By Sean Jones: Eddie Hearn wants to see Canelo Alvarez take some BIG career risks in 2022 by taking on the three light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, and Joe Smith Jr. to become the undisputed 175-lb champion within one year like he did at 168.
The Matchroom Boxing honcho Hearn says he will be meeting with Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) and his trainer Eddy Reynoso after Christmas to discuss having the Mexican superstar face the three light heavyweight champions in 2022 rather than going up to cruiserweight to take on WBC champion Ilunga Makabu.
If Canelo loses to one of the champions at 175, it won’t be nearly as much negative fallout for him as it would be if he gets blown out by Makabu.
After all, Makabu is a fighter Tony Bellew destroyed in three rounds in May 2016 in Liverpool. Makabu backed up against the ropes and was quickly mowed down by Bellew, and it’s easy to predict him doing the same thing against Canelo.
Hearn wants Canelo to take risks
Although Hearn isn’t coming out and ridiculing Canelo’s lower-level goal of trying to become a five-division world champion by facing arguably the WEAKEST link among the cruiserweight champions in Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs), it seems evident that the British promoter feels that going after the three 175-lb champions are the more worthy goal for Alvarez.
Let’s put it this way. If Canelo beats Makabu, NO one will care worldwide because he’s facing the weakest of the champions.
Now, if Canelo were willing to risk taking a beating by facing the quality cruiserweight in Lawrence Okolie or Mairis Briedis, that would be a different story because there would be a high probability of losing to both of those talented champions.
But as we saw at 168, Canelo is opportunistic by going after the weakest champion at cruiserweight. Because of that, fans won’t give him any credit now or in future generations when stat-freaks pour over the Mexican star’s resume on Wikipedia, Boxrec, or wherever.
“I know there’s talk of the cruiserweight fight. I just think that he [Canelo] should do exactly the same as he did at 168 at 175,” said Hearn to iFL TV on his desire for Alvarez to face the light heavyweight champions Beterbiev, Bivol & Smith in 2022 instead of Makabu.
“He should fight [Dmitry] Bivol, Joe Smith and [Artur] Beterbiev, and I think he can do it all in a year AGAIN,” said Hearn.
Hearn isn’t saying that the quality of opposition that Canelo defeated in 2021 to become the undisputed champion at 168 was pedestrian level.
Canelo won’t have it easy at 175
Let’s face it; there’s a BIG difference between Canelo attempting to become the undisputed champion at 175 compared to the woefully poor 168.
Judge for yourself. These are the four champions Canelo defeated to become the undisputed champion at super middleweight:
- Rocky Fielding
- Caleb Plant
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Callum Smith
You can argue that the only halfway decent fighter of that bunch was Callum Smith, but he looked terribly weight drained and dead at the weight on the night against Canelo.
Callum’s eyesockets looked sunken in, and you could tell that he’d put his body through pure torture getting down to the 168-lb limit for that fight. Whatever chance Callum had of winning the battle was lost by losing all the weight to get down to 168.
It would be interesting to see Canelo give Callum Smith a rematch at 175 to see the difference in power for the British fighter.
At 175, Canelo will have to run the gauntlet in 2022 if he agrees to Hearn’s vision for him becoming the undisputed champion. If Canelo can pull it off to become the undisputed champion at light heavyweight, it would be a HUGE achievement.