Canelo Alvarez is willing to look ahead
ARLINGTON, Texas — While The Ring super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is focused on his title unification fight with Billy Joe Saunders, on Saturday (DAZN, 8 p.m. ET), at AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, boxing’s pound-for-pound king has never shied away from looking ahead.
After facing Saunders, Alvarez’s long-stated goal is to meet IBF titlist Caleb Plant later this year in an effort to become the 168-pound division’s first-ever undisputed champion, be it in the three- or four-belt era.
“We have always been open about what our short- and long-term plans have been,” Alvarez said on Tuesday. “I want to unify the 168-pound division and Caleb Plant would be next in line to secure that short-term goal if successful against Billy Joe Saunders. The goal is to be undisputed at 168 pounds and then we’ll see.
“I think I could stay at super middleweight until the end of my career. I think I have about seven years left until I retire but I’m listening to my body and when it tells me to quit, I’ll quit.”
The 30-year-old Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 knockouts), who has won world titles in four divisions from junior middleweight to light heavyweight, has had tunnel vision about collecting all the super middleweight belts.
“What I want now is to unify the title by winning all the 168-pound belts. I already did this with Callum Smith,” Alvarez said of his one-sided decision win to take Smith’s Ring championship and WBA title and win the vacant WBC belt last December. “Now I’m going for Billy Joe Saunders. And if everything goes right, the next fight is Caleb.”
Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs), 31, of England, has taken exception to Alvarez planning ahead.
“I’ll be looking to put a spanner in the works for that, the same as I did with previous champions talking about other fights,” Saunders said about Alvarez’s plans to fight Plant after him. “They got to beat me first.”
However Alvarez is so confident in winning that he is not only willing to talk about a potential showdown with Plant in the fall but other opponents afterward.
When asked about specific opponents by Showtime boxing host Brian Custer on his “Last Stand Podcast,” Alvarez did not put him off and simply say he was focused on Saunders.
The unified champion answered with no issues. Would he fight WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo?
“Yes. Why not for the people? Maybe for me, it’s hard to make 160 now but lets see for the future,” said Alvarez, who could certainly seek the fight and insist that Charlo rise to super middleweight.
What about undefeated former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist David Benavidez, a fight that many view as a can’t-miss action battle?
“Why not? It would be a great fight with David Benavidez,” Alvarez said. “I just want to make fights people want to see.”
There was a bout Alvarez told Custer he was not interested in, one against WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade, who has said time and again he would move up to 168 pounds for a big fight.
“He’s fought nobody yet,” said Alvarez, although Andrade signed to fight Saunders but Saunders tested positive for a banned substance and was booted from the fight. “You see the record but he’s fighting with nobody. I have other plans.”
Alvarez worked with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn for the fight with Smith and then signed a two-fight agreement for his February fight against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim and the fight with Saunders. But even though their deal expires after Saturday’s fight, Alvarez has openly praised Hearn and said he hopes to continue working with him even though Plant, Charlo and Benavidez are with Premier Boxing Champions and fight on either FOX or Showtime.
Alvarez no longer has any obligations to DAZN following Saturday’s contest and would be free to fight wherever he wanted, be it returning to DAZN or on a pay-per-view handled by a PBC-associated network. Either way, Alvarez has said he wants to continue working with Hearn.
Hearn told The Ring that while he appreciated Alvarez’s sentiments, he did not want to get ahead of himself and start talking about the next fight until after Saturday’s event.
“All the focus is on promoting a historic event this Saturday,” Hearn said. “Working with Saul and [Alvarez trainer and manager] Eddy [Reynoso] has been great and I believe we will work together for many years to come. First things first – I believe they have the toughest challenge in the division on Saturday to overcome.”
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