Home Boxing News Canelo Alvarez needs to face David Benavidez to prove he is an...

Canelo Alvarez needs to face David Benavidez to prove he is an all-time great

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez. Photo credit: Getty Images

Undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 60-2-2 (39) has no choice but to defend his titles against leading contender David ”El Monstruo’ Benavidez 28-0 (24) if he wants to be considered one of the greatest Mexican boxers of all time.

The 26-year-old Benavidez from Phoenix, Arizona is fresh off his impressive sixth-round knockout victory over former two-weight world champion Demetirus ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade 32-1 (19) at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada last Saturday night.

In the wake of that victory the drums have been beating for an Alvarez-Benavidez bout next year.

Mexican superstar Alvarez, 33, holds all four major sanctioning body belts at 168-pounds along with the prestigious Ring Magazine championship. All roads to glory go through him.

Some fans and pundits are already claiming four-weight world champion Alvarez is the best boxer to ever come out of Mexico, eclipsing national heroes Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez and Ruben Olivares.

But trainer turned pundit Teddy Atlas says the popular redhead still has more to achieve if he wants to be mentioned in the same breathe as those legends, starting with a victory over Benavidez.

“If Canelo is gonna be called one of the greatest Mexicans and the top 168 pounder and accept those accolades, then he has to fight Benavidez,” he said on his eponymous program The Fight with Teddy Atlas. “He has to fight Benavidez to justify that. He has to.”

And as impressive as Benavidez looked against Andrade, Atlas says he will have a whole different riddle to solves in the form of Alvarez, who has lost just once in the past decade in a bout contested outside of his natural weight class.

“He can’t just walk forward the way he did with Andrade. The punches that will land on him will have more consequence, they will have more impact,” Atlas said.

Benavidez has been relentless in his pursuit of Alvarez in the week since the Andrade fight, calling him out in every interview he has conducted.

“Why does he have all the belts? He should just do celebrity boxing matches,” said Benavidez said to ProBox TV.

“Why is he still holding the belts hostage and not giving the number one contender the opportunities they deserve? You owe it to the people. Let’s give the people what they want to see.”

There is a groundswell of support for the fight too, with many in the industry with no skin in the game getting behind the proposed bout. You can count trainer Robert Garcia amongst them.

“At this point I’d pick Benavidez, but Canelo is a great warrior, a great fighter, very experienced. So he might find a way to beat him,” Garcia said to Little Giant Boxing.

Garcia added the while he is leaning towards Benavidez, it is close to a pick ’em fight.

“I’d pick Benavidez, but does Canelo have a great chance? Of course, he has a great chance,” he said.

“He’s strong, he’s solid, he has a great chin too to the point where he might be able to hang in there. If he throws more punches, puts more pressure, and stays on top of him, he could actually beat him, maybe by decision.”