LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez has a unique understanding of what Jermell Charlo is in the process of attempting to accomplish.
Four years ago, the Mexican legend was training for his own two-division move up in weight. Alvarez advanced from the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, at which he defeated Daniel Jacobs in May 2019, to the light heavyweight maximum of 175 pounds for a shot at Russian knockout artist Sergey Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight title.
The 5-foot-8 Alvarez suspects, though, that Charlo has less apprehension about competing at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds for the first time Saturday night than Alvarez had when he challenged Kovalev. Charlo stands 6 feet, four inches taller than Alvarez, whereas Alvarez was four inches shorter than Kovalev, whom Alvarez knocked out in the 11th round of a competitive fight in November 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I think he’s gonna do well because he have height and he’s a strong fighter,” Alvarez told BoxingScene.com following their final press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand. “To do that for me is crazy, right? But I think he’s gonna do better [at] ’54 because maybe he has struggles to make weight at ’54 because he’s big. But I don’t know. He took that challenge like I took that challenge before, and that’s it.”
The 33-year-old Alvarez moved down to the super middleweight division for his first fight after he defeated Kovalev. He lost his second light heavyweight bout to Dmitry Bivol in May 2022, but Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) has no regrets about moving up two weight classes to challenge himself versus Kovalev.
“For me, it was crazy because I’m not that big,” Alvarez said. “But I felt great. I felt strong.”
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), who is the same age as Alvarez, has not weighed in for any of his 37 professional fights at more than 155¾ pounds. The undisputed junior middleweight champion informed BoxingScene.com on Tuesday that he might come in slightly lighter than 168 pounds when he steps on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale on Friday afternoon outside of T-Mobile Arena.
“Making the weight shouldn’t be an issue,” Charlo told a small group of reporters following their press conference Wednesday. “It feels good. I kinda feel it, but I kinda don’t. You still gotta work to make [weight] and come in at the same weight he is.”
Guadalajara’s Alvarez is listed by most sportsbooks as a 4-1 favorite to win their 12-round, 168-pound championship clash at T-Mobile Arena. Houston’s Charlo will end a 16-month layoff largely caused by two broken bones in his left hand, injuries he suffered during a sparring session a few days before last Christmas.
Alvarez-Charlo will headline a four-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View event scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.