Earlier this week, media reports surfaced outlining the two presentations that await the proverbial threshold of United Super Middleweight Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Offer number one is from Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). It’s a one-match deal to confront Jermall Charlo at the Cinco de Mayo weekend. Presumably, Charlo, the WBC middleweight champion, would gain weight to challenge Alvarez for his four belts in the 168 lb. division.
Offer number two is a duel deal with Eddie Hearn and DAZN. That would involve Alvarez moving up to light heavyweight for a chance at Dmitry Bivol’s WBA title at the Cinco de Mayo weekend and then a revisit of his rivalry with Gennadiy Golovkin at the Mexican Independence Day weekend in September.
Both deals offer financial reward and heavy power when it comes to the Mexican’s already solid work. Both also have a downside or two.
With the Haymon / PBC deal, Alvarez would have what he apparently wants most of all – flexibility and self-determination when it comes to future career options. With this one-fight deal, Alvarez would be free to move on and consider other options after encountering Charlo. If the fight is a classic or an extraordinarily successful pay-per-view, he can choose to have the reunion without any business entanglement whatsoever. In Charlo, he will also have a B-side that is good on the microphone and can help sell the fight to the public. Competitively, critics might grasp the fact that Charlo would gain weight and that in his last fight, against the unprecedented Juan Macias Montiel, he did not look so spectacular.
With the Hearn / DAZN plan, Alvarez would be linked to the wannabe Netflix of sports for a full year, unable to explore other options without significant politics and / or legal effort. Dmitry Bivol, though a legitimate and intriguing challenge, has no charisma, delivers no buzz, and does not speak English. A third fight with Golovkin will do outstanding business (probably bring more purchases than any other option for Canelo), but Alvarez has so much bad blood for the Kazakh (and a declared desire to never put another penny in his pocket ) that it’s hard to see him ever sharing the main stage with Triple G again.
On the plus side of the Hearn / DAZN agreement, however, is that both battles are attractive from a competitive standpoint. But then again, so is the Charlo battle. Charlo is in his physical prime and is by nature a skilled, patient, disciplined boxer-puncher. Bivol is also skilled and in his physical prime, but is less flexible in style and temperament. Golovkin is still a very capable attacking fighter, but will be 40 by the time he can face Canelo. There is a legitimate debate over whether Charlo, Bivol or Golovkin would present the greater challenge to the Mexican superstar.
Alvarez has been a free agent since 2020 and, after just three fights, has taken his way out of an 11-fight deal with DAZN. He would then enter into a one-fight deal with the streaming service in December 2020 for a fight with Callum Smith and again for a two-fight deal, tackling Avni Yildirim and Billy Joe Saunders in 2021. For his November 2021 match with Caleb Plant, Alvarez signed a one-match deal with PBC for a Showtime PPV event that reportedly yielded more than 800,000 purchases.