The first question Canelo Álvarez was asked in his news conference after his beatdown of Jermell Charlo on Saturday wasn’t about the victory. It was about if he will next fight Terence Crawford.
Crawford was in attendance for Álvarez’s win at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday. He told reporters that he wanted to fight the winner. A fight with Charlo would’ve presented fewer hurdles, but Charlo was so unimpressive against Álvarez that Crawford ripped him on social media before exiting the building. Which leaves Álvarez.
Canelo vs. Crawford would be the most hyped boxing match in years. It would be a clash between the sport’s biggest draw (Álvarez) and the sport’s pound-for-pound king (Crawford). Álvarez, however, candidly pumped the brakes on the possibility after winning by unanimous decision over Charlo.
“I always say if a fight makes sense, why not,” Álvarez, 33, said. “But he’s not in the plan.”
For the showdown to happen, Álvarez would have to drop one weight class and Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) would have to climb two to middleweight (160 pounds).
Álvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) is currently the undisputed super middleweight (168 pounds) champion. On Saturday, he became the first fighter in the four-belt era to successfully defend an undisputed title three times. The 36-year-old Crawford is the undisputed welterweight (147 pounds) champion after dismantling Errol Spence Jr. in July. Crawford is the only undisputed champion in two weight classes in the four-belt era.
Álvarez hasn’t fought as a middleweight since defeating Gennady Golovkin in September 2018. Crawford has never fought in that heavy of a division.
The other notable option for Álvarez’s next opponent is David Benavidez, the WBC’s mandatory challenger at super middleweight. Benavidez, 26, called out Álvarez after defeating Caleb Plant in March to improve to 27-0. Álvarez has two fights remaining on a three-fight contract he signed with Premier Boxing Champions in June.
“Whoever,” Álvarez said when asked if he will fight Benavidez next. “I don’t care.”
A more confident Álvarez emerged from his win Saturday after three unsatisfactory performances, a stretch that began with a loss to Dmitry Bivol in his second career light heavyweight (175 pounds) bout. He then wasn’t impressive in wins over Golovkin and John Ryder.
Following his win Saturday, Álvarez emphasized that the difference in performance against Charlo from his previous three fights stemmed from having surgery to repair his left hand nearly a year ago. He declared he was “back” after his most impressive showing since stopping Caleb Plant to become the undisputed champion in November 2021.
He proved too overpowering for Charlo, who climbed two weight classes to cash the biggest check of his career. Álvarez dominated from start to finish and knocked Charlo down with an overhand right in the seventh round. His strength was too much for Charlo. He was never in danger.
Álvarez’s next opponent will almost certainly be a step up in competition. Whether it’s Crawford, Benavidez or someone else remains to be seen.