Undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez’s calendar seems to be set for 2023.
On Saturday, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo weekend, Alvarez will defend his 168-pound crown in a homecoming fight against John Ryder.
Should all go well, Alvarez remains committed to facing recent conqueror Dmitry Bivol in a rematch to commemorate Mexican Independence Day weekend in September.
“Right now I am 100 percent focused on John Ryder. You know, it's boxing. You never know. The goal is to have the rematch with Bivol with the same terms [at light heavyweight]. I think I am better than him,” Alvarez said in an interview with BoxingScene.com and other reporters.
Alvarez admitted that he’ll finally be fighting at full strength against Ryder after dealing with a lingering left wrist surgery that surfaced in mid-2021 and required surgery last fall.
“As a fighter, I said 'I can do one more fight. I can do one more fight.' In the Bivol fight training camp, I got platelets to have the recovery. I didn't train 100%, sparring and everything. At the end of the day, it is what it is. But I am now 100% perecent. I am able to train 100%. That motivated me a lot,” said Alvarez. “The injury bothered me a lot in fights. Even in the locker room when putting the gloves on. It's really hard to handle this pain. My pain tolerance is very high, but at some point you can't anymore … That's everything for a fighter when you're able to do everything.”
When Alvarez was asked to preview what his future could look like in 2024 after a bout with Bivol, and if he would face a group of fighters featuring the likes of David Benavidez, David Morrell, or Jermall Charlo, Alvarez said he is ready to take on all comers.
“You know I fight with everybody and the best out there. When [Gennadiy] Golovkin first appeared in the boxing community, it was the same thing as right now with Benavidez. And I did [fight Golovkin]. But right now my short-term goal is the rematch with Bivol, and then we'll see.
“I just need to fight and keep doing what I have been doing my whole career. I always fight with the best out there.”
Benavidez is the mandatory challenger for Alvarez’s WBC title, and plenty of back-and-forth banter has been delivered from both sides around a potential matchup.
Benavidez recently claimed that he wanted to take over Alvarez’s throne by fighting around the key dates of Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day weekends.
“It's not that easy, man,” said Alvarez. “Look at the numbers [against Caleb Plant] and what he did in his pay-per-view. Saying it is very easy, but it's not that easy.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.