Andrew Bondarev ‘22
After his impressive performance against a game opponent and champion in Callum Smith, Canelo Alvarez is set to face Avni Yildrim on March 27th in a rather underwhelming upcoming match as a mandatory challenger. After his win over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019, his victory of the WBA light heavyweight belt may have prompted some to call for a fight against Artur Beterbiev or Dmitry Bivol. However, Canelo unfortunately did not have a fight scheduled since the Kovalev bout, leaving many wondering if he would ever return to the light heavyweight division after vacating the belt there. Is all hope lost for those wanting to see him fight against a unified champion in Artur Beterbiev, or an undefeated and younger champion in Dmitry Bivol? The answer is ambivalent, and much of the fans’ desires are lost in the pursuit of boxing glory and higher revenues.
Alvarez, at the age of 30, still has much of his career ahead of him, and after his 2013 loss against Floyd Mayweather, his defense and head movement has improved drastically. This was immediately visible in his first fight against Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, building the notion that Canelo was transitioning into a more defensive fighter. On the contrary, he displayed a remarkable ability to stand his ground against Golovkin in the rematch, adding onto this with a masterful performance in defense against Daniel Jacobs in May 2019.
After all of these moments in which he proved his doubters wrong, there are still calls for him to prove himself further in a light heavyweight division that he wandered into. When Alvarez chose Sergey Kovalev as his next opponent in mid-2019, some criticisms that arose would be how he chose the oldest and weakest champion at 175 lbs at the time. When he brutally knocked him out in the 11th round, there was no doubt as to Canelo’s power and threat as a counter and power puncher in the division.
Before following through with his flaws and weaknesses as a fighter, Canelo’s work ethic cannot be overlooked, his drive and motivation as a fighter to continue improving in his boxing skills and physique is admirable. One can hope to see him in more classics to come, as a fight with Gennady Golovkin for the third time seems like a viable option. If negotiations can be met between the two parties, DAZN/Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy, then a third fight would absolutely be one that will be remembered.