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Canelo Alvarez: Who next for the pound-for-pound No. 1?

Danny Flexen considers Canelo Alvarez the best fighter in the sport and suggests three options for his next fight

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Will Canelo return to middleweight next?
Will Canelo return to middleweight next?

I already considered Canelo Alvarez the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world before his impressive 11th-round stoppage of Sergey Kovalev to capture the WBO light-heavyweight title on Saturday. I base such assessments on accomplishment and quality of opposition, rather than pure ability or supposition. On that basis, no other boxer can rival the Alvarez resume. Status assured, Mexican superstar Canelo is now fighting predominantly for legacy.

 

Many consider him a three, rather than four-weight champ by virtue of his facile victory over Rocky Fielding yielding only the WBA’s Regular belt at 168lbs. There have even been suggestions, including from Alvarez himself, that he is capable of competing at cruiserweight.

 

Realistically, however, I would like to see Canelo fight one of these men next, presumbly next May.

 

Callum Smith
This would be another elite-level victory over a significantly larger man, unlike Kovalev though the consensus leader in his division and would bring inarguable status as a super-middle title-holder and four-weight king. Style-wise, it would pit two excellent technicians, one compact operator who fights in spurts and targets the body against a tall, rangy opponent who has great fundamentals and can hold his own inside.

 

Gennady Golovkin
Their trilogy fight is long overdue and, thanks to a hard-fought win against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the Kazakh now once again holds a world title at middleweight. Canelo has long indicated his reluctance to ’give’ GGG the third meeting due to the animosity between the two. There is also the consideration that Canelo may not wish to shred his body all the way back down to 160lbs in his next fight, but perhaps GGG would take the match at super-middle or a catchweight. The first two clashes failed to produce a decisive victor and will always represent an asterisk on Canelo’s accomplishments in some quarters.

 

Billy Joe Saunders
For as long as the two-weight world champion, who wants the fight, remains unbeaten, there will at least an element of doubt regarding who would triumph between him and Canelo. The traveller’s mobile, fast-fisted southpaw style appears problematic for Canelo who has laboured in the past against the likes of Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout. Whether he could ultimately close the gap and break Saunders down is a big question that plagues the thoughts of boxing afficianados.

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