As the biggest star in boxing and its consensus, pound-for-pound best fighter, Canelo Alvarez can do just about anything he wants to when it comes to matchmaking. Luckily for fans, the 31-year-old Mexican superstar has consistently used his powers for good of late as a promotional free agent, using the majority of 2021 to unify all four super middleweight titles for the first time in history en route to claiming Fighter of the Year honors.
So what type of challenges might Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) seek in the new year? Let's take a look at where things stand in 2022 for the four-division champion.
Alvarez planning move up to light heavyweight next
Alvarez is expected to take another step up in weight -- and competition -- for his return to the ring. The undisputed super middleweight king will move up to 175 pounds and challenge WBA champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7, according to ESPN's Mike Coppinger and Boxing Scene's Keith Idec. The fight would air on DAZN PPV at a still to be determined location.
It would mark Alvarez's return to the 175-pound division after knocking out Sergey Kovalev for the WBC title in 2019 before vacating it. The second bout of a reported deal would be in September in a super middleweight title bout against IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs), provided Golovkin gets past Ryoto Murata at a to be determined date. The fight would be the third meeting between Alvarez and GGG following a pair of thrilling decisions in PPV blockbusters that included a disputed draw in 2017 and a close Alvarez win the following year.
This all comes after Alvarez considered a deal from Premier Boxing Champions to defend his undisputed 168-pound title against WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs), the twin brother of WBC 154-pound titleholder Jermell, offers an intriguing mix of speed, power and boxing technique for Alvarez and he also has a big frame that should make moving up to super middleweight an easy transition.
Where things stand with moving up to cruiserweight
Alvarez's trainer/manager, Eddy Reynoso, surprised the boxing world (and apparently Alvarez, himself) last November when he made a plea at the WBC convention in Mexico for Alvarez to be cleared by the sanctioning body to challenge cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu. Initially, the fight appeared to be a done deal until Makabu promoter Don King announced an immediate title defense first for Makabu against Thabiso Mchunu for January. Although Alvarez publicly showed respect for Reynoso's surprise move, all signs since then have pointed to Alvarez focusing instead in 2022 on big-time fights at 168 and 175 pounds. A move up to cruiserweight would surely be the kind of dare-to-be-great attempt akin to Manny Pacquiao winning a world title at 154 pounds or Roy Jones Jr. claiming a heavyweight belt. But it wouldn't be a massive event given Makabu's low profile globally and even rumors of the fight brought on a surprisingly negative response from Alvarez's critics who considered his advantage in skill too wide to make it a competitive fight, even with the massive size differential.
How busy will Alvarez be in 2022?
After an ambitious stretch of three fights in 2021 and a total of four over a 12-month stretch dating back to December of the previous year, Alvarez appears focused on returning for the two most important dates on the boxing calendar: Cinco de Mayo weekend in May and Mexican Independence Day weekend in September, with both taking place in Las Vegas. Although Alvarez hinted that he could be interested in as many as three fights this year, it's more likely he returns to the same traditional schedule of May and September fights, which previous PPV kings Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya set the template for.