Canelo Alvarez’s win over Miguel Cotto solidified him as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers, making the search for his next opponent a hotly discussed topic. While Alvarez is mandated by the WBC to fight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin as the federation’s new middleweight champion, the 25-year-old might drop the belt and look for someone else to face in the first half of 2016.
Manny Pacquiao’s name has been mentioned as a possible opponent, following a report that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum suggested the Filipino could face Alvarez next year. But how realistic is a showdown between Pacquiao and Alvarez?
It’s certainly not a fight that can’t be made. Pacquiao has fought at 150 pounds before, doing so against Antonio Margarito. Alvarez weighed in at 155 pounds for the Cotto fight, but he dropped down to 152 pounds to face Mayweather. While a fight between the sport’s top welterweight and Alvarez could generate a lot of pay-per-view buys, it appears to be a longshot.
Arum has said in the past that he doesn’t want the fight to happen because of the size difference between the two boxers. Pacquiao’s next fight will supposedly be his last, and he isn’t likely to fight at a catch weight in the 150’s after taking nearly a year off because of shoulder surgery.
Pacquiao is reportedly considering Amir Khan, Terence Crawford and Timothy Bradley as potential opponents for a fight in 2016. A bout with Khan might make the most sense, since the welterweight has won his last five fights and his name was linked to a possible bout with Floyd Mayweather for a few years. Crawford could also intrigue Pacquiao, since the junior welterweight champion is undefeated and one of the young rising stars in the sport.
Bradley might be the least likely candidate to fight Pacquiao, considering the two boxers have already met twice. Most viewers felt Pacquiao won both bouts handily, and there is little reason to have a third match. Instead, Bradley might have a better chance to face Alvarez than Pacquiao.
Arum has expressed interest in pitting Bradley against Alvarez, and Bradley has said he’d like to try to win titles at higher weight classes.
"If Bradley wins and is not fighting Pacquiao, I’d like to make him with Canelo. That’s a good fight," Arum told ESPN.com in October. "If Canelo beats Cotto, I’ve talked to (Alvarez promoter) Oscar (De La Hoya) about the winner of Bradley-Rios fighting Canelo, and he loves it."
Alvarez seems unwilling to fight Golovkin at 160 pounds at the moment, which could delay the middleweight title bout. There’s a chance the two will fight in the second half of 2016.