After a loss in 2022 and a slow start to 2023, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is heading into 2024 with a target on his back and a point to prove.
The super-middleweight division is heating up, with plenty of the top contenders waiting in the wings for a shot at the undisputed champion.
That list of 168lbers continues to be narrowed down, and next year could see Alvarez take on two opponents that many claimed he would avoid.
The Mexican has held a world title in the division since 2020, and the undisputed title since 2021, making three defences in that time, each coming by a unanimous decision.
During that time, there has been one name in particular that the pound-for-pound superstar hasn’t faced – David Benavidez.
As the pressure grows with the ever-improving reputation and hype surrounding Benavidez, another challenger has emerged for Canelo’s annual Cinco De Mayo bout, which has gone ahead for three consecutive years.
That man is also of Mexican blood in the form of Tijuana’s Jaime Munguia (42-0), especially if he defeats John Ryder in January, ESPN reports.
“Jaime Munguía, waiting to confirm John Ryder and his possible position as a rival of ‘Canelo’, would be placed among the list of options for the first undisputed champion of Mexican boxing in the era of the four belts in May, next to fighters such as Jermall Charlo and even Terence Crawford who has been calling him recently.”
Meanwhile, Benavidez takes on Demetrius Andrade on November 2, with his position as the WBC Mandatory Challenger and thus opportunity to face Alvarez on the line. The sanctioning body has previously said Canelo would have to defend in the first half of 2024.
If the reports are correct, the remaining two fights on Canelo’s PBC deal are likely to be one of Munguia, Charlo and Crawford, and the winner of Benavidez-Andrade.