Canelo Alvarez has lined up his next opponent, but it’s not the person most expected it to be.
The 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the sport’s top star at the moment, has announced on social media that he’ll fight Jermell Charlo rather than his twin brother, Jermall, on September 30 in Las Vegas, the first meeting of undisputed champions in the four-belt era.
Alvarez holds all four super middleweight titles while Charlo owns all four belts at 154 pounds. The bout, which is expected to be a Showtime PPV event, will be contested at 168 pounds for Alvarez’s undisputed championship, per ESPN sources.
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) was lined up for a fight with Jermall Charlo, the WBC champion at 160 pounds, after he met with PBC founder Al Haymon in the Cleveland area earlier in June.
But earlier this week, Alvarez’s team was informed that Jermall wouldn’t be available to fight in September, sources said. The sides pivoted to Jermell, who sits just outside ESPN’s pound-for-pound list but has never competed above 154 pounds, and the matchup was finalized on Friday, sources said.
ESPN Deportes reported earlier Friday that Jermall needed more time to get in shape because he has not fought since June 2021, when he scored a unanimous decision win over Juan Macias Montiel. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said last month that Jermall’s inactivity is due to mental health.
Alvarez, a future Hall of Famer from Mexico, struck a three-fight deal with PBC earlier in June, with the other two fights expected to take place on Cinco De Mayo Weekend and Mexican Independence Day Weekend in 2024, sources said.
Alvarez’s preferred September 16 date wasn’t available in Las Vegas due to a UFC event on the same night at T-Mobile Arena.
Canelo is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over John Ryder in May in a Mexico homecoming in Guadalajara. The win was Alvarez’s first fight since he underwent left wrist surgery in October.
In May 2022, Canelo moved up to light heavyweight but was routed by Dmitry Bivol in his first loss since he faced Floyd Mayweather in 2013. He returned in September to defeat his rival, Gennaidy Golovkin, in a trilogy fight.
Alvarez is ESPN’s No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer and has captured titles in four weight classes.
Last month, Alvarez was No. 5 on Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes list at estimated earnings of $110 million in 2022.
Jermall Charlo was one of two finalists for the Alvarez bout when Canelo ultimately selected Bivol last May. He could land his shot next May if Alvarez defeats his brother.
Jermell Charlo, a 33-year-old who fights out of the Houston area, captured the undisputed 154-pound championship last May when he knocked out Brian Castano in the 10th round of a rematch. The two fighters had previously battled to a highly controversial draw in July 2021 after Castano appeared to do enough to earn the decision.
The only defeat of Jermell’s career came in December 2018, a disputed decision loss to Tony Harrison. Jermell (35-1-1, 19 KOs) also avenged that blemish on his record, scoring an 11th-round knockout of Harrson one year later.
Jermell was set to defend his four titles against Tim Tszyu, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, in January before he suffered a broken left hand.