By: Hans Themistode
Bernard Hopkins can hear the criticism coming from all angles. The former two-division world champion and current partner of Golden Boy Promotions may not be involved in the handling of Canelo Alvarez and his career anymore, but he still notices what’s going on around him.
The Mexican star is currently in the midst of training camp as he prepares to return to the ring against WBO super middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders in a unification bout on May 8th. Although a win for Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) would bring him one step closer to becoming the first undisputed super-middleweight champion of all-time, fans have pelted him with constant criticism surrounding who he’s facing.
In December of 2020, Alvarez handed Callum Smith a one-sided beating and subsequently relieved him of his WBA and Ring magazine super-middleweight titles while also picking up the vacant WBC belt as well. The pound-for-pound star quickly followed that up with a laughable title defense against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim. Alvarez wasted no time in casting him to the side with a third-round knockout win.
While he looked impressive, fans have grown tired of seeing Alvarez in predictable matchups. Hopkins though, simply raises his hands in the air and pleads for patience. The fights most of the world has been calling for are right around, just allow Alvarez to take care of business first.
“These fights are warranted and there meaningful,” said Hopkins during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “Not for his legacy but for his restart, his recharge, his mind, his physical, his spiritual. What moves Canelo is to be active as much as he can. He’s fortunate to get in two fights on the backend of COVID. Most fighters, if not all, had to sit for nine to ten months.
“I’ve read some people have said he’s fighting nobodies but this is preseason for him. See, when you do preseason, it isn’t looked upon as the season. So look at Canelo as being in preseason. He has about one more preseason fight and then he will go right into the regular fighting season and you will see the matches.”
A win over Saunders would push Alvarez into the ring against IBF 168 pound belt holder Caleb Plant. The undefeated Tennessee native is someone that Hopkins respects. Former WBC titlist David Benavidez is another fighter that Hopkins holds in high regard as well. But neither of those aforementioned fighters he believes will give Alvarez his biggest challenge. In the mind of Hopkins, only a certain pugnacious knockout artist from Houston Texas can push Alvarez to his limits.
“Jermall Charlo, that’s the one I’m interested in.”
Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs), currently holds the WBC title one weight class in the middleweight division. Still, he’s stated on numerous occasions that he would have no issue making the eight-pound trek to the weight class of Alvarez in order to make their contest a reality.