LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez didn’t dismiss Terence Crawford as a potential opponent early Sunday morning.
Boxing’s biggest star didn’t exactly say he is willing to fight the undefeated, undisputed welterweight champion next, either. Alvarez addressed a much-discussed showdown with Crawford as soon as his post-fight press conference began after his easy 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Jermell Charlo on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“You know, I always say if the fight make sense, why not?,” Alvarez said. “But he is not in the plan.”
The 33-year-old Alvarez’s win against Charlo came in his first fight of a three-bout agreement with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Unbeaten WBC interim super middleweight champion David Benavidez is the most appealing PBC-affiliated 168-pound opponent Alvarez could fight next.
Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) must first defeat two-division champion Demetrius Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event that is expected to take place November 25 at a venue to be determined in San Antonio. Alvarez acknowledged that he intends to return to the ring May 4.
Whereas Phoenix’s Benavidez is a significantly taller, 26-year-old natural super middleweight, the 5-foot-8 Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) would have to move up three weight classes, 21 pounds altogether, to challenge Mexico’s Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs), who is the same height as Crawford. The reaction among boxing fans to a potential Alvarez-Crawford fight has been mostly positive, but Crawford stands four inches shorter than Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) and he would need to jump up even higher in weight than the IBF/WBA/WBC 154-pound champion to face Alvarez.
The dominant nature of Crawford’s ninth-round stoppage of Errol Spence Jr. in his last fight has nevertheless created interest in the Omaha, Nebraska native fighting Alvarez, who began his career as a junior welterweight 18 years ago. Their weight difference notwithstanding, Alvarez-Crawford would pit two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing against each other.
“You know, like I say, if it makes sense, maybe,” Alvarez said. “I don’t know right now. I just wanna enjoy this fight and please, let me enjoy this fight. And then you’re gonna know what is next for sure.”
The 36-year-old Crawford is contractually obligated to an immediate rematch with Spence (28-1, 22 KOs). It is not clear when, or perhaps even if, a second bout between Crawford and Spence will happen because Crawford has publicly stated that he wants the weight limit for their rematch to be 147 pounds.
That could be a deal-breaker for Spence, who admitted after his lopsided loss to Crawford that he doesn’t want to put his body through the physical strain of getting down to the welterweight limit again. Crawford stated during their post-fight press conference July 29 that he had no problem fighting the 33-year-old Spence a second time at the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds, but the three-division champion has since changed his stance.
Crawford can dictate the contracted weight limit for their rematch because he won their fight for the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight titles.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.