Canelo Alvarez’s search for May 4 opponent has become ridiculous

Canelo Alvarez has to fight someone, right?

The undisputed 168-pound champion and elite power broker is expected to defend his titles on May 4 — only two-plus months from now — in Las Vegas but no clear choice has emerged.

First it was Jermall Charlo. It seemed all but certain that Alvarez would face the 160-pound titleholder in his second fight with Premier Boxing Champions, particularly after Alvarez announced he would take on an “American.”

Only it didn’t happen for whatever reason. Now it appears Alvarez has moved on. He reportedly has split with PBC, which represents Charlo.

Then unbeaten 168-pound contender Jaime Munguia of Mexico emerged as a leading candidate in spite of Alvarez’s “American” comment.

Promoter Eddie Hearn, who is affiliated with DAZN, has pushed for an Alvarez-Munguia fight. ESPN even reported that Alvarez had agreed to face his countryman, who knocked out John Ryder on Jan. 27.

Still, no announcement has been made. And Oscar De La Hoya, Munguia’s promoter, said he doesn’t believe the fight will happen.

“No chance. I don’t think so, I really don’t,” De La Hoya told combat sports writer Ariel Helwani. The comment doesn’t mean that Munguia is off the table — who believes promoters? — but it raises doubt.

Now speculation surrounds Edgar Berlanga, who created a buzz by starting his career with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts. He’s coming off a sixth-round stoppage of Padraig McCrory, which was emphatic but didn’t mean much given McCrory’s limitations.

Hearn said an Alvarez-Berlanga fight will happen but he didn’t say when. Berlanga has said he wants to fight Alvarez and his aggressive style would suit the champion’s. However, he would be perceived as a pushover for Alvarez, which might alienate fans and limit viewership.

Some might say the same about Munguia, although he’s much farther along than Berlanga is.

Pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford was mentioned as a candidate — one who would generate considerable interest — but Alvarez made it clear that he doesn’t want to face an opponent who would be moving up three weight classes for the fight.

David Benavidez? Forget it.

The former two-time 168-pound pound champ might be the only realistic opponent who could generate the kind of money Alvarez demands before he steps into the ring.

The problem is that Alvarez isn’t ready to accept that challenge, which is obvious to Benavidez. The contender has agreed to move up to 175 to face former beltholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk, although they are still working out details.

Boxing writer Dan Rafael reported that PBC was willing to pay Alvarez the money he wanted to fight Charlo but only if he also agreed to face Benavidez in September.

The fact Alvarez severed ties with PBC clearly indicates that he wasn’t interested in such an arrangement, which makes us wonder whether Alvarez-Benavidez will ever happen.

So to take inventory: Alvarez has one potential opponent (Charlo) with whom he couldn’t reach terms, two (Munguia and Berlanga) who wouldn’t inspire the fans, one (Crawford) who is too small and one (Benavidez) who many believe Alvarez is going out of his way to avoid.

All of this leaves us exasperated and less and less interested in Alvarez’s next fight, unless he shocks everyone by facing Benavidez.

De La Hoya used the word “mess” to describe the situation. That’s exactly what it is.


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