Saul "Canelo" Alvarez showed the world on Saturday night that he still has plenty left in the tank. The Mexicanto remain undisputed super middleweight champion. The performance was so dominant that it appears talk of Alvarez's skills declining may have been a gross overreaction to a handful of disappointing performances.
After winning nearly every moment of the fight with Charlo -- who entered the fight as undisputed junior middleweight champion -- there is a renewed interest in what Alvarez's next step will be.
Alvarez made it clear that he intends to fight on Cinco De Mayo weekend and no one in the business would stop Alvarez from what he wants, especially when that is putting the Mexican superstar in a fight on a Mexican holiday weekend. That seems to lock his return date in for May 4, 2024.
As for the opponent? In the immediate aftermath of the fight, Alvarez bluntly said of who is next, "I don't f---ing care." Of course, that's Alvarez in the midst of a post-fight endorphin rush and someone as focused on his legacy as Alvarez certainly cares about who he shares the ring with.
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With that in mind, let's take a look at some of Alvarez's potential options for next opponent.
The winner of David Benavidez vs Demetrius Andrade
The winner of this planned Nov. 25 clash will be the leader in the clubhouse to challenge Alvarez for undisputed status at 168 pounds. It's sensible matchmaking. Benavidez is the clear best super middleweight in the world not named Saul Alvarez and Andrade has spent more time talking about being ducked by Alvarez than actually fighting for the past few years. Seriously, Andrade has fought once since November 2021 but you can find article after article of him calling for a fight with Alvarez over that time.
Everything makes sense, from storylines to merits to the timing of it all. Even if the winner comes out with an injury, they'll have nearly half of a year to get right for the biggest fight of their career.
There's certainly a storyline to be had with the bigger Charlo twin getting an opportunity to avenge his brother's loss. In fact, Jermall was the initial planned opponent for Alvarez but wasn't ready, opening the door for Jermell to step in and catch a beating. Charlo is the current WBC middleweight champion despite not fighting since June 2021, his only fight in the past three years. He is set to return to action on the undercard of Benavidez vs. Andrade, fighting unranked Jose Benavidez Jr.
That fight at least gets Charlo active again, though, and if the winner of the main event that night doesn't land the Alvarez fight for some reason, maybe a door opens for Alvarez to try and achieve the rare feat of defeating a pair of world champion twins.
Look, this fight is extremely unlikely but it keeps coming up. As badly as Alvarez beat Charlo, Crawford was twice as dominating against Errol Spence Jr. in claiming the undisputed welterweight title. The idea of Crawford vs. Alvarez has been floated since that fight and it would make piles of money for everyone involved. Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza recently called the fight "very doable" while talking about the benefits for both men.
Unfortunately, as stated, Crawford just became undisputed at welterweight. That's 147 pounds. Alvarez is the king at 168. That is a huge jump with 21 pounds between the divisions. Charlo was coming up two divisions and that proved to be a bad move, Crawford would be jumping three divisions in a risky bid for boxing immortality. Alvarez isn't likely to fight below 168 ever again, not even at a catchweight between middleweight and super middleweight.
That said, Alvarez more or less shot the idea of the fight down after the Charlo win. After saying, "I always say if the fight makes sense, why not?" Alvarez expanded by saying that Crawford is "not in the plan."
Other names will be bounced around. Is a rematch with Dmitry Bivol off the table? Likely, yes. But Bivol vs. Canelo 2 will be floated by some corners of the boxing world. And plenty of names could pop up as a surprise if options start falling off the table for various and unexpected reasons.
Alvarez holds four world titles, and that means a slew of mandatory challengers popping up and needing to either be negotiated out of the way or dealt with.
There has also been some toying with the idea of Alvarez chasing glory at cruiserweight to add another accomplishment to his Hall of Fame career. Alvarez vs. WBC cruiserweight champion Badou Jack is on the list of possibilities, no matter how unlikely.