The guessing game on how Canelo Alvarez will guide his career moving forward is over. 

The undisputed super middleweight champion had an uneven year in 2022, losing a unanimous decision against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May and winning a unanimous decision in a trilogy bout against archrival Gennadiy Golovkin in September.

Alvarez insisted that he needed to rest his ailing body after beating Triple G and he’s since undergone left wrist surgery. The Mexican star was noncommittal if he’d be ready for a May or September return next year, and against who or at what weight. 

Now he’s made his goals crystal clear. 

"My plan right now is to return in May. I'm going to start training in January and see how I feel after that," Alvarez told ESPN. "The idea is to return in May with a tuneup fight to see how I feel and then get the rematch against Bivol in September. That's the only thing I want for my career right now."

It remains unclear what Alvarez’s definition of a tuneup entails. 

Outside of Avni Yildirim in 2021 and Rocky Fielding in 2018, Alvarez has consistently faced tough competition and has rarely fought in bouts billed as tune-ups over the last decade. 

Alvarez has long maintained he wants to fight in the United Kingdom, and perhaps he and promoter Eddie Hearn are already eyeing a soft touch overseas.

Considering Alvarez’s upcoming intent, a fight against the winner of the forthcoming David Benavidez-Caleb Plant should be ruled out for the time being in 2023.

The winner of the bout would be the No. 1 mandatory challenger for Alvarez’s 168-pound WBC title. 

"Let's see how that fight goes," Alvarez said. "It's a very competitive fight and to me, I see Benavidez winning, but my focus is on the Bivol rematch."

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.