo improved to a 57-1-2 boxing record, one that rivals even that of the legendary Floyd Mayweather (50-0-0).

Interestingly, Canelo and Mayweather have fought before, in a bout back in 2013. Though Canelo lost by a majority decision, many, including Canelo himself, felt that Mayweather took advantage of a young Canelo. When asked what he thought about both of them fighting in their prime, Canelo said, “I am a more mature fighter. It would be a totally different fight. I have more experience. I learned a lot.” Unfortunately, that assertion is almost all up to speculation. Mayweather is far from his prime right now and seems to be fighting purely for money.

Alternatively, an interesting fight would be Kamaru Usman vs. Canelo. Usman fought the same night as Canelo at UFC 268 in an epic rematch against Colby Covington. Their first fight ended in a knockout for Usman, breaking Covington’s jaw. The second resulted in a unanimous decision victory for Usman. “I am, the pound for pound, best in the world right now,” Usman confidently asserted following the second fight. Curiously, Canelo and Usman are the same weight. Canelo would likely assert that he is the best in the world right now, pound for pound.

However, a fight between Usman and Canelo would have many parallels to Conor McGregor and Mayweather’s bout in 2017. The hype for that fight was incredible. McGregor’s showmanship and Mayweather’s boxing prowess came together to produce one of the highest selling pay-per-view fights of all time. In terms of the fight itself, it was business as usual for Mayweather. McGregor was never truly able to trouble him and was eventually TKO’d in the 10th round. Unfortunately for Usman, I think his fate in a fight against Canelo would be similar. The two would likely face off in a boxing match, as opposed to MMA. The question of contract issues also comes into play. The UFC has all of its fighters under contract, meaning they have to duke out all the fights remaining in their contract before they can fight elsewhere. In an interview after Usman’s most recent fight, UFC president Dana White said, “[Usman] don’t want to fight Canelo. Come on man, let’s stop this talk.”

It is no secret that McGregor’s career has been in decline since fighting Mayweather and returning to the UFC. He’s already faced two crushing defeats to Dustin Poirier this year and a humiliating submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018. White likely doesn’t want his top fighter and top selling point in Usman to follow the same route. Fans of combat sports across the globe want to see this fight, and it is frustrating that White is able to hold his fighters hostage.

Canelo vs. Usman would be a massive fight, undoubtedly rivaling numbers of McGregor vs. Mayweather. Though I have full confidence in Canelo to secure the win, anything can happen, and Usman is one of the toughestpure fighters in the world. If Usman can absorb elbows and knees and not get knocked out, how will Canelo phase him with just fists? Canelo’s head movement and dodging are the best in the world––how will Usman even touch his opponent? Events like these, with so many unknowns, capture the audience’s interest. One thing is for sure though. If this event happens, both fighters will see a huge payday.