Undisputed super middleweight crownholder Canelo Alvarez has made it clear that his preference is not to fight a countryman.
There are several frontrunners that Alvarez could consider for his next contest, and chief among the options is a trio of fighters of Mexican heritage, including light heavyweight Gilberto Ramirez, super middleweight David Benavidez, and middleweight Jaime Munguia.
Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) fought in Mexico exclusively until making his United States debut in 2010. Since then, the four-division champion has faced just a handful of boxers of Mexican heritage and beaten the likes of Alfonso Gomez in 2011, Josesito Lopez in 2012, Alfredo Angulo in 2014, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2016.
Former world champion and current boxing commentator Paul Malignaggi recently argued that Alvarez’s stance for not fighting a countryman is not a substantial one.
“That’s a bit weird, not to fight a fellow Mexican,” Malignaggi told FightHype.com. “You guys know better than me, but isn’t Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. a Mexican? But he sucks! So he fought him because he sucks! But when the [other] Mexicans know how to fight, you won’t fight them? You gotta get a better excuse than that or else you’re asking for that kind of criticism. If you don’t wanna fight him, find another reason you don’t wanna fight him. That’s fine. Fights don’t happen all the time, and Canelo’s a great fighter – he doesn’t have to fight everybody. But don’t make that [excuse] up, bro. You got Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on your record, bro!”
Following his unanimous decision victory against Gennadiy Golovkin, Alvarez was asked if he’d changed his position on fighting the American-born, Mexican-Ecuadorian David Benavidez.
“When I say I don’t wanna fight Mexicans [is] because I represent Mexico. That’s why. But I don’t care. I fight anybody. And I fought all of my entire life anybody. What do you think? I don’t wanna fight this one Mexican … Don’t lack respect when you talk about me. I’ve faced the best out there. I’ve never ducked anyone.”
Alvarez also used the opportunity to take a shot at Benavidez.
“I think this guy’s talking a lot of sh!t,” Alvarez said. “Look what he’s accomplished. Nothing. [He beat] one, single champion, Anthony Dirrell. Please, don’t disrespect [me]. Please guys.”
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.