Canelo Alvarez is on his way to becoming the best Mexican fighter of all time

Saul Canelo Alvarez is in the prime of his fighting life and seemingly keen to make up for lost time.

The defence of his WBA super middleweight title against Avni Yildirim in Miami came just eight weeks after the dismantling of Callum Smith.

Billy Joe Saunders is next in the danger zone in May, with two further dates being considered before the year’s end.

The question is who can give him a proper test?

Saunders is more of a threat than Yildirim but ultimately he is a blown up middleweight.

A unification with IBF champion Caleb Plant is a good fight at 168. And if he wants to stay at super middleweight David Benavidez would be a real mano-a-mano showdown.

Benavidez is a volume puncher, as tough as nails. Plant is tricky, smart and fast. And he’s big for the weight.

He sparred George Groves in Shawn Porter’s gym in the States. He’s is a good kid and perhaps the biggest problem for Canelo, if there is such a thing, in the 168 pound division.

The real hero stuff would be to jump back up to light heavyweight. Sergey Kovalev is already a notch on his belt.

IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev would be some contest. WBA champion Dmitry Bivol another. Kovalev was in decline. Bivol is still rising and hell of a boxer.

Beterbiev is a gunslinger. He just locks horns and goes to war.

Though only 5ft 8ins it looks like Canelo is done at middleweight, so if Gennady Golovkin is to re-enter the frame he will have to move up.

The only one who has got the better of Canelo was Floyd Mayweather.

That fight was eight years ago and came too early for him. He had not fought enough top-level opponents at that point. I was ringside that night.

He is far better now at closing down the fast guys. His feet are great and his upper body movement is sublime.

Erislandy Lara was his hardest night after Mayweather, a slick, beautifully balanced fighter in the Cuban fashion.

Canelo had learned from the Mayweather experience a year earlier. He took away Lara’s distance and wore him down.

Daniel Jacobs, another terrific fighter, was mastered at middleweight in 2019.

For the real masterclass Canelo needs to be challenged, and for that, arguably, he will have to go up to 175 pounds

He is already one of the greatest Mexican fighters in history. When he eventually calls it a day even the great Julio Cesar Chavez might have to doff his cap.

Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone, @McGuigans_Gym and @CyclonePromo

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