MINNEAPOLIS – The WBA hasn’t ordered Canelo Alvarez to defend his “super” 168-pound championship against David Morrell Jr.
The Cuban southpaw owns the WBA’s “world” super middleweight title and, in accordance with the WBA’s standards, has earned his shot at one of the Mexican superstar’s four 168-pound crowns. A showdown with Alvarez is the fight Morrell truly wants, yet he understands it won’t happen at any point in the foreseeable future.
Alvarez had surgery to repair his left wrist last week and might not fight until September. Regardless, he has one more fight left on his contract with DAZN and Matchroom Boxing, whereas Morrell is promoted by Warriors Boxing and affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Moreover, an opponent with eight fights on his record, no matter how talented, represents high-risk, low-reward work for the 32-year-old Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs), who remains one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound. With David Benavidez and Caleb Plant committed to fighting each other next, Morrell (8-0, 7 KOs) doesn’t have an obvious opponent in the aftermath of his 12th-round stoppage Saturday night of his mandatory challenger, Aidos Yerbossynuly.
“I don’t want him to get into chasing Benavidez or chasing Caleb Plant,” Ronnie Shields, Morrell’s trainer, told BoxingScene.com. “[Benavidez] is a secondary champion. [Morrell] wants to fight Canelo, but, of course, Canelo’s not gonna fight him. It’s up to the management, like always, what’s next. You know? And I’ve just gotta come up with a game plan for whoever’s next.”
Regardless, Shields is pleased with the progress Morrell demonstrated during their third fight together. Morrell dominated Kazakhstan’s Yerbossynuly (16-1, 11 KOs) on his way to dropping the courageous contender twice in the 12th round and savagely stopping him with a right uppercut in a main event Showtime televised from The Armory.
“I said it would take two or three fights to get him where I want him to be,” Shields said. “You seen the difference [Saturday night] from the past two fights. He boxed when he had to box. He stayed in the middle of the ring, like I wanted him to. A couple times he got on the ropes, when he wasn’t supposed to. I had to jump on him about that, but overall, yeah, he did 100 percent what we trained to do.”
The taller, younger Morrell patiently picked apart Yerbossynuly, who bled profusely from his nose for most of their one-sided fight.
The 24-year-old Morrell finally dropped his stubborn opponent with a straight left hand in the 12th round. Yerbossynuly got up and fought until Morrell landed two left hands and a destructive right uppercut that left his battered challenger flat on his back, unable to continue.
“This guy was supposed to be one of the toughest guys David [fought], but I knew the guy could take punishment,” said Shields, who feels their fight should’ve been stopped as early as the eighth round. “But then the guy started getting dirty. That’s when [Morrell] started losing his head a little bit, and I had to get on him about that. But he did the game plan – stayed in the middle of the ring, landed uppercuts and body shots.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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