Jorge Masvidal Doesn't Have a Prayer Against Canelo Alvarez in a Boxing Match

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: Jorge Masvidal poses for a portrait backstage during the UFC 244 event at Madison Square Garden on November 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Mike Roach/Getty Images

Maybe this whole BMF thing has gone to Jorge Masvidal's head. 

How else can you explain the 34-year-old's sudden interest in tracking down multi-division boxing world champion Canelo Alvarez? 

Masvidal stopped Nate Diaz in three rounds last weekend at UFC 244 in New York. Now he wants his very own Mayweather-McGregor crossover fight, a sure-fire blockbuster that would shake up the entire fighting world. 

Masvidal wants the same thing McGregor wanted in 2017. He wants to beat an elite boxer at his own game. 

No kicks. No elbows. No grappling. No MMA tactics at all actually. Masvidal wants a straight boxing match against arguably the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the sport. 

And the guy just can't stop talking about it. 

"If Canelo wants to get his ass kicked, that's a fight I'll take," Masvidal said at the UFC 244 post-fight presser per MMA Fighting's Damon Martin.

And it didn't end there. Masvidal doubled down on the notion a few days later during an appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show.

"I feel like I could shock the world," Masvidal told Helwani.

It certainly would be a shock to see Masvidal seriously compete with Alvarez inside a boxing ring. It'd be an even bigger one if he actually pulled off the victory. Heck, it's kind of a shock Masvidal wants to do it at all. 

John Locher/Associated Press

Because Alvarez, 29, from Guadalajara, Mexico, is the real deal. He's boxing's lineal middleweight champion, a fighter who has already won legitimate world titles in three different weight classes along with a secondary one in a fourth. 

Last weekend, immediately after Masvidal tore through Diaz in a way that compelled the ringside physician to stop the action because of the gaping trench Masvidal opened over Diaz's right eye, Alvarez scored an even more devastating 11th-round knockout against WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas. 

Kovalev wasn't coherent enough to beg his way to more rounds the way Diaz tried. The Russian was so concussed he didn't even warrant a 10-count. 

Alvarez's thunderous destruction of Kovalev solidified what many people already believed. Alvarez is elite and in his prime. There's never been a better version of Alvarez than the one that stopped Kovalev, and the scariest part is that he might still be improving. 

So this isn't just some rando Masvidal thinks he might be able to beat for some quick cash. He's not even a 40-year-old retired fighter who has been out of the ring for over a year the way Mayweather was when he fought McGregor two years ago.

Alvarez is a made man. 

Even Masvidal, an excellent boxer by MMA standards, knows he's not as elite at throwing hands as Alvarez.  

"Is Canelo a better boxer than me? Has he thrown 10,000 jabs more than me, cuz that's what he does morning and night cuz he's just boxing? Yeah. He's a better boxer," Masvidal told Helwani during that same appearance.

But somehow Masvidal still legitimately believes he could defeat Alvarez in a boxing match.

"But can I bring some elements that boxers ain't used to that are in the legal realm of boxing and throw Canelo completely off his game? F--k yes," said Masival to Helwani.

It's not all Masvidal's fault. The idea seems to originate from a perception shared by some in the MMA community that McGregor gave Mayweather some real problems before the Irishman ultimately succumbed to the 10th-round stoppage.

This fascinating explanation has probably best been explained by retired MMA fighter and ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen. 

"I have heard people say that Floyd carried Conor McGregor, which is a level of absurdity that I cannot almost even speak to, but that is easier to explain than why it took almost a half-hour to get rid of a guy who had never put on the gloves before and stepped into the ropes," said Sonnen on his YouTube show.

For Sonnen and those who prescribe to this theory, McGregor's performance against Mayweather somehow "exposed" boxing.

"Apparently, you don't have to do this every day of your life," Sonnen said on the show. "Apparently, a guy who works on his hands every now and then and is a few years younger than you can come out there and run shop."

So when Masvidal says he wants to fight Alvarez, likeminded people, which apparently includes Masvidal, earnestly envision a competitive fight.

"There's something about him vs. Canelo that just works," said Sonnen more recently on YouTube, and he goes on to explain what he saw during Mayweather-McGregor that helps him think this way. 

"The MMA guys throw shots from different angles," said Sonnen. "It's not what the boxers are used to, and you saw Floyd out there scrambling, working to figure it out, to catch up, to do the math, to do the geometry to see where these angles were coming from and eventually figure it out."

But is that really how things played out?

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

An alternate theory as to why it took Mayweather so long to dispose of McGregor seems just as likely as Sonnen's take. It took so long because Mayweather didn't come to the ring as if he was seriously competing against someone who could actually beat him. 

Wouldn't that explain why Mayweather fought in a style he had never used before that night?

That doesn't mean boxing is better than MMA. It only means Mayweather is a much better boxer than McGregor. He's better because its all most elite boxers have ever done for their entire lives, and people who specialize in one thing almost always have a huge advantage over people who have to be pretty decent at many things.

And that holds true across all disciplines. Remember how easy it was for Jordan Burroughs to ragdoll Ben Askren all over the mat at the Beat the Streets' "Grapple at the Garden" event back in May?

That's probably similar to what Alvarez would do to Masvidal inside a boxing ring. The same would hold true the opposite way inside the Octagon. Masvidal would dominate Canelo under MMA rules. 

But Masvidal really seems to want Canelo in a boxing ring anyway, and just because he'd probably get wrecked doesn't mean the fight can't happen. Heck, it doesn't even mean it shouldn't. 

Because like Mayweather-McGregor, Canelo-Masvidal would be a worthy spectacle. It would entertain millions across the globe and likely earn Masvidal more money in one night than he's made during his entire career in the UFC. 

All those things would be great. 

But it'd also be a little outrageous, and while the whole circus-like atmosphere would be guaranteed as a splendid time for all, the fight itself would only be that way for Alvarez. 

Because Alvarez, unlike Mayweather, isn't the type to go rounds with someone just because. He's the type who sends 36-year-old world champions from two divisions above him into concussive sleeps with nary a warning. 

Masvidal might truly desire all that smoke, but he probably shouldn't. 

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