3 Boxers Who Have the Best Chance of Beating Canelo Alvarez

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2021

3 Boxers Who Have the Best Chance of Beating Canelo Alvarez

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    Saul "Canelo" Alvarez stopped Turkish challenger Avni Yildirim after three rounds Saturday night in Miami.

    Alvarez made quick work of Yildirim. The Mexican was a big favorite in the fight, and he proved the oddsmakers right by bashing his opponent to bits in just three rounds.

    Previously, Alvarez, 30, had stated that he wants to be the first fighter from his home country to become boxing's undisputed champion at 168 pounds. That meant he had to get through his mandatory obligation of facing Yildirim.

    Now that he's done that, the boxing world turns its attention toward Alvarez's next possible opponent, as well as who among that group might be able to defeat him.

Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs)

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    Alvarez already fought Gennadiy Golovkin twice, and some observers believe GGG deserved the nod in both fights.

    As things officially stand, Alvarez and Golovkin battled to a draw in 2017, and the Mexican won the rematch by majority decision a year later.

    While most would agree that Alvarez has become a better fighter since those two showdowns, and at least some in the sport would argue that the 38-year-old has declined, Golovkin has given Alvarez his two toughest fights since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2013.

    For that reason alone, Golovkin makes sense as one of the few fighters in boxing who might be able to hand Alvarez a loss. Golovkin would probably have to move up to 168 pounds to get the third fight, but he has already shown he's capable of matching Alvarez inside a ring punch-for-punch.

Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs)

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    Listen, Andre Ward is retired from the sport, but the former two-division world champion teases enough comebacks that he should probably be included on any list of fighters in the world who could defeat Alvarez in a prizefight.

    Ward hasn't fought since stopping Sergey Kovalev in the eighth round in 2017, but he's only 37 and a potential showdown against the clear pound-for-pound best fighter in boxing, as well as the huge pile of money the fight would net him, could be enough to lure him back.

    Like Alvarez is today, Ward was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport a few years back. In fact, Ward might even have been a more clear-cut choice for the top spot back in 2017.

    The former 168- and 175-pound champion never lost as a professional and claims to never have lost a fight at any level. He's one of the best fighters in recent history, so Ward makes the list here.

Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs)

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    Minus facing an out-of-retirement Andre Ward, Alvarez would probably be listed as a favorite on the betting market against all the other fighters in boxing's middleweight and super middleweight divisions.

    Alvarez could find some trouble at 160 from the likes of Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade, but those fights aren't likely to happen now that Alvarez has moved to 168.

    Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant are titleholders at 168 who could at least give Alvarez some interesting puzzles to solve. Twenty-four-year-old powerhouse David Benavidez could match the Mexican's ferocious power, but Alvarez's toughest conceivable future fights probably lie in boxing's light heavyweight division.

    Both Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev present interesting quandaries for Alvarez, but the latter's unified championship status and the fact that he's knocked out every opponent he has faced as a professional make Beterbiev the toughest out for Alvarez at 175.

    The Russian hits like a mule's kick and throws punches like his life depends on it. Alvarez is probably the best fighter in boxing in any weight class, but even he might have to yield to something like that coming in a 175-pound package.