By Doug Berman: Paulie Malignaggi doesn’t think much of Saul Canelo Alvarez possibly moving up in weight from 160 to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev on November 2 on DAZN. Malignaggi points out that Canelo was fighting at 154 two years ago in 2017, and now he’s about to move up to 175 to challenge a hard puncher in Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs). Malignaggi says the sport of Boxing has become a “joke.” It’s unclear what he means, but he could be taking a shot at Canelo over his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol last year.
Canelo picking Kovalev will impress the casual Boxing fans
Canelo-Kovalev fight still isn’t a done deal for November 2, but many believe that the match is definitely going to get made. Canelo wants to win a world title at 175, and Kovalev is the guy that he’s targeted for obvious reasons. He’s better known than the other three world champions at light heavyweight. Kovalev isn’t necessarily better than the other champions, because he’s lost a lot from his game over the years. The hardcore fans don’t rate Kovalev as highly as the other champions at 175. Kovalev is arguably seen as the 4th best champion at light heavyweight by the hardcore fans below these guys:
- Artur Beterbiev
- Oleksandr Gvozdyk
- Dmitry Bivol
Malignaggi talks Canelo vs. Kovalev
“What am I going to tell you? If I say something everyone’s going to get mad at me,” said Malignaggi to IFL TV when asked his opinion on Canelo potentially facing Kovalev in November. “The guy [Canelo] was fighting at light middleweight two years ago, and now he’s going to fight at light heavyweight against a guy that punches hard. What do you want me to tell you, bro? I’m basically telling you my thoughts in a round about way. I don’t even want to talk about fights like this. A joke of a sport we’ve become,” said Malignaggi.
This is the fight that Canelo seems to want against Kovalev. There are so many other options available to Canelo, but he’d dialed in on fighting Kovalev. Canelo could gain more attention by fighting a trilogy match against Gennady Golovkin right now, but he doesn’t want that fight. It’s possible that Canelo is saving the third fight with GGG for a later time for when he really needs it. It doesn’t hurt to let the Golovkin trilogy fight marinate for awhile, as long as GGG keeps winning. If he loses his next fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, then Canelo will have lost out on the fan interest that would have been if they’d fought again.
Kovalev fighting Canelo so soon after Yarde fight isn’t fine says Eddie Hearn
“It looks like it. I think everything is about the date, November 2nd,” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn to Fighthype when asked about the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight. “Does that work for Kovalev? I saw Buddy McGirt come out last night. Egis [Klimas] said, ‘That’s fine, November 2nd.’ That’s not really fine. It’s 7 weeks or something like that. He just had a war. But for that kind of money, it’s fine. So I guess they’ll make a deal,” said Hearn.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn doesn’t like the idea of Kovalev jumping back into the ring so soon to fight Canelo after his hard fight against Anthony Yarde on August 24. Kovalev took a lot of shots in the fight, and genuinely hurt in the 8th round. Getting back into the ring quickly after that fight may be hard for Kovalev, but the money will be good. Hearn says, “its fine” for Kovalev to fight Canelo, because of the “money” that he can make in that fight.
Canelo is in a tough position himself, because he’s got to fight someone on November 2. It’s a situation where Kovalev can either take the fight date or not. If not, then Canelo will look in another direction towards a fight against someone like WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade. It won’t be Golovkin or Callum Smith that Canelo fights as a plan-B, because those guys are too dangerous for him to use as a backup.
Canelo should fight Kovalev at 175 without catchweight says Robert Garcia
“You’ve got to admire Canelo for making that big jump up to challenge for titles in four division divisions,” said Robert Garcia to Fighthub. “You’ve got to admire that, especially against ‘The Krusher,’ that’s a big risk. I know people are always going to find an excuse to criticize Canelo. Hopefully, he doesn’t do a catchweight where he drains Kovalev to 170 or anything like that. That way he gets the credit, because a lot of people don’t give him credit for moving up. 175, it’s a title fight, and he wants to challenge for a light heavyweight? Light heavyweight is 175. He also won a title at 168. In that case, make Kovalev come down to 168, and defend your title there. If it’s at light heavyweight, you’ve got to fight at light heavyweight.
I respect him and admire him for making that challenge. A lot of divisions are really close to one another from 122 to 126 pounds. 126 to 130 is four pounds. It’s a lot harder to win in multiple divisions, and he’s challenging himself to do it. So you’ve got to admire him and respect him. Canelo isn’t ducking GGG. He doesn’t need to fight GGG anymore. He already has a draw, and then beat him. So he doesn’t need to do a third fight. He doesn’t need to. He wants newer challengers, and I think moving up to light heavyweight is a way bigger challenge. Those are two big challenges [Callum Smith and Kovalev], and I give him all the respect in the world,” said Garcia.
Canelo won’t want the negative criticism he’ll receive if he insists on a catchweight for the Kovalev fight. For that reason, it’s highly doubtful he’ll demand that he agree to that. But a rehydration is up Canelo’s alley to ask for.