Canelo Alvarez is considering moving up to heavyweight to fight Usyk


Canelo Alvarez could follow in Roy Jones Jr.'s footsteps.

Canelo Alvarez could follow in Roy Jones Jr.’s footsteps.

Canelo Álvarez has always been up for a challenge throughout his career. When he faced Floyd Mayweather in 2013, he had 43 fights under his belt at just 23 years old. He has won light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight titles. On Saturday, Álvarez will fight Dimitri Bivol for another light heavyweight belt. At 31 years old and 61 fights in total, Álvarez is running out of opponents to defeat and is hooking all of his championship belts. This happened almost 20 years ago with another fighter named Roy Jones Jr.

By the time Roy Jones turned 34, there wasn’t much left to do after wreaking havoc on the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. He decided to step up and earn a slice of one of the most famous championships in the sport, the heavyweight championship. In 2003, he faced off against John Ruiz for the WBA title, and Jones delivered arguably the best performance of his career with a unanimous decision.

The much smaller fighter stalked Ruiz around the ring, viciously hitting him with combinations and counters. If Ruiz had been a little smaller, Jones would have knocked him unconscious. He had won four of his last five fights by stoppage. Jones was an excellent fighter and showman in his day, but don’t forget that he was an absolute power puncher.

After the Ruiz fight, Jones’ career began to go in the wrong direction. He won a majority decision against Anonio Tarver before losing his next three fights. One of them was Tarver punching Jones down with his eyes closed. He lost twice to Tarver and between those he was crushed by Glen Taylor on a return to the heavyweight division. That was it for Jones. He would fight many more times and also win a cruiserweight championship, but he would never again be the unstoppable force he was against Ruiz.

Álvarez said he was open to the idea of ​​fighting Oleksandr Usyk for his heavyweight title. about ESPN. Usyk has a rematch with Anthony Joshua after upsetting him in a championship match last year. Usyk weighs just over 200 pounds and was the cruiserweight champion when he defeated Joshua. He not only won, but outclassed his more famous and larger opponent for the overwhelming majority of the fight.

If Usyk defeats Joshua in his July rematch, a fight for his heavyweight titles would be the biggest fight of this year or 2023, and it’s Álvarez’s best shot at a blockbuster fight outside of a third showdown with Gennady Golovkin – which would be over 40 Year old. It would certainly be another big payday, but Álvarez needs to be careful moving up and down weight classes.

Jones was older than Álvarez now when his career took a nosedive – 34 vs. 31 – but it also happened when he returned to light heavyweight after gaining weight for a heavyweight fight. It’s hard enough training for a top opponent. Gaining and losing weight are activities that are physically demanding enough on their own.

It would be fun to watch Álvarez and Usyk. With Usyk not a giant like Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, Álvarez has a better chance of getting the punishment he would. These are also two of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world. If Álvarez beats Usyk, forget about being the best pound for pound fighter, he could actually become the best fighter in the world.

It would be a high-profile matchup and certainly Álvarez’s greatest challenge as a pro. The skill and speed that sets Álvarez apart from almost every fighter he fights in the ring would only get him so far. Usyk is also an extremely experienced fighter who completely confused Josha during their fall 2021 fight, but he also weighs over 200 pounds and can defeat cruiserweights by stopping.

There would be a catch weight of 201, a pound over the cruiser weight limit, but Álvarez started boxing at 139 pounds. He’s come a long way, but even if he defeated Usyk, what’s next? Álvarez can’t stay in heavyweight and defend that title. The only option is to negotiate a deal to unify the titles against Fury. As big as the fight would be, Fury is 6-foot-9, 265 pounds and just a few years older than Álvarez. He was able to tuck the 5-foot-7 Álvarez into his shorts.

Anyway, if he chose not to defend it or lose it, he’d have to lose all that weight to get back to light heavyweight and who knows how good he’ll still be by then. And it could be the perfect storm leading to a Roy Jones. Jr.-like end to the glory days of his career

While I appreciate Álvarez’s willingness to take on any challenger and would love to see him fight Usyk, I also want his career to last as long as possible. So although it’s an intriguing duel, Álvarez is better off waiting for GGG. The longer he maintains his dominance, the more paychecks he will have in the future.

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