By Sean Jones: Promoter Eddie Hearn says he views David Benavidez as being a bigger fight for Canelo Alvarez in the future than a match against Jermall Charlo would be right now.
The 31-year-old WBC middleweight champion Charlo has fought lackluster opposition since moving up to 160 and is coming off a horrendous performance against Juan Macias Montiel last June.
Matchroom boss Hearn thinks that WBC middleweight champion Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) wouldn’t be as big a deal with the boxing fans as a Canelo vs. Benavidez match-up would be. Inter, Hearn is in NO hurry to make the Canelo-Benavidez fight in 2022.
Instead, Canelo is fighting WBA 175lb champion Dmitry Bivol and the faded 40-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin, who has arguably been playing it safe fighting weak opposition since 2018.
With that said, Hearn states that he wants to see the unbeaten #1 WBC contender Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) and Charlo prove both themselves before fighting Canelo.
Hearn feels that neither guy has beaten anyone of note during their careers, and he would like to see them pick up a signature win before facing Canelo.
Canelo’s next opponent for May 7th, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, only had ONE significant win on his resume in Joe Smith Jr. in March 2019.
However, Bivol is getting the fight with Canelo because he has the WBA 175-lb title in his possession, and the Mexican star is belt-hungry to help build his legacy.
In contrast, Benavidez and Charlo have nothing to offer Canelo in terms of titles. What they have is far bigger fan bases in the US than Bivol, and the paper champions that Canelo has been beating at 168 since 2018.
Hearn wants Benavidez & Charlo to prove themselves
Canelo’s promoter Hearn wants Benavidez and Charlo to beat top guys for them to earn a shot against Canelo, but what he fails to mention is the divisions they compete in are mainly barren of talent.
The only notable name for Benavidez to fight at 168 is Caleb Plant, but he’s consistently shown NO interest in fighting the former two-division world champion. Moreover, even Canelo has never displayed any desire to fight Benavidez.
If Hearn sets up hurdles for Charlo and Benavidez to leap over for them to get a fight against Canelo, the matches won’t happen for the Mexican star.
Instead, Canelo will continue to fight belt holders, who US boxing fans have little knowledge of and no desire to see him fight. No one is asking Canelo to fight WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol right now.
The fighters that fans want to see Canelo battle at 175 are the killers Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. So why isn’t Canelo fighting them? The answer is too obvious. Those guys are good and would likely beat the brakes off Canelo, which is why they’re not fighting him on May 7th.
“I rate both guys,” said Eddie Hearn to Fighthype when asked if Bivol is a tougher challenge than David Benavidez for Canelo Alvarez. “It’s difficult for those guys. Even Bivol, in his standout win, he beat Joe Smith easily, who [now] is the WBO  world champion.
“Now, tell me a win Benavidez has had or [Jermall] Charlo has had of any note, and both guys have looked quite poor recently in recent times. But I don’t take anything away from them, but you can’t say Jermall Charlo, a middleweight is a tougher fight than Dmitry Bivol up at light heavyweight. It’s impossible.
“Let’s see those guys [Benavidez and Charlo] have real fights,” said Hearn. “One thing you can be rest assured, Canelo Alvarez will fight absolutely everyone, but it’s got to excite him. The Benavidez fight is a big fight for the future [for Canelo],” said Hearn
“Charlo, I don’t think that’s a big fight. But Benavidez is a big fight. I don’t think the Charlo fight is a particularly big fight, but it’s still a good fight. The Benavidez fight can be a big fight if that guy can go on and do something.
“I spoke to Jose Benavidez yesterday,” said Hearn. “They’re dying for PBC to deliver a real fight.
“They don’t really because Sampson Lewkowicz asked for $7 million+ to fight him [Demetrius Andrade] or more money or more money to fight him than Canelo.
“So do they really want to fight him?” said Hearn in reacting to being told that Benavidez would like to fight Demetrius Andrade. “David does unquestionably, and so does Jose Benavidez, so respect to them,” said Hearn.
Well, Hearn can set up obstacles for Benavidez to protect Canelo, but it’s evident that he’s the best fighter at 168 and has been for many years.
Ryder or Makabu options for Canelo in December
“It’ll definitely happen in December if he wins in May and September and if he’s not injured or anything,” said Hearn when asked how realistic it is for Canelo to fight his third contest on his three-fight $160 million deal with Matchroom Boxing/DAZN in December.
John Ryder in London, [Ilunga] Makabu in Mexico in Guadalajara,” Hearn said of the two options for Canelo’s December fight as part of his three-fight deal in 2022. “We’d like that fight to happen internationally, but let’s see what happens May 7th.” said Hearn.
Sean Jones hates to rain on Hearn’s parade but there is ZERO interest from boxing fans in the US about a fight between Canelo Alvarez and little-known WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu or his WBA 168-lb mandatory challenger John Ryder.
Those guys, Makabu & Ryder, don’t register with fans in the US, and it would be like Canelo fighting Avni Yildirim again. Canelo would be better off fighting a talented fighter in December like Benavidez.
Unfortunately, that will not happen because he’s with PBC and will be part of their two-fight deal in 2023.
“Yeah, that’s possible as well,” said Hearn when asked if it’s possible for the winner of the Artur Peterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. 175-lb unification fight as an option for Canelo’s December fight this year.
“He’s got one eye on becoming undisputed at 175, and that for me, if he can become undisputed in two weight classes, he’s already a legend, but that would be a game-changer,” said Hearn about it being a big deal if Canelo becomes the undisputed champion at light heavyweight.
It’s very doubtful that Canelo will agree to fight the Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. winner for the third fight of his $160 million deal with Matchroom & DAZN this December.
IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Beterbiev, 37, is still young enough to punch holes through Canelo right now, which is why he WON’T get the chance to fight him in December or 2023.
Sean Jones is predicting it right now that Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) will need to wait until 2024 before he gets a chance to fight Canelo. By that point, Beterbiev will be 39-years-old, and his physical skills will have deteriorated enough for Canelo to have an increased chance of beating him.
If they fight right now, Beterbiev, a devastating body puncher with a steel chin, will target Canelo’s midsection and take him out like he did Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Marcus Browne.