Eddie Hearn can’t say with conviction who he thinks Canelo Alvarez will fight next.
Hearn hopes Alvarez decides to box one of the two super middleweight champions he promotes, Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith. The British promoter also realizes that Alvarez’s handlers at Golden Boy Promotions have had conversations with representatives for Ryota Murata, which could lead to Alvarez facing the Japanese star in his home country.
While he is unsure about Alvarez’s upcoming opponent, Hearn is certain that Alvarez is finished fighting at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds. Hearn believes that’ll be too difficult for Alvarez now that he has moved all the way up to the light heavyweight maximum of 175 pounds.
“For me, and this is only as a fan, I don’t think you’ll see Canelo Alvarez at 160 again,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com while in Miami to promote the Demetrius Andrade-Luke Keeler card Thursday night. “You know, when you’ve boxed at 175, to drop 15 pounds to come back to middleweight, I think he’s gonna box at 168. He’s got loads of opponents there. But again, that’s just an opinion as a fan.”
The 29-year-old Alvarez weighed in at a career-high 174½ pounds for his 11th-round knockout of Sergey Kovalev on November 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Mexican superstar since has given up the WBO light heavyweight title he won from Russia’s Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs), which seemingly means he’ll at least drop down to super middleweight for his next fight.
Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) owns a version of the WBA’s middleweight title, but his fight against Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) likely would be contested at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
Facing Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) or Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) would afford Alvarez an opportunity to strengthen his claim as a four-division champion.
Alvarez knocked out England’s Rocky Fielding (28-2, 16 KOs) to win the WBA’s secondary super middleweight title in December 2018 at Madison Square Garden. But Smith, who stopped Fielding in the first round three years before Alvarez beat him, is the WBA’s true champion at 168 pounds.
“We’ve had a couple conversations with Golden Boy,” Hearn said. “Obviously, you’ve got Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders, both ready-made opponents for Canelo at 168. They’re talking to Murata as well, which is a strange choice, but I could see how it works with Japan and stuff like that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.