By: Hans Themistode
Canelo Alvarez has always prided himself on challenges. Even so, once he was notified of his possible future opponent, the Mexican native was a bit shellshocked.
Following his 11th round stoppage victory over Caleb Plant on November 6th, Alvarez sat back and thoroughly enjoyed making history. With the win, the pound-for-pound star became the first undisputed super middleweight champion of all time. While Alvarez continued to enjoy his moment in the sun, Eddy Reynoso, head trainer and manager of Alvarez, was quietly plotting his next move.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the former Trainer of the Year, pleaded with Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC sanctioning body, to allow Alvarez to move up in weight to take on WBC titlist Ilunga Makabu. Though both Sulaiman and Alvarez, for that matter, were first initially taken aback, Sulaiman has allowed the pound-for-pound star to face him, something Alvarez has openly viewed as a difficult but achievable challenge.
Upon hearing the news of Alvarez’s foray into the cruiserweight division, Oleksandr Usyk, former undisputed cruiserweight champion and current unified heavyweight champion, has revealed that he would be more than willing to come back down in weight to face him.
“I can fight him at cruiserweight,” said Usyk to BoxingInsider.com. “The only thing is that I keep my belts at heavyweight. I go to cruiserweight, fight him, then go back to heavyweight. I want to stay at heavyweight.”
Despite Usyk’s willingness to move back down to a division he once ruled over, many have viewed the likelihood of a showdown between them taking place as unrealistic. Eddie Hearn, on the other hand, believes the Mexican star would absolutely face Usyk. Provided, of course, a suitable weight could be agreed upon.
“I think Canelo would fight Usyk,” said Hearn during an interview with IFL TV. “I think obviously, it would have to be at an agreeable weight. I can’t see Oleksandr Usyk coming back down to cruiserweight.”
Regardless of what Hearn believes is a realistic matchup, both men have other plans at the moment. In the case of Usyk, following his upset victory over Anthony Joshua to win his IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight titles – the pair are currently locked deep in negotiations for an immediate rematch.
As for Alvarez, after aggregating every world title at 168 pounds, as previously mentioned, the Mexican star is eyeing a run in the cruiserweight division. Nonetheless, if it was up to Hearn, the long-time promoter would much rather see Alvarez attempt to become a two-weight undisputed champion.
“I personally think that Canelo should look to become undisputed at 175. I think he can do it. To be undisputed in two different weight classes would be incredible.”
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