The names of the American of Mexican/ Ecuadorian descent David Benavidez, undefeated with 23 knockouts in 27 fights, WBC interim super middleweight champion, and the Russian and also undefeated Dmitri Bivol (21.11 KO, 0-0), WBA light heavyweight champion, resounded in the mouths of the fans gathered last Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and in the boxing world in general, as soon as the easy victory of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez over Jermell Charlo, a Louisiana native, in which the former retained the super middleweight title in its four versions.
Alvarez, as most people already know, disposed of Charlo without any inconvenience. He managed the timing to perfection, which allowed him to contain without difficulty the timid attacks of his opponent, WBA-WBC-WBO and IBF super welterweight titleholder, in a clear physical inferiority in terms of weight against a fighter accustomed to fight at 168 pounds, 14 more than the challenging champion, who fell down by a right to the face and received a protective count in the seventh round of a fight that the Aztec resolved with cards of 118-109 twice and 119-108 from the judges, the 3 from the United States.
It would be an exaggeration to say that “Canelo” beat his opponent. He clearly defeated him, as it was said, without struggling to obtain a comfortable victory, in a fight that did not leave anything special to remember.
From start to finish he clearly dominated the action, with sporadic attacks on an opponent who could not take advantage of his greater height (1.83 by 1.73) and who only seemed animated by the purpose of reaching the final bell, as in fact happened. For Alvarez the victory was his 60th out of 64, with 2 losses and a couple of draws in 18 years as a professional, while Charlo was left with a record of 35 (10)-2-1 in 16 years in the ring.
We repeat the first line of the title of this article, even though we are not very fond of titles in question marks.
However, there is no doubt that this is the question that is on the minds of the fans, especially the fans of the Jalisco native. And also, that the names on the table are Benavidez, who is hungry for a chance against the master of the 4 belts, and Bivol, who already defeated Alvarez with relative ease in May last year, a fight in which the Mexican, who has also been super welterweight and middleweight champion, was looking for the 175 lbs. belt, which he already held interim in the WBC version and which he never defended.
There are plenty of fans, who do not like “Canelo”, and claim that he is slipping up on Benavidez, a lethal puncher, with the historical milestone of being the youngest world champion in the super middleweight division, which he won at the age of 22 years, 8 months and 22 days, on September 28, 2018 against Anthony Dirrell, a belt he lost on the scale in his next bout and regained with a knockout in 3 to Canadian David Lemieux in May 2022. Benavidez has not fought since March of this year when he beat Caleb Plant on points. Again, there are many who believe that “Canelo” is afraid of Benavidez’s 6’3″ punching power. And the fighter has repeatedly said that he longs for a chance against Alvarez and that he is absolutely sure he can beat him.
The other potential opponent for the Jalisco native, is the Russian Dmitri Bivol, who also wants to fight “Canelo” for the second time, confident as he is that he can defeat him, as he did in May 2022 with repeated scorecards of 115-113, a very narrow margin, however, for many should have been larger given the superiority shown by Bivol, who looked like a colossus against the Mexican. In addition, a second attraction for him would be the rich purse he would get in a second clash …
We conclude: it only remains to wait. It is certain that in a few days there will be news regarding the next steps to be taken by “Canelo” Alvarez, who has a $100 million contract for three fights, of which he already completed one last Saturday, with the company that manages his career. He has always been criticized by hundreds but idolized by many more. He is, beyond any doubt, a controversial figure in the sport. Whatever his detractors may say.