Five Possible Fights For Canelo Alvarez After Win Over Jaime Munguia

May 5, 2024
2 months
Canelo Alvarez with his world titles after beating Jaime Munguia

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez solidified his status as one of the finest fighters on the planet on Saturday night when the undisputed super-middleweight champion defended his titles with victory over Jaime Munguia.

Canelo (61-2-2 39 KO) overcame a bright start from Munguia (43-1-0 34 KO) to inflict a first professional defeat on his fellow Mexican. All three judges (117-110, 116-111, 115-112) sided with Alvarez, who sent Munguia to the canvas for the first time in his career.

After the victory, Canelo declared himself the best boxer in the world. Whether that’s the case is a matter of debate among fight fans, but what is certain is that the Mexican remains the sport’s biggest draw, and therefore for his potential opponents, their career-best paydays.

Fighters have been clamoring to fight Canelo for years and that will not be slowing down any time soon. So, who could be the next challenger to the super-middleweight king’s throne?

Canelo Finally Accepts Benavidez Challenge?

It didn’t take long for the subject of David Benavidez to come up in the post-fight interviews. The WBC interim champion is the one fighter above all others fans are desperate to see Canelo face.

Unfortunately, Canelo has refused to entertain the idea, reiterating what he said before his bout with Munguia – he’s ready if the numbers makes sense.

“If the money’s right … I can fight [Benavidez] right now,” he said. “I don’t give a s***. It’s only a matter of money at this point.”

Benavidez was ringside in Las Vegas on Saturday night, further heightening the excitement regarding a possible showdown with Canelo. First, though, the undefeated American will need to come through his light-heavyweight debut against former world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk on June 15.

Canelo Gets His Bivol Rematch?

Canelo has rarely been one to chase fights; such is his position at the top of the boxing tree, he’s earned the right to pick and choose whichever matchups he likes.

However, there is one bout Alvarez has publicly expressed his interest in over the years; a rematch with Dimitry Bivol. The Mexican made an ambitious step up to light-heavyweight in 2022 in an audacious bid to become a five-weight world champion.

Alvarez fell short as the skillfull, and bigger, Bivol earned a deserved points victory – and he wants his revenge.

Bivol, the WBA’s super champion at 175lbs, was expected to face unified light-heavyweight Artur Beterbiev in an undisputed bout on June 1 but the WBC, WBO and IBF champion was forced to withdraw after suffering a knee injury.

That fight is expected to be rearranged for the end of the year, but the possibility of facing Canelo and receiving another massive payday, could tempt Bivol into changing course.

Berlanga The Next In Line?

The entire super-middleweight division is lining up for their crack at Canelo, and one of the fighters near the front of that line is Edgar Berlanga.

The unbeaten American returned to knockout form in February with an impressive sixth-round stoppage of Ireland’s Padraig McCrory, which has seen him climb the rankings at 168lbs; Berlanga is now the WBA’s No 1 challenger and is ranked in the top five by the WBP and IBF.

The Berlanga fight would make plenty of sense for Canelo. Berlanga has a fast-growing fanbase so it would be an easy sell for pay-per-view, but he remains a fighter with several weaknesses the champion would be confident to exploit.

An expected win against a good level fighter and another chunky payday? Seems like the exact sort of fight Canelo likes.

Mbilli To Continue Rise?

One of the most dangerous contenders at super-middleweight is Christian Mbilli, the hard-hitting Frenchman ranked second by the WBC and WBA.

The unbeaten Mbilli holds the WBC’s Continental America title and returns to the ring against the experienced Mark Heffron on May 25. Come through that and his promoter Bob Arum is making a fight with either Canelo or Benavidez the top priority.

“If he gets through the fight on the 25th, we’ll sit down with co-promoter Camille Estephan and try to go after the biggest fight out there in either Canelo Alvarez or David Benavidez,” Arum told BoxingScene. “Those are tremendous fights. Mbilli is fearless in the ring. I don’t know how Canelo would feel about that.”

With both Canelo and Mbilli fighting this month, the timings certainly add up for a potential bout in the fall.

Morrell To Earn Mandatory Chance?

While Canelo continues to avoid his WBC mandatory challenger (Benavidez), he could give an opportunity to the WBA’s equivalent: interim champion David Morrell.

Cuba’s Morrell is only 10 fights into his pro career, but he carries a big reputation as a major talent and will contest his first world title with a step up to light-heavyweight to face Serbian-born American Radivoje Kalajdzic.

Their fight will be part of the massive August 3 card headlined by Terence Crawford’s super-welterweight world title bout against WBA champion Israil Madrimov.

Should Morrell capture the WBA world title at 175lbs (Bivol is the super champion), it could give Canelo an ideal opportunity to fulfill his ambition of becoming a five-weight world champion.