By Dan Ambrose: Tim Bradley says David Benavidez poses a threat to Canelo Alvarez right now at 25, and he’s someone that the Mexican needs to fight next rather than waiting for him to get better.
Bradley thinks it’ll be a bad idea for the 31-year-old Canelo to wait until later to fight Benavidez. If Canelo waits to fight Benavidez, he’s going to increase the chances that he’s going to get beaten.
Although Floyd Mayweather Jr. was still fighting at a high level when at 36, he beat the then 23-year-old Canelo in 2013, the Mexican star isn’t likely to be able to do the same against Benavidez.
Is Canelo avoiding Benavidez?
If Canelo waits until he’s 35 or 36 before finally working up the nerve to fight Benavidez, it could end badly for him.
On the other side of the coin, if Canelo chooses to avoid Benavidez permanently, it will be evident to the boxing fans that he will lose popularity.
It’s already apparent to fans that Canelo is actively avoiding Benavidez, but if he chooses to do so permanently, it will make him look pathetic.
With all that time that Canelo is investing in winning division titles with the hope of building his legacy, he’s hurting it by not fighting Benavidez and other top fighters like Demetrius Andrade, David Morrell Jr, Jermall Charlo.
Also, Canelo has unfinished business with Gennady Golovkin due to their two controversial fights, which fans thought GGG should have won.
Canelo should be giving Golovkin a third fight to clear up the controversy, but he’s not, and that makes him look like he’s ducking the Kazakh.
Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has seemingly been avoiding the former two-time WBC super middleweight champion Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs), maneuvering around him to take on lesser fighters to become the undisputed champion at 168 in 2021.
Benavidez lost his WBC title in August 2020 when he came in overweight for his title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo, a fighter he stopped in the tenth round.
Acting quickly, Canelo moved in four months later to capture the vacant WBC 168-lb title with a one-sided 12 round decision win over Callum Smith in December 2020.
Benavidez found it interesting that Canelo, who had never shown any desire to face him during his time as the WBC champion, moved with lightning speed to fight for the belt as soon as he lost the title on the scales against Angulo in August 2020.
Bradley wants Canelo to fight Benavidez
“Canelo Alvarez in November said he’d be interested in moving up to cruiserweight to fight Ilunga Makabu, who can fight,” said Max Kellerman on Max on Boxing. “Have you ever seen Makabu fight?
“He can move, he can box, he can punch. However, Jermall Charlo is the more likely opponent. Let me ask you this. What would you like to see Canelo do?”
“I want to see Canelo face David Benavidez. That’s the guy that everybody wants to see him face,” said Timothy Bradley when asked who he wants to see Alvarez fight next.
Bradley isn’t the only one that wants Canelo to fight Benavidez. Virtually, the entire boxing world has pushed Canelo to take the fight with Benavidez. Still, he’s chosen to take the weaker path by fighting British fighters and older past their prime guys like Danny Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev.
Canelo even fought his old sparring partner Avni Yildirim rather than face Benavidez in 2021, making him look bad.
Benavidez poses a threat to Canelo
“He’s a big guy in the division, and he was a champion until he lost his belt on the scales,” Bradley said of former two-time WBC super middleweight champion Benavidez. He lost his title in August 2020 when he came in overweight for his title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo.
“He’s a guy that would pose a threat to Canelo Alvarez. He’s [Benavidez] young, he’s brash, he’s 25-years-old, and he’s the type of guy that I think would bring the best out of Canelo.
“If you look at Canelo with the last guys that he faced, yeah, they were world champions, but if you look at how much he was a favorite. Seven, eight to one favorite going into a championship fight.
“No, we want to see Canelo matched tough against someone that is going to push him because we want to see how great this kid really is, and I believe David Benavidez is that guy for Canelo Alvarez,” said Tim Bradley.
Benavidez poses a HUGE threat to Canelo, and he has for many years. If Canelo had fought Benavidez as far back as 2015, he would have lost.
But now that Benavidez has matured and is 25, the fight would go badly for Canelo.
Kellerman wants Canelo to fight Beterbiev
“I like the Benavidez idea,” said Kellerman on who Canelo should fight next. “Obviously, it’s a great action fight, and I understand what you mean. He’s had plausible fights like if you listed the top five opponents, they might have been fifth.
“But Jermall Charlo would be a little higher on the list than fifth. Yeah, I’d like to see Canelo fight that guy. I think Benavidez falls into that category. He has more size than Charlo. What’s wrong with [Artur] Beterbiev?
“If you want to put him in with a great. [Dmitry] Bivol might be the toughest fight, but maybe not the best styles match-up for the fans. But Beterbiev against Canelo? Beterbiev wants you to stay right there so he can come and get you.
“Canelo wants you to come to him so that he can counter. It’s perfect. What’s wrong with Beterbiev?” said Kellerman.
IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) would be an excellent option for Canelo’s next fight. Still, unfortunately, it appears the Mexican star wants no part of the two-time Russian Olympian.
When Canelo had the opportunity to fight Beterbiev in 2019, when he moved up to 175 to pursue a fourth division world title, he picked the faded 36-year-old Sergey Kovalev.
At that point in Kovalev’s career, he was by far the weakest of the champions at 175 and a guy that was destined to lose his WBO title against anybody with halfway decent skills.
Indeed, Kovalev was almost knocked out in his previous fight before Canelo against Anthony Yarde, a British fighter with mediocre talent.
Benavidez is only going to get better
“It’s more than that,” said Bradley. “I understand the challenge and what he brings, but there’s a barrier as far as English goes. There’s a barrier as far as selling goes. Canelo wants to be in the big events. That’s what it’s all about.
“I believe that David Benavidez brings that. He’s a brash talker; he’s young, he’s 25-years-old. Do you remember when [Floyd] Mayweather and Canelo got together?
“Canelo, I believe, was 23-years-old when they faced each other, and Mayweather got the best of him. This is that same situation that I believe that Canelo Alvarez can put in front of himself against David Benavidez.
“Being the young guy, all he’s going to get over time is he’s going to get better. So you might as well get him now in an entertaining fight,” said Bradley.
It’s evident that the longer Canelo waits before fighting Benavidez, the worse it’s going to be for him when they finally do meet.
The only chance Canelo has of beating Benavidez is if he fights him now, and even then, it’s not likely he’s going to come out victorious short of a controversial decision.
If Canelo waits two to four more years before fighting Benavidez, his work rate will be too low, and he’ll be too old to have any chance of getting the win.
Canelo vs. Benavidez sells out Dallas Stadium
“I believe, this fight will sell out the Dallas stadium out there,” said Bradley predicting Canelo vs. Benavidez to sell out 80,000 seat Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“I believe it would actually sell out. It’s not only about styles; it’s about selling. That’s what it’s about,” said Bradley on a fight between Canelo and Benavidez.
“You’re very high on Benavidez’s upside because Canelo after Mayweather turned out to be the best pound-for-pound fighter, according to many in the world,” said Kellerman.
“With that kind of upside, wow! I think of Beterbiev as the tougher challenge [for Canelo], but I’ve heard from others, they don’t think so. They like Benavidez too,” said Kellerman.
Bradley is correct about the Canelo vs. Benavidez fight selling out the 80,000 seat Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A battle between those two would generate a tremendous amount of interest in Texas or anywhere in the U.S, for that matter.
Obviously, due to Canelo’s two controversial fights against Golovkin and his questionable win over Erislandy Lara, it would be best for him that he NOT stage the Benavidez fight in Las Vegas.
Canelo’s track record of dodging losses due to the unusual scoring done by judges in Las Vegas makes that city a poor location for a fight with Benavidez.
In Texas, Canelo has a clean slate, not being involved in any controversial decisions yet, so that would be the ideal location for a fight with Benavidez.
The last thing fans should see is Canelo railroading Benavidez, forcing the fight to take place in Las Vegas by giving him a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
If Canelo forces the fight with Benavidez to take place in Las Vegas, it’s going to put more pressure on him to take the judges out of play by going all out for the KO.
That’s not good for Canelo because he doesn’t look physically capable of matching Benavidez’s high work rate at this point in his career.
Also, Canelo will not beat him by loading up on single shots the way he did in his last three fights against Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, and Avni Yildirim.