Canelo Alvarez is apparently dying to face the current kingpin of the light heavyweight division, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn.
“Artur Beterbiev is a fight that Canelo ‘sickly’ wants,” Eddie Hearn said on The DAZN Boxing Show, referring to the feared IBF and WBC 175-pound champion. “He’s sort of talked about that fight. He knows how hard Artur Beterbiev punches.”
It might help that Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) has already won a world title at light heavyweight, thanks to his destructive 11th round knockout of longtime 175-pound fixture Sergey Kovalev in 2019. However, he quickly vacated that title in order to drop back down to 168 pounds to focus on unifying that division.
Having collected three of the major titles so far at 168, Alvarez may be close to setting his sights on conquering new challenges. One option would be to make a more permanent move to 175, where a matchup with Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs), a menacing figure who has knocked out every single one of his opponents, would clearly represent one of Alvarez’s biggest obstacles on the horizon.
For Hearn, Alvarez is prepared to set his crosshairs on anyone with a title, no matter how dangerous they are.
“[Canelo’s] choice is to defend his championships at 168, but I think he just prefers to take on champions,” said Hearn. “That’s the feeling that I’m getting. If you look at the résumé, take [Avni] Yldirim out, because he was a mandatory. He has fought Danny Jacobs, who was a world middleweight champion, Sergey Kovalev, who was the light heavyweight champion, Callum Smith, who was the number one ranked super middleweight champion, and Billy Joe Saunders, who is the WBO super middleweight champion. Unbelievable.”
“Four of his last five fights have been against world champions,” continued Hearn. “I think he likes to do that. So when he looks at his options, moving up to fight a champion would appeal to him more than just making a defense. When you look at those options, you have Joe Smith, you have Dmitry Bivol, you have Artur Beterbiev.
“Canelo is a competitor. You tell him that’s not the fight to take, he wants to take it. Let’s not forget this guy has boxed three times in seven, eight months, which for a pound for pound number one in a pandemic is incredible.”
One thing that Hearn ruled out unconditionally is a move that would see Alvarez move down from 168.
“He’s not going back to 160. Ever,” said Hearn.
The move to light heavyweight may happen sooner than people think. At the moment, Hearn is trying to negotiate a deal for Alvarez to face Caleb Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), the IBF super middleweight titleholder, in what would be a full unification fight at that weight class. If that fails to materialize, Hearn noted that going back to 175 will have to be a serious consideration.
“My instructions from Canelo, Alvarez, and [trainer and manager] Eddy Reynoso were, ‘You know, what we want, we want Caleb Plant, but if that's not possible for September, show me the champions we can face,’ said Hearn. “Clearly, a move up to 175, for now, is also on the agenda if that undisputed fight can't get made.”