Promoter Eddie Hearn is eying a big fight this year between Demetrius Andrade and David Benavidez to decide on mandatory challenger to undisputed 168-lb champion Canelo Alvarez.
Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs) will be moving up to battle unbeaten #1 WBO Zach Parker next for the interim World Boxing Organization 168-lb title.
Hearn says that Canelo fights whoever he wishes and that he and his trainer Eddy Reynoso pick out guys that excite them. For that reason, it’s questionable whether Canelo & Reynoso will agree to fight the Benavidez-Andrade winner.
For his part, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) will be taking on David Lemieux for the interim WBC super middleweight belt.
What Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn is proposing is for the WBC and WBO to agree to let the winner of the Benavidez vs. Andrade fight be mandatory for Canelo.
It’s a great idea that Hearn has, but the only question is whether Canelo would agree to fight the Benavidez-Andrade winner? Those are two guys that the Mexican warrior Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has shown no previous interest in fighting.
Why Canelo would suddenly perk up interest in fighting the Benavidez-Andrade winner would be the important question.
One can easily see Canelo turning up his nose at the idea of fighting the Benavidez vs. Andrade winner, telling the boxing fans, ‘He’s a terrible fighter’ or ‘He wants a payday, payday.’
With Canelo’s popularity, he can easily dismiss fighters like Andrade or Benavidez, saying they’re terrible, they haven’t fought anyone or they’re only looking for a payday against him.
In the meantime, Canelo turns around and fights arguably lesser opposition like Avni Yildirim, Caleb Plant, or Bily Joe Saunders and is given a free pass.
Hearn promotes the 33-year-old Demetrius, and he’s had no luck in getting any of the top guys to fight him since he took over in setting up fights for the former two-division world champion.
Recently, the World Boxing Organization ordered Andrade to defend his WBO middleweight title against Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, and that would be a difficult fight for him that would involve many risks but little on the reward side.
Instead of taking that fight next, Andrade plans on moving up in weight to face unbeaten #1 ranked Zach Parker (22-0, 16 KOs) for the interim WBO 168-lb title.
If Andrade wins that fight, he still wouldn’t be mandatory for Canelo, but he’d at least be on the door to earning that position. Again, it might not matter if Andrade or Benavidez do become mandatory because Canelo can always vacate his titles if he wants no part of either of those fighters.
Ideally, Canelo will want to fight the winner of the Benavidez vs. Andrade fight because it would create a lot of attention from boxing fans and help his legacy.
At 31, Canelo is starting to focus a lot on building his legacy so that he’s remembered by fans from future generations.
However, Canelo is going about cementing his legacy in a superficial manner by picking out almost exclusively weaker champions while ignoring the talented ones.
For example, Canelo didn’t fight for the WBC super middleweight title when Benavidez held the strap. Instead, Canelo fought for the belt against Callum Smith after Benavidez lost his strap after failing to make weight for a title defense in 2020.
Canelo’s title wins in the last three years have come against these fighters:
- Sergey Kovalev
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Callum Smith
- Caleb Plant
- Rocky Fielding
- Daniel Jacobs
Benavidez or Andrade would be a massive step up in class for Canelo, and the fans would be more than happy to see him face either of those guys. Even if Canelo fought the loser of a fight between those two, he would be fighting a better guy than he has since his rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018.