WBC Approves Canelo Alvarez’s Request to Chase Title in Fifth Weight Class

Canelo Alvarez may soon be chasing a title in a fifth weight class.

The WBC has approved a request by the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer’s trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, to have Alvarez challenge Ilunga Junior Makabu for the cruiserweight championship.

Canelo AlvarezAlvarez, ESPN‘s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, became the undisputed champion at 168 pounds earlier this month with an 11th-round TKO of Caleb Plant.

A win over Makabu would make Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) a five-division champion.

Alvarez has never competed at cruiserweight, so Reynoso needed to petition the WBC to order the title fight. Now that the fight has been approved, negotiations can begin; and if no deal is struck, a purse bid will be ordered.

“I know … what he has done with the heavyweights he spars with, and that is why we asked for the fight,” Reynoso told ESPN Deportes’ Salvador Rodriguez. “We know that [Makabu] is strong, but Canelo can beat him. … Many may say that it is crazy, but they also said that it was crazy when Canelo was junior middleweight champion, and we were looking for middleweights, super middleweight, light heavyweights.

“I have a lot of confidence in Canelo. He is very strong and has many qualities, and I know that he is going to win that fight.”

Alvarez fought once at 175 pounds, a November 2019 TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev for a light heavyweight title. He unified titles at 154 pounds and 160 pounds before that.

The cruiserweight limit is 200 pounds, but the WBC recently introduced an 18th weight class — bridgerweight — with a limit of 224 pounds. In a corresponding move, the Mexico-based organization is reducing the cruiserweight limit to 190 pounds, the same weight when the division was introduced in 1979, before it was increased by 10 pounds in 2004.

Reynoso told Rodriguez there have been some offers to fight in Congo, Makabu’s birthplace.

“Let’s see if something can be arranged for that to happen,” he said. “It is one more challenge. Just as we took the challenges at 168 and 175 pounds, now we are going to cruiserweight.”

Makabu, ESPN’s No. 4 cruiserweight, has reeled off nine consecutive wins since he lost the title to Tony Bellew via third-round TKO in 2016.

He is promoted by Don King, who last month announced a deal for Makabu to fight Thabiso Mchunu. However, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman claimed Mchunu wasn’t ready to fight on Jan. 8, as planned.

Makabu, 34, said he was excited about the prospect of fighting Alvarez.

“I’m feeling very happy because I fight the best boxer in the planet,” Makabu, who resides in Johannesburg, told Rodriguez. “Canelo has been beating everyone … but now he’s fighting one tough man.

“I’ll fight anywhere. Even if they put on the fight in his own house with no public. I’ll fight.”

Vergil Ortiz, Jr. to Reportedly Train with Eddy Reynoso

Vergil Ortiz, Jr. is making a big change…

The 23-year-old Mexican professional boxer, one of the fastest rising stars in boxing, has a new trainer.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The undefeated welterweight, who has long been with former trainer of the year Robert Garcia, will be under the guidance of Eddy Reynoso as he prepares for his first bout of 2022.

Ortiz will train with Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez‘s San Diego gym, according to ESPN.

Ortiz denied Friday that the change to Reynoso is happening. Garcia, meanwhile, posted a YouTube video in which he confirmed that Ortiz told him last month that he was opting to leave Garcia’s camp.

Reynoso is best known for training Canelo, the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world. Along with Alvarez, Reynoso is the trainer of star lightweight Ryan Garcia, former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr., 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez, heavyweight Frank Sanchez and 112-pound champion Julio Cesar Martinez.

Coming off a Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year campaign, Reynoso now adds Ortiz.

Ortiz makes the change on the heels of the biggest year of his career. He stepped way up in competition with a seventh-round KO of former champion Maurice Hooker in March and then topped that performance with an eight-round TKO of Egidijus Kavaliauskas in August.

Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) is now eyeing a January return with Reynoso in his corner.

Canelo Alvarez Defeats Caleb Plant to Become Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez has a new title…

For the first time in his career, the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer can call himself an undisputed champion.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and the sport’s biggest attraction, promised to punish Caleb Plant, and on Saturday he did just that with an 11th-round TKO victory at a sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena to unify all four 168-pound titles.

A left hook followed by a brutal right uppercut sent both of Plant’s gloves to the canvas in the penultimate round. He never recovered. On unsteady legs, Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) attempted to escape danger, but Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) sensed the moment. He closed in with a barrage of shots that dropped Plant a second time as referee Russell Mora halted the bout at 1:05 of Round 11.

“It means so much to me, for the history of Mexico, to be an undisputed champion,” said Alvarez, who earned a guaranteed $40 million. “My respect to Caleb Plant. He’s a very difficult fighter with a lot of ability. I do respect the fighter.

“We’re men at the end. He wanted to continue. I said, ‘There’s no shame. We had a great fight today.'”

Plant, who earned a career-best $10 million, was transported to University Medical Center for observation, according to a PBC spokesperson. He was behind on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 96-94, 98-92 and 97-93. ESPN scored it 98-92.

Alvarez broke Plant down with relentless pressure and a dedicated body attack, a strategy he has used time and again on his way to the top of the sport. The entire left side of Plant’s body was red early in the fight as Alvarez continued to dish out blows to the midsection. Plant used a strong jab and deft footwork to keep Alvarez at bay and make him miss, but he rarely made Alvarez pay.

According to CompuBox data, Alvarez landed 102 power punches to 59 from Plant.

Plant, a 29-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee, is regarded for his defensive ability, not his power, and it showed. The punches never gained Alvarez’s respect, who swarmed, round after round, even as his elusive opponent glided around the ring.

The pressure mounted, and Alvarez didn’t stop coming. It was simply a matter of time. The elusive fourth belt would soon be his.

“He was making things a little difficult, but [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] told me, ‘Let’s keep with the game plan in the last two rounds here,'” Alvarez said. “And in the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt, and I went in for the kill.”

He also got what he has long searched for: undisputed status. Alvarez won two super middleweight titles with a December victory over Callum Smith and picked up a third when he shattered Billy Joe Saunders‘ orbital bone in May. After that victory, it was clear whom he wanted next: “I’m coming, my friend,” Alvarez warned Plant then.

And Alvarez never stopped coming once he lured Plant into the ring. The outcome was never in doubt, though Plant boxed well over the first few rounds. His use of feints, an educated jab and smooth footwork allowed him to stay off the ropes and, mostly, out of harm’s way. But Alvarez is known for being a methodical starter, and Plant has a reputation for slowing down late in fights.

The matchup was originally being eyed for September 18, but at the 11th hour, the deal fell apart. Alvarez then entered talks for a light heavyweight title challenge from Dmitry Bivol, but before a deal could be completed, Alvarez decided to delay his return until November so he could chase the fourth super middleweight title, which belonged to Plant.

When they finally faced off at a promotional event in September, chaos ensued. After Plant hurled insults at Alvarez, Alvarez responded with an open-handed left hand. Plant went after Alvarez too but emerged with a small cut under his right eye. Alvarez was left with deep personal disdain for Plant, who disrespected his beloved trainer, Reynoso, and called Alvarez a cheater.

The accusation was a reference to Alvarez’s positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol that postponed his May 2018 rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin and led to a six-month suspension. Alvarez blamed the adverse finding on tainted meat consumed in his native Guadalajara.

After Saturday’s fight, Alvarez, after four fights in 11 months, said he envisions a May return to allow his body time to properly recover. Canelo usually fights on Cinco De Mayo weekend.

Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 168 pounds, is the first champion in Al Haymon‘s PBC stable to earn a crack at Alvarez, but he might not be the last. The deal between Canelo and PBC is for one fight, but there’s reason to believe Alvarez will continue to face off against Haymon’s boxers. David Benavidez, ESPN’s No. 2 super middleweight, is aligned with PBC, as is Jermall Charlo, the middleweight champion who plans to jump to the 168-pound division in the near future.

A third meeting with Golovkin, though, is the biggest fight of all. They clashed twice for the middleweight championship after Alvarez unified titles at 154 pounds. He also won a title at 175 pounds, where he could seek a bout with Artur Beterbiev.

It’s less clear where Plant is headed after his first career loss. He won the title with an upset decision victory over Jose Uzcategui in January 2019 and defended it three times against light opposition. The fight with Alvarez was a quantum leap in competition. He fared well early, but in the end, Alvarez was too much.

It’s a familiar story since Alvarez lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and at this point, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the horizon who can dethrone him.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Defeats Javier Fortuna to Claim Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. is celebrating his good fortuna

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional boxer delivered the most impressive performance of his career on Friday in Los Angeles, scoring a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna to claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title.

Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr.

Scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112. ESPN also scored it 115-112.

In his lightweight debut, Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) showed he could absorb heavy shots from a dangerous puncher and carry his own power, too. He wobbled Fortuna toward the end of the 10th round of a fight that featured some brutal exchanges on the inside, often waged at a frenetic pace.

“I can fight all the top guys at 135 pounds,” said Diaz, who entered the bout as ESPN’s No. 5 boxer at 130 pounds. “I want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Let’s make this s— happen.

“I’ve been sparring 160 pounders. I’ve always worked with bigger guys my whole life.”

Despite fighting for his first world title at 126 pounds (a close decision defeat to Gary Russell Jr.) before capturing a championship at 130, 135 appears to be Diaz’s most natural weight class. He looked stronger than ever, and without the tough weight cut, showed off energy down the stretch to unleash four- and five-punch combinations against a crafty contender.

The 2012 Olympian was forced to deal with adversity yet again. He suffered a cut over his left eye in Round 3 following a clash of heads — a gash in the same area he bled from in his title-winning effort vs. Tevin Farmer in January 2020.

The following frame, Diaz was penalized one point by referee Raul Caiz Jr., for hitting behind the head, a point deduction that seemed borderline. Diaz argued that he was hitting Fortuna on the side of the head to no avail.

Fortuna, ESPN’s No. 8 fighter at 135 pounds, pressed the action in Rounds 5 and 6, beating Diaz to the punch with power shots. But the 31-year-old couldn’t sustain.

Fighting in front of a hometown crowd at Banc of California Stadium, Diaz ratcheted up the pressure and began to dig away at Fortuna’s body with a two-fisted attack that stunted the Dominican’s momentum.

Diaz simply landed the cleaner, flusher shots in the exchanges down the stretch, winning the favor of the judges in a bout that featured many tit-for-tat rounds. Fortuna threw 761 punches — 240 more than Diaz — yet landed 10 less shots.

With the convincing victory, Diaz set himself up for a career-high payday in one of boxing’s most star-driven divisions. Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia all reside at lightweight.

The easiest matchups to make are with Haney and Garcia, both of whom also compete on DAZN. Haney and Garcia also are available; they each have no fights scheduled. But it’s the Garcia fight in particular that is more appealing for many reasons.

Garcia was actually set to fight Fortuna (36-3-1, 25 KOs) on this night before he withdrew from the bout to seek treatment for his mental health. When he pulled out, Diaz quickly lobbied for the opportunity to step in, looking for redemption after losing his title at the scales in February before settling for a majority draw against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.

Now that Garcia is back in training with Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez’s gym in San Diego, a bout between Diaz and the social media sensation is a natural. They’re both Mexican Americans from Southern California who are promoted by Oscar De La Hoya. Stage the fight this fall in L.A., and they can practically guarantee a windfall at the box office.

“JoJo once again showed a lot of guts, a lot of courage and a big heart,” De La Hoya said. “His first fight at 135 was not too shabby. I think he did a great job against a guy who’s been avoided for years.”

Canelo Alvarez Makes Quick Work of Avni Yildirim to Defend WBA & WBC Super Middleweight Titles

Canelo Alvarez didn’t take long to defend his titles…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star and best pound-for-pound fighter, made quick work of his limited foe, Avni Yildirim, to defend his WBA and WBC titles at 168 pounds via third-round TKO at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

Needing to clear the hurdle of his mandatory challenger in order to begin an ambitious 2021 plan to unify all four super middleweight world titles, Alvarez looked every bit of the audaciously large betting favorite he was coming in.

Alvarez put on quite the performance amid fireworks and a live concert on his walk to the ring alone. After Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) hid behind his high guard for the first two rounds, he finally succumbed to a stiff right cross from Alvarez that dropped him in Round 3.

After trainer Joel Diaz warned his fighter between rounds that he needed to show something or the fight would be stopped, Yildirim stared with a blank expression on his face that caused his corner to stop the fight.

“It doesn’t matter if they are taller and have more reach or whether they have a good new trainer or no trainer, it doesn’t matter,” Alvarez said after the win. “I come here to do my job and win and I come to make history and I have the best trainer in the world [Eddy Reynoso] in my corner.”

Alvarez made a quick return to the ring just two months after dominating unbeaten champion Callum Smith to unify a pair of super middleweight titles. But he opened as an alarming 50-1 favorite over Yildirim, a native of Turkey who didn’t seem to deserve the mandatory shot considering he was fresh off a two-year layoff and a loss in his last fight.

“It’s great to be active. It’s wonderful to be here in Miami. I wanted to have a great fight here and I’m happy it’s a knockout. That’s what I wanted to do,” Alvarez said. “I will fight anyone. I fight the best and I always fight the best. I fight the best at 168 and here I am, making history. I had to fight Yildirim to get the opportunity to fight the best at 168 and I had to do it. I defended my titles and am ready for what’s next.”

What’s next was confirmed for May 8 by promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who has one fight remaining on a two-bout deal Alvarez signed to open the year. Hearn said Alvarez will challenge unbeaten WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders at a location to be announced.

In addition, Alvarez is hoping to fight twice more in 2021 after the Saunders bout and has shared his interest in closing the year by defeating Caleb Plant, the unbeaten IBF champion, to become boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion.

“[Saunders] is a very difficult fighter and he has the championship, the WBO. We want to unify,” Alvarez said before being asked about Saunders’ ability to trash talk his opponents. “People talk but I’m a mature fighter. I know how to control myself. All I have to do is get into the ring, win and make history. Words are just that.

“I [want to unify] because it hasn’t been done. At 168, no one has done that in the world. I want to make history.”

“I want to make my own history. I don’t want to be equal to anyone. I respect everyone in history but I want to make my own history so that when they one day talk about the sport of boxing, they talk about Canelo.”

Julio Cesar Martinez to Defend His WBC Flyweight World Title Against Francisco Rodriguez Jr.

Julio Cesar Martinez is going on the defensive yet again…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer and WBC flyweight world titleholder will defend his belt against Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on the Canelo AlvarezCallum Smith undercard on December 19 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Julio Cesar Martinez

Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs) won the title in a ninth-round TKO victory over Cristofer Rosales in December 2019. He defended the belt twice this year, a unanimous decision victory against Jay Harris in February and a second-round TKO of Moises Calleros in October.

Martinez, who lost his pro debut in 2015, has gone 17-0 with one no-contest since then. He’s trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Alvarez.

Rodriguez Jr. (33-4-1, 24 KOs) is a former strawweight world titlist. After losing back-to-back decisions against Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes in 2015, Rodriguez, 27, has won 14 straight bouts, 12 by stoppage.

Also on the undercard, super middleweight blue-chip prospect Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs) will face Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-4-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round battle.

Ryan Garcia’s WBC Title Bout Against Luke Campbell Moved to January 2021

Ryan Garcia will have to wait a month to get back in the ring…

A date has been finalized for the rescheduled vacant WBC title bout between the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Luke Campbell. The two will fight on Saturday, January 2, DAZN has announced.

Ryan Garcia

Garcia and Campbell were scheduled to fight on December 5 in Los Angeles, but the fight was postponed after Campbell tested positive for COVID-19 on November 10.

“My mindset going into this fight hasn’t changed, and my training hasn’t stopped,” Garcia said. “I’m excited we have a new date and can finally bring this to the fans. I’m here, and I’m ready to ring in the new year with a victory … let’s go!”

Campbell, who has resumed training back in England, doesn’t seem too concerned about the short delay. “New date, new year, same result,” said Campbell. “I’m fully back in training and have never felt better. What a way to start 2021. This is going to be with a clinical Luke Campbell win.”

Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) hasn’t fought since a first-round KO victory over Francisco Fonseca in February. Garcia trains with Eddy Reynoso, who also trains middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, junior lightweight contender Oscar Valdez and former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr.

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), 33, lost a unanimous decision challenging then lightweight unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in August 2019.

Devin Haney is theWBC lightweight titlist and Teofimo Lopez Jr. is the WBC “franchise” champion.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Ryan Garcia Knocks Out Francisco Fonseca in the First Round

Ryan Garciadidn’t need much time to score the win…

In an eye-opening performance, the 21-year-old Mexican boxer stopped Francisco Fonseca in the first round of their lightweight bout with a blazing counter left hook that left his opponent flat on the canvas on Friday.

Ryan Garcia

Referee Raul Caiz Sr. counted out Fonseca at 1 minute, 20 seconds.

It was a dazzling display of reflexes, timing and power, as Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) caught Fonseca (25-3-2, 19 KOs) with a flush shot he never saw coming.

“It was good,” Garcia said of the knockout punch. “[The fight] didn’t last that long, but I watched a video of Sugar Ray Robinson, and he did this little feint and threw the perfect left hook. I saw it and went for the left hook. Thought I was going to go longer, not going to lie. I respect Fonseca and thank him for the opportunity.”

For Garcia, who was ESPN‘s 2017 prospect of the year, it was another step in his development as a fighter and a box-office attraction. Friday night’s card played to an announced crowd of 10,310.

Garcia has shown steady improvement under the direction of trainer Eddy Reynoso, best known for developing light heavyweight titleholder Canelo Alvare zinto one of the best boxers in the world.

The victory could set up a possible fight with former three-division world titlist Jorge Linaresin a classic crossroads matchup pitting a young rising star versus a seasoned, proud former champion.

“I’m 21, I’m a late bloomer,” Garcia said. “I’m ready for everyone, and I’m comfortable. I’m ready to go after everyone. I’m turned up. Let’s go.”

Oscar Valdez Defeats Adam Lopez to Earn Shot at World Title

Oscar Valdez has earned his shot at another world title…

The 28-year-old Mexican former featherweight world titlist made a successful move up to the junior lightweight division on Saturday night to earn a shot at a world title in a very tough fight.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez survived a second-round knockdown and some shaky moments, but stopped Adam Lopez in the seventh round of their 130-pound world title elimination bout in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitanof Las Vegas.

Valdez was supposed to face Adrian Gutierrez, but he showed up at Friday’s weigh-in at a shocking 141 pounds, 11 over the contract weight.

Oscar Valdez

Lopez was supposed to face Luis Coriain a 10-round preliminary bout at featherweight, but with Gutierrez so heavy, Top Rank offered Lopez the opportunity to face Valdez, whom he has known for years and wanted to fight. Lopez consulted with trainer Buddy McGirt and agreed to the new assignment and a bigger paycheck.

Lopez (13-2, 6 KOs) gave a tremendous effort and had his moments, but Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs), a two-time Olympian from Mexico, drew on his vast in-ring advantage.

“My experience made me win the fight,” Valdez said. “I have a great amateur background and a lot more experience than him, and I think that’s what made me win the fight. He’s a great fighter, but I think my experience made me win.”

The victory propelled Valdez, who earned $300,000 to Lopez’s $75,000, into a mandatory shot against countryman Miguel Berchelt, who was all smiles in the ring after the fight when he and Valdez embraced.

Lopez looked like he might pull the upset against Valdez when he connected with a clean left hook to the chin that knocked him down with about 50 seconds to go in the second round. Valdez, who hit the mat awkwardly, never saw the shot coming and looked a little unsteady when he got to his feet, but he made it through the round without taking too much more damage.

“I was very surprised [by the knockdown],” Valdez said. “I take my hat off to Adam Lopez. He’s a great fighter, great warrior, just like his father [the late Hector Lopez] was. I just got hit. This is boxing. I prepared myself for two, three months for Gutierrez. Got a new opponent, but that’s no excuse. This kid is a warrior.”

According to CompuBox statistics, Valdez landed 91 of 330 punches (28%) and Lopez connected with 92 of 436 blows (21%). Although Valdez had some problems, he closed the show by outlanding Lopez 21-7 in power shots in the seventh round.

“I would love a rematch with Oscar. He’s a true fighter,” Lopez said. “I’m not a 130-pounder, but I’m a real fighter as well, so I’ll take on anybody, anywhere. Let’s get a rematch. I’m glad people know who I am now. I can fight. People love my style. This is what I do. It’s in my blood.”

Indeed boxing is in his blood. His father, the late Hector Lopez, was a 1990s lightweight and junior welterweight contender and 1984 Olympic silver medalist for Mexico. He died at age 44 in 2011.

Valdez, who was in his third fight since switching trainers to Eddy Reynoso— who also trains Canelo Alvarez— made six featherweight title defenses before vacating his 126-pound belt in early August to move up in weight. With Lopez vanquished, Valdez will next get a shot at Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs), 28, who has made six title defenses and is generally considered the No. 1 fighter in the world at 130 pounds.

“Miguel Berchelt is a true champion inside the ring and outside the ring,” Valdez said. “The fans love him. He’s a champion. That’s the one I want to fight. He has that WBC belt, and he’s trying to take it back home.