Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is recognised as boxing’s No 1 champion, but who could become the greatest threat to the Mexican star? The Panel have given their verdict…
Canelo became the undisputed super-middleweight champion this year, extending his dominant era, and the four-weight king will now seek a fresh challenge in 2022.
But could the pound-for-pound great suffer a shock setback in a precarious move to cruiserweight, or a risky return to light-heavyweight?
It’s fabulous that Canelo is challenging himself in every way, shape or form. For me personally, Canelo is a case of let’s enjoy him while he’s here, because he’s a very, very special fighter.
Artur Beterbiev broke Marcus Browne’s resistance with a ruthless KO
Artur Beterbiev is a dangerous proposition at light-heavyweight. He overcame a horrendous cut to continue his knockout streak against Marcus Browne this month on Sky Sports.
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- Who is the greatest threat to Canelo?
Oleksandr Usyk back at cruiserweight could be the greatest threat to Canelo. Yes, Canelo can win a world title against Ilunga Makabu, but if Usyk gets back down in weight, then he has already proven himself as the undisputed king in that division.
I can’t see anyone beating Canelo from middleweight to light-heavyweight. Maybe Beterbiev could be a threat, because he’s a beast, and he’s proven himself as a good fighter.
Beterbiev ‘wants anyone’ – could that include Canelo?
If Canelo cannot control and deter a fighter with his speed and power, then he will receive a tougher test. It would have to be someone who is willing to take what Canelo’s got in order to land their own big punches.
Beterbiev could possibly hurt Canelo and absorb what he comes back with.
Canelo might take a step too far in the weight divisions and could be his own biggest threat. I think there are fighters who are too big and too powerful for Canelo. It’s difficult to ever bet against Canelo, but, yes, there are certain people out there who are still dangerous for him.
There’s also a question mark about his first fight against Gennadiy Golovkin, which ended in a draw. GGG is still potentially a threat if Canelo ever comes back to middleweight again.
Any of the top fighters at light-heavyweight could be a threat to Canelo and certainly at cruiserweight. You never know if Oleksandr Usyk could come back down to cruiserweight, but he’s got his eyes on the biggest division in the world, which is heavyweight. But I do think Usyk would beat Canelo. He’s too big and too good for him.
When Canelo stepped up to light-heavyweight, he picked his opponent wisely in Sergey Kovalev, who is nearing the closing stages of his career. But Artur Beterbiev stands a good chance of beating Canelo in a really good fight. I don’t think it will be one-sided, because Beterbiev is a strong light-heavyweight, he’s the No 1 in the division, and a genuine threat.
Size and weight are the greatest threat to Canelo. If he steps up to cruiserweight, they are big opponents up there. He could fight Ilunga Makabu next and people are suggesting it’s an easy opponent for Canelo, but he’s not. Makabu can punch. I know he’s not the biggest of guys, but he’s still pretty big, he hits hard, and he’s tough.
Watch Dmitry Bivol deliver a dramatic knockdown
But if Canelo goes to light-heavyweight, I believe he can beat Artur Beterbiev, I really do. Dmitry Bivol is somebody that might prove quite awkward for him. Bivol is a sharp shooter, he’s got good legs, which could be a challenge for Canelo. Those guys at light-heavyweight are a threat, but I still think Canelo can find a way to win.
Canelo could be his own biggest threat. He might be biting off more than he can chew by stepping up to cruiserweight. Me, as a former cruiserweight, I’m kind of insulted that this little man is coming up to our weight division. Any worthy cruiserweight will think, ‘No, that’s not happening!’.
That’s why the likes of Oleksandr Usyk are willing to step back down to cruiserweight to prove this. You’ll have a number of cruiserweights like Makabu, who are beatable. But then you have other cruiserweights that Canelo should never beat in a million years. Canelo’s biggest threat might be himself.
You need power to get Canelo’s respect, but I don’t think that will be enough. Canelo is so clever, he’s so good, and I can’t see anybody troubling him, especially not at super-middleweight.
David Benavidez has been named as a possible for Canelo
David Benavidez lingers between super-middleweight and light-heavyweight. He’s a very well schooled fighter, but he must be more disciplined. You’ll need plenty of discipline for the Canelo fight.
The top light-heavyweights like Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev would provide a genuine test for Canelo.
He’s talking about fighting Ilunga Makabu at cruiserweight and Canelo probably beats him all day long, but all of a sudden you’re in a different sort of fight. Usyk would be far too big for him, but I doubt Usyk would ever come back down to cruiserweight now.