Canelo Alvarez challenging Oleksandr Usyk for heavyweight world titles 'unrealistic'

There is talk of Canelo Alvarez challenging Oleksandr Usyk for the heavyweight world titles, but can it actually happen?

The Mexican said he is open to moving up and taking on Oleksandr Usyk for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. 

According to promoter Eddie Hearn, Canelo would fight the Ukrainian if they can organise the bout at 201lbs - one pound over the cruiserweight limit.

Canelo is currently campaigning at light heavyweight and the last fighter to move up from the 175lb limit and win world honours at heavyweight is Roy Jones Jr in 2004.

While a fight between the pair would send shockwaves through the boxing fraternity, Andy Clarke isn't convinced it'll come to fruition.

"I'm not sure that's that realistic," that analyst told Planet Sport.

"I think once you've stepped above cruiserweight and Usyk's been up at heavyweight - alright he's not had that many fights because he had a couple of injuries - but he's been up above cruiserweight for quite a while now, I think getting back down might be really tricky.

"You know history shows that shedding the weight and going back down again, you look at what happened to Roy Jones for example. He's always the best example.

"He came back down from heavyweight and he just wasn't quite the same again. Although he did beat Antonio Tarver the first time, people always forget about that but that's a different conversation.

Roy Jones Jr

"But I think it will be hard, I think it's a difficult thing to do once you've been a stone above 200lbs you're probably looking to creep up a little bit further and then to all of a sudden cut it all back again, I don't see why he would necessarily need to do that.

"I know there's an enormous amount of money involved in boxing Canelo, but there's also an enormous amount of money involved in rematching Anthony Joshua then if you beat him, boxing Tyson Fury.

"It's not like he needs to go back down because that's where the big payday is and if he doesn't go back down and take it then life would never be the same again, he's not in that situation," added Clarke.

Days at middleweight are numbered

Canelo was named Ring Magazine's Fighter of the Year for his wins over Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant in 2021. The 31-year-old became the first fighter to hold all four belts at 168lbs.

Now he is moving up to light heavyweight - the first time he has fought in the division since his eleventh-round stoppage of a weight-drained Sergey Kovalev in 2019.

Canelo will face Dmitry Bivol looking to win the WBA light heavyweight crown on Cinco de Mayo weekend (May 7).

Gennadiy Golovkin is a potential opponent in September, although he would have to move up from middleweight if he wants the trilogy bout.

Canelo Alvarez

Clarke - a boxing commentator for Sky Sports and talkSPORT - thinks a unification against the winner of Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr is a standout option for Canelo next.

"I think he could probably do both (fluctuate from super middle to light heavy), he does look incredibly solid now. I think he would struggle to get down to 160 now. But I think he could do both 168 and 175.

"He's cleaned out 168 - the obvious thing for the winner of this fight now is the shot at undisputed. It's there because Top Rank just announced that in mid-June Beterbiev and Joe Smith, who are both their fighters so it's an easy fight to make, they're going to box for the other three titles.

"So hopefully we will see a fight for undisputed and that would be the obvious step for whoever wins out of Canelo and Bivol. I don't think there is much going on at 168 for him to be perfectly honest.

"I found it kind of hilarious the last couple of weeks to read some people voicing the opinion that he's fighting Bivol because he's running away from Charlo. It's just the most absurd thing I've ever heard in my life.

"Maybe not the most, but it's certainly up there. No disrespect to Charlo he's a good fighter, but you know this is a harder fight, Bivol is definitely a harder fight. I think he'll probably stick around at light heavyweight because there's that really obvious fight to be made."

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