The world’s best pound-for-pound boxer doesn’t care about any unofficial list or ranking. Not after knocking out Sergey Kovalev on Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden. Not after capturing a fourth world title in a fourth division.
“I don’t care if they believe that I’m the best or I’m the best pound for pound,” Canelo Alvarez said through an interpreter after stopping Kovalev in the 11th round of their WBO light heavyweight title fight. “What I care (about) is to come here to make history, to show people who I am and create history.”
Alvarez, 29, holds world titles in the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions and will take time to recalibrate before figuring out who to fight next. He was gracious in victory, complimenting Kovalev’s power and standing within the light heavyweight division.
His longtime promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, was a lot more effusive in his praise of Alvarez.
“Canelo is a fighter who will continue to prove everyone wrong,” said De La Hoya, who founded Golden Boy Promotions. “I have to admit, at times, he proves me wrong. But that’s who Canelo is. We must acknowledge that he is one of the best, if not the best Mexican fighter. He is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. We have to give him that acknowledgment.”
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 knockouts) and De La Hoya are in the midst of a rift after Golden Boy failed to secure a fight against mandatory IBF middleweight challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Alvarez was stripped of his title in August and referred to his connection with De La Hoya as a “working relationship” ahead of his fight against Kovalev.
Yet they move forward with more history on the horizon.
“We want to continue making history,” Alvarez said. “We are ready for anything.”
Options are aplenty:
Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) was perhaps the top light heavyweight before losing to Alvarez. Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) holds the WBC and IBF titles and could provide a challenge.
Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said last week they’d consider fighting Beterbiev. Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) holds the WBA title and could be a viable option should Alvarez remain in the division.
If Alvarez chooses to move back down, English champion Callum Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) is the most logical option at the 168-pound division. He beat George Groves for the the WBA super title in 2018 and is making his second defense title defense against John Ryder on Nov. 23.
Fellow Englishman Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) is also an interesting option. He holds the WBO title and is making his first title defense on Saturday against Marcelo Esteban Cocerces.
Alvarez already conquered the middleweight division and has signature victories over Gennady Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) and Daniel Jacobs to show for it. He said Saturday that Golovkin is “really not a challenge for me, but if it represents business, why not?”
WBC titlist Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs) is a top option at 160 pounds and is set to defend his title against Dennis Hogan on Dec. 7.