Canelo Alvarez Vacates WBO Light Heavyweight Title
By: Sean Crose
After winning the WBO light heavyweight title in impressive fashion last month by stopping the skillful Sergey Kovalev late in the fight, Canelo Alvarez has decided to vacate that title in order to move on to greener pastures. Although people instantly started thinking about how the Mexican star would fair against other current light heavyweight champions (Artur Beiterbev, Dmitry Bivol) immediately after his victory after the veteran Kovalev, those matchups will remain in the imagination rather than transpire in the ring. Having relinquished the title on Tuesday, Canelo is now on record having held the WBO championship for just over six weeks.
“I know,” Canelo claimed, “that my accomplishments in the ring have brought pride to my fans and my country.” Although he abdicated one of the organization’s belts, Canelo showed typical respect and courtesy when referring to the WBO. “I have long enjoyed my relationship with the WBO and appreciate all they do to preserve and enhance the sport of boxing,” he said. “This agreement allows the WBO to have its light heavyweight title contested regularly and allows me to pursue bouts against the best opponents, regardless of weight class.” Worth noting is the fact that Canelo won the WBOs super welterweight title by besting Liam Smith in 2017.
Canelo’s promoter, Golden Boy honcho Oscar De La Hoya, came across as fine with his fighter’s decision. “We completely support ,” he said, “the decision made by Canelo Alvarez and the WBO.” De La Hoya then engaged in the promotion business by building up his fighter’s November achievement. “Canelo made history by stopping Sergey Kovalev in impressive fashion to become a four-division world champion.” De La Hoya went on to point out his fighter’s ability to successfully navigate his way through differing weight divisions: “Not only did he show that he is a real threat at 175 pounds, but he also demonstrated that he is fully capable of moving across several divisions to look for the most exciting fights for the fans.”
WBO head Francisco Valcarcel also voiced support for Canelo. “Canelo has already accomplished much in boxing, and is still a young man,”Valcarcel claimed. “When his career is done, he will be regarded as one of the greatest boxers to ever step into the ring, and one of Mexico’s best fighters ever. We look forward to his future fights against rivals at the top of the middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and other divisions.”
Questions will now undoubtedly turn towards who Canelo may indeed fight next. He clearly has no great interest in facing Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight powerhouse who most feel bested Canelo in at least one of their two fights (Canelo was given a controversial draw in the first battle, and a controversial win in the second). No one knows for sure, however, whether or not Canelo will return to middleweight at this point – perhaps to face another high level opponent in that division. Canelo might also choose to return to super middleweight, where he won a belt in late 2018, in order to face a high end opponent in that particular weight realm.