Muhammad Ali stepped in the ring with Larry Holmes. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. accepted the challenge of Oscar De La Hoya. And De La Hoya passed his torch to both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

So does the tradition of boxing legacy demand for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, at 33, to meet the sport’s next lion, David Benavidez?

It’s the most pressing discussion point in boxing right now, and it’s the one that Paulie Malignaggi and Chris Algieri tackled during Friday’s episode of ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters.”

“It’s not that important for me to watch Canelo get beaten like a rag doll,” Malignaggi said. “I think he gets hammered.”

That’s quite a statement considering the granite-chinned Alvarez has never been knocked down in 64 fights, and only wobbled once.

But that also reflects the potential of Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs), the former super-middleweight champion who yearns to meet Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) sooner rather than later.

Rather than accept that match following Benavidez’s impressive stoppage of previously unbeaten former middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade late last year, Alvarez opted to meet former junior-middleweight champion Jaime Munguia of Tijuana on May 4 in his first first all-Mexico Cinco de Mayo weekend clash since 2017.

And Benavidez was left to take a light-heavyweight date June 15 against former champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

Alvarez responded at his Tuesday news conference that it’ll take $150 million to $200 million for him to fight Benavidez, 27, a declaration many view as a wink and a nod to Saudi Arabia’s Turki Alalshikh to provide the necessary capital.

“I don’t think [Canelo’s] going to fight [Benavidez],” Malignaggi said of Alvarez requesting the type of purse that hasn’t been since the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout of 2015. “That’s an outright duck.

“[Benavidez] runs him over like a train. He might as well do it for $150 million.”

Algieri said he doesn’t foresee such a beatdown, and argued Alvarez has an obligation to honor the tradition of other proud champions who’ve felt the effects of age and yielded their standing to the next deserving successor.

“Canelo has to do what great Mexican legends do – they fight the next guy,” Algieri said. “I want that. That’s important for the legacy.”

To which Malignaggi countered, “Why do we have to care more [about that] than Canelo?”

Algieri said the sport requires clear transition points, an anointing session that can only occur inside the ring.

“David Benavidez has that star quality to be the next face of boxing,” Algieri said. “That fight has to happen.”