It’s pretty fair to say that after spending 2021 annexing all of boxing’s world titles at super-middleweight, few experts expected reigning P4P king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to move up to cruiserweight for his next trick.
That is exactly what is happening though after the Mexican star’s bid to fight for the WBC title at 200lbs next year was approved at the World Boxing Council Convention in Mexico City.
Canelo’s coach and manager Eddy Reynoso made the shock request earlier this week, and it was unanimously approved by the WBC Board Of Governors.
Now Alvarez, who completed a unification of all four major titles at 168lbs by stopping Caleb Plant in Las Vegas earlier this month, will challenge reigning WBC cruiserweight king Ilunga Makabu next May or June.
It’s a stunning move by Canelo to jump up a further two weight classes to challenge for the title - though it’s highly unlikely he’ll go anywhere close to that 200lbs weight limit when he faces Makabu (28-2).
There were a number of more likely options for the man from Guadalajara, notably a trilogy fight with Gennadiy Golovkin, a showdown with super-middleweight David Benavidez or a step up to light-heavyweight to face WBC and IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev.
Alvarez (57-1-2) won his first world title at light-middleweight before gradually moving up to also win belts at middleweight, super-middle and light-heavyweight.
The only defeat of Canelo’s professional career to date remains that points loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr in their catchweight showdown in Las Vegas in September 2013.
Despite the difference in size, Alvarez would likely still start a hot favourite to defeat the Congolese star Makabu, who claimed the vacant WBC title with a decision victory over Michal Cieslak in Kinshasa in January 2020. He has subsequently made one successful defence since.