Canelo Alvarez will face Jermall Charlo in the first of a three-fight deal Alvarez signed with PBC. The fight is targeted to be held in September and broadcast on Showtime PPV.
Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) is the WBC middleweight champion, but he hasn't fought since a decision victory over Juan Macias Montiel in June 2021. He'll move up in weight to challenge Alvarez for his undisputed super middleweight championship.
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs), who defended his titles with a decision over John Ryder in Guadalajara, Mexico, in May, had said he wanted a rematch against Dmitry Bivol, who handed him the second loss of his career in May 2022 in a light heavyweight bout. Boxing fans have wanted Alvarez to face WBC interim champion David Benavidez, but Charlo got the chance.
How does Alvarez defeat a top fighter like Charlo? Can Charlo upset Alvarez after his long layoff? Is Benavidez next for Alvarez if he wins? How about a fight against Errol Spence Jr.?
Mike Coppinger and Ben Baby explain what the deal means, the chances for both fighters and what the future would hold if Alvarez wins.
Is Charlo the best option for Canelo for this fight? Why is he taking it?
Charlo makes sense for Alvarez's second fight this year. The twin brother of junior middleweight undisputed champion Jermell Charlo, Jermall was one of two finalists for the Canelo sweepstakes over two years ago before boxing's top star elected to face Bivol.
Bivol routed Alvarez. Charlo, meanwhile, hasn't competed in two years, when he struggled with Juan Macias Montiel. Between the inactivity and Charlo's personal issues, Alvarez appears to be fighting him at an optimal time.
After going the distance in a win over Ryder in May, the Englishman said that Alvarez is past his best days. Many observers echoed that sentiment. But if Alvarez can pick apart Charlo, an undefeated fighter with plenty of name recognition, perhaps some of those thoughts will wash away.
Charlo is among the most outspoken fighters and will surely help build the pay-per-view event into a marquee one. Alvarez needed a dance partner who could be portrayed as the villain, perhaps, and bring the fire out of him much like Caleb Plant did when they met in November 2021. For all of these reasons, Charlo is an attractive option to kick off Alvarez's three-fight deal with PBC. -- Coppinger
How does Alvarez win this fight and how much of a chance does he have?
Alvarez will be installed as a solid favorite, and besides being the far more accomplished fighter, activity will be a leading factor why. Since Charlo's successful middleweight title defense against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in September 2020, he has competed only once -- against Montiel. Alvarez, on the other hand, has fought seven times in that period against some of the best fighters in the world.
Alvarez should be far sharper given his recent activity and Charlo's lack thereof, but Alvarez has another obvious advantage. While Charlo might actually be the naturally bigger man, Alvarez has competed twice at 175 pounds, including against Bivol last year, and has fought at 168 pounds seven times.
Charlo is the WBC middleweight champion (despite no defenses in two years) and has never fought above 160 pounds. What Charlo undoubtedly possesses is an excellent power jab, knockout power in both hands and a patient approach in the ring. The former 154-pound titleholder has a great trainer in Ronnie Shields, who led Erislandy Lara to what many believed was a win over Alvarez in 2014 (Alvarez won a split decision with scorecards of 117-111, 115-113 and 113-115).
But Charlo will contend with easily his toughest opponent yet. Charlo has never faced an elite fighter, let alone an all-time great. If Charlo is at his best despite the inactivity, he should be able to give Alvarez issues with his jab and boxing ability. But if Charlo isn't, and Alvarez hasn't slipped as many believe, then Canelo will have his way. -- Coppinger
What does the three-fight deal mean and what are the options for Canelo under the PBC umbrella?
Alvarez will have a plethora of options for his second and third fights of the new agreement -- tentatively planned for May and September 2024 -- after the Charlo bout. If Alvarez loses or it's ultracompetitive, they could run it back with a rematch.
If not, there's super middleweight phenom David Morrell, former two-division champion Demetrius Andrade, who famously exchanged words with Alvarez following his win over Billy Joe Saunders in May 2021 and, of course, Benavidez, the matchups fans want most to see. PBC could even explore a rematch with Plant, whom Alvarez stopped in the 11th round to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship in November 2021.
Outside of 168 pounds, there are plenty of more options. Spence has long wished for a super fight showdown with Alvarez. He's set to fight Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship on July 29, and, there's a rematch clause, but perhaps Spence would be willing to jump up to 168 pounds next year for his biggest payday.
When you're discussing a fight with the sport's top star, conventional wisdom often is pushed aside. A win over the likes of Alvarez is career-defining, and even in defeat, fighters make life-changing money and raise their profile exponentially. Maybe PBC could even explore a bout between Canelo and Jermell Charlo.
There would be a natural storyline, too, with Charlo looking to exact revenge for his twin brother should Canelo defeat Jermall first.
No matter whom Canelo fights, the events will be marquee, and it's a coup for PBC, which pulled Alvarez away from Matchroom. -- Coppinger
What can Charlo do to upset Canelo? What about his style can trouble Alvarez?
It seems simple but Charlo can pull off the upset by using his biggest strengths to his advantage. He will have roughly a four-inch height and two-inch reach edge over Alvarez. That bodes well for Charlo if he pumps his jab consistently while also keeping Canelo off rhythm and not allowing him to time the right hand down the middle.
Charlo's best win in recent years was in 2020 against Derevyanchenko -- a skilled, technical fighter who is about the same size as Alvarez. In that fight, Charlo used his long jab to maintain distance and set up big shots. Alvarez is a much better fighter than Derevyanchenko, but if Charlo can remain disciplined and active during the fight, he will have a decent shot at a career-defining victory. -- Baby
Will we ever see Alvarez vs. Benavidez and why is that the matchup we want to see?
According to Coppinger, Alvarez signed a three-fight deal to fight under the Premier Boxing Champions umbrella. This could end up being a legacy-defining run for Alvarez with some wins over massive names like Benavidez.
Benavidez, who holds the WBC interim super middleweight title, has built himself into a position to be a big draw for Alvarez. His combination of size and power also poses a massive risk for Alvarez and would arguably be the best opponent he could face in the 168-pound division.
Let's also not forget that a potential showdown between Spence and Alvarez has long been floated by Spence, with the idea of that matchup taking place inside AT&T Stadium in Texas. That's where Alvarez set the indoor attendance record in North America with his 2021 win over Saunders. Spence, who is from the Dallas area, has also sold well at the home of the Cowboys.
That would be a massive fight. But for boxing purists, Alvarez-Benavidez might be one of the biggest. And for a man like Alvarez, who is passionate about enhancing his legacy, logic indicates that it's a matchup Alvarez wants before he retires. -- Baby