Canelo Alvarez, please choose from among these 5 potential opponents

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  • Saúl Álvarez
    Saúl Álvarez
    Mexican boxer
  • Artur Beterbiev
    Russian boxer

Canelo Alvarez’s trainer and manager Eddy Reynoso reportedly said that he will have news about the Mexican star’s next opponent soon.

Who will it be?

Alvarez and Co. have suggested the undisputed super middleweight champion will face cruiserweight titleholder Ilunga Makabu in an effort to win a belt in another division, assuming Makabu defeats Thabiso Mchunu on Jan. 19.

If it’s not a cruiserweight, then it’s anyone’s guess who Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) will face. We’ve heard rumors about potential matchups with top fighters from 160 to 200 pounds. Some have even suggested Alvarez should challenge smallish heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Usyk, which isn’t realistic.

Here are the five best possible opponents for Alvarez. Note: Title belts play no role in this list. Alvarez has enough of those.

5. Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs)

Light heavyweight titleholder Dmitriy Bivol (left) has the size and ability to give Canelo Alvarez trouble. Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing

Bivol, a light heavyweight titleholder, is an excellent all-around fight but isn’t as physically imposing as fellow champ Artur Beterbiev. For that reason, Alvarez and his handlers might be more inclined to face Bivol over Beterbiev. Plus, Bivol has an impressive track record. He defeated in succession Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal and Joe Smith Jr. in 2018 and 2019. A victory over a champion with that kind of resume would add considerably to Alvarez’s already sterling legacy.

4. Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs)

Fans want to know whether Alvarez could overcome Artur Beterbiev’s physical advantages. Bernard Brault / Groupe Yvon Michel

Many fans are intrigued by this potential matchup because of the 175-pound titleholder’s size, strength and knockout record: 17 fights, 17 stoppages. Alvarez would have an edge in skill and experience but the Russian’s physical advantages would seem to give him a realistic chance of scoring an upset, if that’s what it would be. Beterbiev is not a mere brute. He had a long, successful amateur career, meaning he has the skill set to set up the thudding blows that destroy his opponents. Alvarez has said many times that he seeks out challenges. This is a challenge.

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

Gennadiy Golovkin (left) gave Alvarez all he could handle in two previous fights. Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Triple-G has earned a third fight with Alvarez after a controversial draw and a close decision in Alvarez’s favor, although Alvarez wouldn’t give Golovkin the opportunity for that reason. He might do so because the popular Kazakhstani probably would bring in more money than any other potential opponent. On top of that, most observers believe Alvarez would face minimal risk against a fighter who turns 40 on April 8. So Alvarez would make a nice chunk of change and, if the experts are right, finally separate himself from his greatest rival. Why not fight Triple-G?

2. Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs)

Jermall Charlo (left) would have to move up in weight to face Alvarez. Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

The 160-pound titleholder would give up a size advantage to Alvarez, who is now a legitimate 168-pounder. And that’s in addition to Alvarez’s perceived edges in ability and experience. Still, this is a fight many fans would love to see. Charlo is an excellent all-around fighter who is quick, athletic and durable. He would have a legitimate of chance of beating Alvarez. On top of that, he and twin brother Jermell Charlo have a substantial fan base, which makes him an attractive opponent from a business standpoint. Charlo is a solid option for Alvarez.

1. David Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs)

Many believe David Benavidez is the best-possible opponent for Alvarez. Stephanie Trapp / Showtime

This is the fight. Benavidez has ability and quick hands but it’s his power that sets him apart from Alvarez’s last four opponents, which is why he’s a genuine, mouth-watering threat to the man many consider No. 1 pound for pound. They fight in the same division, which is ideal. And it seems to be the matchup the fans want, which means this fight also makes sense from a business standpoint. Alvarez deserves credit for defeating Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant to become the undisputed 168-pound champion. Now it’s time to fight the best-possible opponent in the division, Benavidez.

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