By Matt Lieberman: Canelo Alvarez says he’d like to fight David Benavidez and Jermall Charlo after he finishes his short-term goal of becoming the undisputed super middleweight champion in 2021.
Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) isn’t looking past his opponent Billy Joe Saunders for this Saturday, as he views him as a serious fight.
At the same time, Canelo has other goals that he’d like to accomplish by beating the undefeated Charlo and Benavidez. Those fights that the U.S boxing fans want to see.
Canelo predicting a late-round stoppage
“I have more experience now. I’ve got to have more patience with a fighter like Billy Joe Saunders because he moves a lot, and I can’t go in there and try and rip his head off,” said Canelo Alvarez to Fighthub when asked to compare how he deals with Saunders compared to Erislandy Lara in 2014.
“In the first round, I got to come out patient and find the points to begin hitting him and fight my fight. I have so much more experience now compared to six to seven years ago.
“We hope not,” said Canelo when asked if he thinks his fight with Saunders can be close like the Lara fight seven years ago. “I’m much more mature now with experience in my prime, and I hope not.
“Yes, I really see it like you said,” Canelo continued when asked if Saunders will gas out. “In the first rounds, a little complicated, but in the later rounds, I can probably win by knockout,” said Canelo.
Saunders will need to bring his A-game on Saturday to keep from getting stopped by Canelo. We haven’t see Saunders pushed hard for a while, so it’s going to be thrilling to see how he reacts.
The Saunders that beat David Lemieux in 2017 will be trouble for Canelo, but it’s unknown if he can still fight at that level.
Saunders will face after the 5th or 6th
“Yeah, but I don’t see him as older. He’s a fighter that is 31. I’m 30, almost 31. He’s in his prime, but we’ve seen that he gets tired after the fifth or sixth round.
“We hope so, but I’m going to prepare myself for the best of him. That’s all I can do.
“Yeah, I hope so. I really think that,” said Canelo about him taking advantage of Billy Joe’s fatigue when he tires after the fifth or sixth round.
“I’m still a free agent. I signed these fights with him [Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing], but I can do whatever I want, make my own decisions as my own promoter.
“But we like working with Eddie. He does things well and worries about the things he does and does them well. He focuses 100% on his work as a promoter,” said Canelo about Eddie Hearn.
Saunders has been having gas tank problems for many years now, dating all the way back to 2014 against Chris Eubank Jr.
It’s doubtful that at 31, Saunders will fix that problem for his fight against Canelo.
One thing you can say is, if Saunders fades after the fifth or sixth round on Saturday, Canelo will take advantage of it and possibly knock him out.
Charlo and Benavidez are future options for Canelo
“There’s a lot of stuff to do for sure,” said Canelo when asked what he does after he becomes the undisputed super middleweight champion. “There are always short-term goes, but there’s always more to do, but we will see after.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to [retire after unifying the 168-lb division],” Canelo said in reacting to a comment about the possibility of him retiring after he unifies the super middleweight division.
“But I’m not going to want to retire so young. But we will see what happens after.
“Yeah, those fights can happen,” said Canelo about fights against Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez, and Caleb Plant.
“Of course, we can make those fights. It can be complicated to make these fights also, but I’m open to making the best fights,” said Canelo.
That’s good that Canelo wants to fight Jermall Charlo and David Benavidez because those are two fighters that the boxing public in the U.S and worldwide want to see Canelo fight.
You can say that the average American would prefer to see Canelo fight Jermall and Benavidez than Saunders, who does nothing for the U.S fans.
This weekend’s fight between Canelo and Saunders is viewed as a mismatch, which is why it’ difficult to get excited about it.
Former two-time WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) has been calling Canelo out for a long time.
That’s the fight to make first for Canelo rather than Jermall, who hasn’t seemed as eager to fight him.
Alvarez, in favor of Jake Paul, fights
“I didn’t see that fight, but I saw highlights,” said Canelo in responding to a question on whether he saw the fight between YouTuber Jake Paul and Ben Askren.
“But look, there’s sunshine for everyone. That’s bringing a different audience to boxing, and that’s good for boxing. There’s sunshine for everyone. People who weren’t normally watching boxing are now watching boxing, and that’s good.
“I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you,” said Canelo about whether he thinks the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight was a fix. That’s hard to do that, but overall, it’s good, bringing in a new audience to boxing.
“We as boxers bring in a boxing audience. But maybe there are some that like to watch just me, but other people bringing in a new audience, I think that’s good.
“Expect to see the best Canelo. Like always, I’ll bring my best and continue to make history. Fans can see a great fight and support on May 8th,” said Canelo.
YouTubers Jake and Logan Paul are clearly positive for the sport of boxing because both guys bring in younger people to the sport, who would normally have no interest.
In the U.S, many younger fans gravitate to watching NFL and NBA sports and very few in comparison watch boxing. One of the problems is that the best boxing matches are often on pay-per-view, which effectively limits the sport’s growth.
While it’s good for the fighters short term, it hurts them long term because the younger people don’t see the fights because they’re not going to pay to see boxers before becoming fans.
YouTubers like Jake and Logan bring in a ton of new fans, and some of them obviously are going to become dedicated to the sport.