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.”

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.

Canelo Alvarez Nearing Deal to Fight Caleb Plant to Crown Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez is closing in on the biggest fight of his career…

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer is nearing a deal with Caleb Plant for a November fight that would crown an undisputed super middleweight champion, according to ESPN.

Canelo Alvarez

A fight between Alvarez and Plant was agreed to last month for September 18, sources said, and officials were simply awaiting signatures when the deal fell apart at the 11th hour.

After talks collapsed, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) turned his attention to a 175-pound title fight with Dmitry Bivol. When that matchup couldn’t be finalized in time to stage the fight on Mexican Independence Day Weekend (Sept. 18), Canelo decided to delay his return until November.

Now boxing’s top star is deep in talks with PBC for a one-fight deal that would feature him on Fox PPV, sources said.

The prospect of a fight between Alvarez, ESPN‘s No. 1 pound-for-pound-boxer, and Plant, an undefeated 168-pound titleholder, was dead just two weeks ago. With Alvarez and PBC’s Al Haymon locked in a stalemate, Alvarez moved on to talks with Bivol. When the Mexican star decided to forgo Sept. 18 and instead fight in November, the possibility of Plant returned to the table.

It’s the fight Canelo wanted all along. After Alvarez stopped Billy Joe Saunders in Round 9 of their May fight, picking up his third 168-pound belt, he issued a message to Plant: “I’m coming, my friend.”

Becoming undisputed champion has long been Canelo’s goal, a feat he hasn’t accomplished despite a Hall of Fame résumé that includes titles in four weight classes. Alvarez was set to earn upward of $40 million guaranteed — a career best — in the proposed deal for Sept. 18.

Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) was slated to make $10 million-plus, also a career high. The original pact disintegrated, Plant told ESPN last month, over last-minute “ridiculous requests” from Team Alvarez.

“One that is absurd: If I get injured or sick, then he gets a late replacement for the same amount of guaranteed money, but if he gets sick or injured, then we gotta wait for him,” Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 super middleweight, said after the deal fell apart. “… His bark is bigger than his bite.

“We’ve been waiting for him to get done with his wedding, shooting his TV show, his golf tournament and now have tried to give him everything he wants and more to make this fight,” the Nashville native added. “I’m more than willing, able and ready to fight Canelo Alvarez on any date.”

Those issues could be ironed out now, it appears. This is the third consecutive year Alvarez won’t fight on the coveted September date, a holiday he starred on against bitter rival Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017 and ’18. Another drawn-out negotiation in 2019 forced Alvarez to instead fight in November, a KO victory over Sergey Kovalev.

If he can strike a deal with PBC, it will mark Alvarez’s return to pay-per-view, a platform he has headlined nine times since his fight with Shane Mosley in 2012. Those bouts included a megafight with Floyd Mayweather in 2013 and a pair of matchups with GGG.

Alvarez signed a landmark 11-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN after the GGG rematch, but following four fights, he sued his then-promoter, Golden Boy, along with the streaming platform. After the lawsuit was settled, Alvarez remained with DAZN for a December 2020 win over Callum Smith, then linked up with Matchroom‘s Eddie Hearn on a two-fight deal. The contract for that partnership expired after the Saunders win, opening the door for Alvarez to seek a one-fight deal with Haymon’s team and a chance at undisputed status.

Canelo and Plant were training to fight each other when talks came to an abrupt halt — Alvarez at his San Diego gym and Plant in Las Vegas. This time, the hard work in the gym might lead to what they both want: a showdown for super middleweight supremacy.

Canelo Alvarez Defeats Billy Joe Saunders to Claim WBO Super-Middleweight Belt

Canelo Alvarez has expanded his belt collection….

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer added the WBO super-middleweight belt to his growing collection, defeating Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night in front of a record-breaking 73,126 crowd inside Texas’ AT&T Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

The attendance figure set an all-time record for an indoor US boxing event — breaking the previous record set in 1978 when Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks in front of 63,352 at the Louisiana Superdome — and marked the largest crowd at a sporting event since the pandemic began.

Alvarez dominated the opening seven rounds, leading on all three judges’ scorecards, before a brutal uppercut in the eighth caused a deep cut under Saunders’ right eye and left the Briton unable to come out for the ninth round.

Saunders was reportedly taken from the venue by ambulance straight after the fight to have the extent of his injuries assessed.

“As I said beforehand, the fight was going to develop by the seventh or eighth round,” Alvarez told broadcaster DAZN. “That’s what happened, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. That’s where I take note that my preparation is good and I improve day by day.

“The fight I was winning round by round. I told you, my fight would develop after six or seven rounds, but I started getting adjusted quickly. I knew that this round (the eighth) was going to be the final round. I knew it. I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out. That was it.”

Alvarez, widely considered one of the best boxers in the world, said “the plan” now was to unify the super-middleweight division by claiming the IBF belt held by American Caleb Plant.

“I’m coming. I’m coming, my friend,” he said.

The hugely popular fighter delighted what appeared to be a largely Mexican crowd, raising his arms at one point during the fight to encourage the already raucous arena to make more noise.

“It’s difficult to explain,” Alvarez said of their support. “I don’t have the words. All the emotions I feel, they give me the motivation to continue on.”

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.”

David Benavidez Returning to Ring to Fight Ronald Ellis in March

David Benavidez is ready to get back in the ring…

The 24-year-old Mexican & Ecuadorean American boxer, a former WBC super middleweight titleholder, says he’ll return to the ring on March 13 against Ronald Ellis.

David Benavidez

The location of the fight is still being finalized, but an ESPN source says it’ll most likely happen in Connecticut as a main event of Showtime Championship Boxing.

Benavidez currently is in the middle of training camp in Big Bear, California, with his team, including strength and conditioning coach Cem Eren.

“We’ve been in training camp for about six or seven weeks already,” Benavidez told ESPN on Tuesday. “We’ve got another six weeks left, so we’ve been working extremely hard.

“I want to give a great performance; that’s why I came to camp a little bit earlier so by the time the camp ends, we’re going to have at least 13-14 weeks done.”

Ellis (18-1, 12 KOs) enters the bout with two straight wins after his majority decision loss to DeAndre Ware in 2019.

Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) last entered the ring on August 15, 2020, where he won a one-sided 10th-round TKO victory over Roamer Alexis Angulo. However, he lost his WBC super middleweight title on the scales after being nearly three pounds over the 168-pound limit at the weigh-in.

His goal is to take on the top fighters in the division, such as Caleb Plant.

“I would definitely love that fight, but my mindset right now is I just want any of the top fighters at 168. I feel like I’ve been here,” Benavidez said. “I’ve been two-time world champion, I’ve been in the division and I’ve been doing exactly what I have to do for years and years so I feel like I deserve any of those top fights with those top guys.

“And also, just for the fans. I feel like the fans, we deserve it to the fans to give them the best of the best.”

Canelo Alvarez Reportedly Planning to Fight Mandatory Challenger Avni Yildirim in February

Canelo Alvarez isn’t waiting long to get back in the ring…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star, will return to the ring on February 27 versus mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, according to sources.

Canelo Alvarez

The fight will be broadcast on DAZN and other PPV cable platforms everywhere except Mexico.

It will be a stay-busy title defense for Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), who is coming off a dominant unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith on December 19 to win the WBA, WBC and the Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

 

The Athletic was the first to report the Alvarez fight date.

“Canelo is in the gym, and he has been working and training, waiting for the date,” Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said. “And to take advantage of the preparation we had for most of last year without fighting.”

After a deal with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, Alvarez is on track to fight again on May 8, the weekend following Cinco de Mayo, against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. That bout is not official yet, but it is expected, with IBF champion Caleb Plant as a secondary option.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has plans to unify the super middleweight division, with Saunders and Plant as the two other belt holders in the division.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) hasn’t fought since a February 2019 split technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell. He has been Alvarez’s WBC mandatory challenger since before the Alvarez-Smith bout.

“Obviously it’s a very big fight for me. It makes me very proud to be on a stage like this, representing the Turkish people,” Yildirim told ESPN on Wednesday. “I know my opponent well. Of course, Canelo is one of the best in the world. But I know my value, and now the entire world will see who Avni Yildirim is.”

Alvarez and Reynoso wanted to fulfill their commitment to the WBC by fighting Yildirim before continuing their pursuit through the super middleweight champions.

“Yildirim is a strong fighter. He is a fighter who has earned his place in boxing to get to where he is as the No. 1 challenger in the world,” Reynoso said. “He had a fight against Anthony Dirrell, which seemed to me they took away from him, and gave it to Dirrell due to a cut. It was a world title fight, and [even with a loss], he became an official challenger. He is a guy who has worked honestly to be there, and he is dangerous, strong, has a good punch and very reliable.”

This will be Alvarez’s first bout in Miami, a place he has long enjoyed. Fans can be in attendance up to the COVID-19 pandemic capacity allowed at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes play their home football games.

Canelo Alvarez Officially a Free Agent After Release from Golden Boy Contract

Canelo Alvarez is officially a free agent.

After several days of negotiations, representatives for the 30-year-old Mexican boxer and four-division world champion, the sport’s most lucrative fighter, and Golden Boy Promotions have reached an agreement to release him.

Canelo Alvarez

In September, Alvarez filed a lawsuit in federal court citing a breach of contract on an 11-fight, $365 million deal signed in 2018. A subsequent mediation situation between all parties failed, and the suit was refiled after a technical error.

Alvarez has not fought since November 2019, when he defeated light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev via DAZN. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alvarez, Golden Boy and DAZN were unable to agree on Alvarez’s next opponent and the salary for that fight.

“After extended discussions between the parties, DAZN offered to pay Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions a fraction of the contracted $40 million license fee in cash and some DAZN stock in advance of a potential IPO,” according to the initial lawsuit filed in California. “However, the entire value of the package — for a bout against another World Champion — was substantially less than Alvarez’s contractual guarantee.”

When Alvarez initially signed with DAZN, it was a massive moment for the business of boxing. Alvarez had agreed to fight on the streaming platform that opted for a monthly subscription over the traditional pay-per-view model used in boxing in recent decades. DAZN also signed Gennadiy Golovkin, whom Canelo has defeated once and drawn with in two controversial outcomes.

However, a third fight to complete the trilogy has become less likely in the wake of Alvarez’s release from his promotional contract.

Court filings show that Alvarez’s lawsuit was refiled October 8 and an additional motion was submitted by the defendants that said the lawsuit should be settled via arbitration, which Alvarez’s side disagreed with. In a statement Friday afternoon, Golden Boy chairman Oscar De La Hoya said both sides had come to an amicable solution.

“The lawsuit was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction and we wish Canelo the best going forward,” De La Hoya said in the statement. “In the strong partnership with DAZN, we will continue showcasing our wide array of talent, including rising superstars like Ryan Garcia, Jaime Munguia and Vergil Ortiz Jr., all of whom have the talent and potential to become the next biggest star in our sport.”