Canelo Álvarez says he is open to the unthinkable — fighting for a heavyweight title
Canelo Álvarez has a plan.
If, as expected, he beats Dmitry Bivol to win a share of the light heavyweight championship on Saturday night, he will drop down from 175 pounds to 168 to fight Gennady Golovkin for a third time in September. If Álvarez wins that bout — he’ll be the favorite against the 40-year-old Golovkin — he’ll set his sights on unifying the light heavyweight titles by fighting the division’s two other beltholders, Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr.
If Álvarez does all that — and he’s expected to — the Mexican would become the undisputed champion at super middleweight and light heavyweight in a year, only further cementing his place as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
And then what? The options would seemingly dwindle. What’s left for the 31-year-old Mexican whose only professional loss in 59 fights remains a setback against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013?
On Wednesday, Álvarez mentioned two possibilities.
The first is an obvious progression: taking his show around the world. Álvarez said he dreams of fighting in England and Japan. His promoter, Eddie Hearn, said he’d love to see Álvarez, who hasn’t fought in Mexico since 2011, taking centerstage at Estadio Azteca.
The second borders on insanity: moving up in weight class yet again, into uncharted territory and possibly into another stratosphere historically.
Álvarez confirmed he would welcome a fight against Oleksandr Usyk, a cruiserweight-turned-heavyweight champion. Usyk is 6-foot-3. He’s 19-0 with 13 knockouts. The 35-year-old Ukrainian weighed in at 221 pounds last September before beating 240-pound Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight crown. He’s a giant compared to the 5-foot-7-and-a-half Álvarez.
But Álvarez is at least saying he’d welcome the challenge.
“I like it,” he said. “I like it. Why not?”
Saul “Canelo” Álvarez plans to be in the ring for at least seven more years, but his passion for golf could make for the perfect post-boxing career.
The fight, Álvarez confirmed, would be at 201 pounds — or the minimum for a sanctioned heavyweight title fight. Usyk has his own business to take care of first; he has a rematch with Joshua scheduled for July after winning a unanimous decision in the first meeting in England.
“The ability to conquer categories that were impossible for a Mexican, for a person of my stature, well, it’s something historic,” Álvarez said. “And it’s what I want to do in my career: history.”
If Álvarez were to win, he’d become the first former 154-pound champion to ever win a heavyweight championship. Bob Fitzsimmons (1897) and Roy Jones Jr. (2003) are the only former 160-pound (middleweight) champions to win heavyweight championships.
“I’ll fight everyone,” Álvarez said. “I don’t f— care.”
To fight Usyk, if that is indeed a real possibility, everything will have to continue going as planned Saturday.
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