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Canelo Alvarez And Jermell Charlo Avoid Their Mandatories For Blockbuster Fight With Each Other

Canelo Alvarez And Jermell Charlo Avoid Their Mandatories For Blockbuster Fight With Each Other featured image

The boxing world may rejoice at seeing two undisputed boxers face each other but will overlook a crucial part of what has made boxing what it is; competition. With reports arriving that Canelo Alvarez will be facing Jermell Charlo (instead of Jermall Charlo who he had been rumored to fight), the mandatory opponents of both fighters, David Benavidez and Tim Tszyu respectively, will not be rewarded for their hard-earned efforts in the ring and will again have to wait for their opportunities or watch them evaporate entirely. The fight between Alvarez and Charlo is set to take place at a still-to-be-determined venue in Las Vegas and will occur on September 30th.

On paper, Canelo Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KO’s) vs. Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KO’s) is set to be one of the greatest fights in 2023 with both fighters holding the status of undisputed champions in their respective divisions. The news comes as a complete surprise given there had been no inkling such a fight would be arranged. It also marks a historic event as two undisputed male boxers will step into the ring for the first time in the history of the sport.

Canelo Alvarez, a multi-weight division and the current undisputed champion of the Super Middleweight division, has been linked with David Benavidez (27-0, 23 KO’s) for years. His signing with the PBC naturally bred speculation which culminated in reports heavily linking Alvarez to Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KO’s). However, it is now Jermell Charlo (the twin brother of Jermall), the undisputed champion of the Super Welterweight division, who has been confirmed to be his next opponent.

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 28: Referee Thomas Taylor with David Benavidez in the ring after defeating Anthony Dirrell after a corner stoppage in their WBC Super Middleweight Championship fight at Staples Center on September 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Jermell Charlo was widely expected to face Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KO’s), and reports even indicated that he would be stripped of his WBO title if he didn’t face him by September at the latest. Tszyu’s victory over Carlos Ocampo (35-3, 23 KO’s) brought even more excitement and fanfare to a match-up that was largely expected to be announced this month or the next. However, now that Jermell Charlo is apparently moving up two weight classes to fight Canelo Alvarez, the future surrounding a potential Charlo vs. Tszyu fight is completely unknown.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 16: Tim Tszyu gestures with a thumb across the throat as he weighs in during the official Weigh In for the Tim Tszyu v Takeshi Inoue super welterweight bout on November 16, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

In normal circumstances, a fighter moving up and down weight classes would be stripped of his titles. However, exceptions have been made as in the case with Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather Jr., and these same exceptions can be made for Jermell Charlo, who may be moving up to Super Middleweight for only this particular fight.

A fight between Alvarez and Charlo would be a money-spinning tale of two undisputed fighters who are arguably in their prime facing each other, but a different story also attaches itself to this move from both fighters as their respective mandatories are left figuring out what to do next with their careers.

While the topic surrounding this fight will not linger on Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo almost blatantly avoiding the fighters they were supposed to face because of the undisputed vs. undisputed moniker attached to the fight, it is nonetheless something that should be mentioned as the governing bodies’ own rules should effectively result in both fighters being stripped, at least after the fight.

Money seems to be the main incentive for Alvarez and Charlo to even consider fighting each other as there will undoubtedly be interest, but their moves stagnate their own divisions with both David Benavidez and Tim Tszyu needing to wait again for their chance while likely needing to risk their own interim belts in the process.

In the case of a Jermell Charlo win, things will get even more confusing as it is unknown whether Charlo will continue to remain at Super Middleweight if he wins and might simply vacate his newly-won titles as soon as he does net a historic victory.

Additionally, there are rumors the fight will take place at a catchweight above 168 lbs (at 170 lbs) which relegates the concept of undisputed vs. undisputed to be a mere marketing ploy as neither the 168-pound or 154-pound titles should be made available at a higher weight; though catchweights often ignore such stipulations and allow certain titles (in this case, the 168 lbs titles) to be contested.

A Canelo Alvarez victory would not do much for his own division, as he would then retain his titles, but it does clearly stagnate his own division as no contender in his weight class will be fighting for any of his titles.

A penalty for these two making such moves would not be out of place: Canelo Alvarez being stripped of his WBC title (for which David Benavidez is the interim champion at Super Middleweight), and Jermell Charlo needing to relinquish his WBO title (as Tim Tszyu is the 154-pound interim champion) after the fight would be an appropriate move by the sanctioning bodies.

However, this will likely not be the case. The argument can be made that both fighters are fighting as undisputed champions (despite likely fighting at a catchweight) and they will likely receive an exception for not defending their titles against their respective mandatories.

The Alvarez vs. Charlo does bring excitement, but it cannot be construed as a legitimate fight that makes sense given one of the fighters needs to move up two divisions at least, all while both get to avoid their contenders without repercussions.

With no real concrete system or laws in place to prevent these sort of fights, boxing has clearly taken the idea of prizefighting to the next level and the concept of competition seems to be falling to the wayside in favor of more fights that are deemed more eye-catching, regardless of whether they make sense or not.

Though the industry is based on business and such a move should be expected given everyone is in it to make profit, there must be a structural adaption in the arrangement of these sort of fights to continuously stimulate competition, rather than stagnate it.

In any case, David Benavidez and Tim Tszyu should still receive the opportunities to face their respective undisputed champions, regardless of who wins in the Alvarez vs. Charlo fight, and and title revocations should be considered in the future, moving forward, given that the most deserving fighters (i.e., the mandatories) seem to fall by the wayside in the face of profit gains.