Canelo-Crawford a ‘mismatch’, according to Berlanga

Edgar Berlanga believes that a potential fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Terence Crawford is a “mismatch”.

Both fighters’ next opponents are still to be confirmed – Alvarez is expected to fight on May 4; Crawford remains in contention for a rematch with Errol Spence – and speculation persists that Alvarez, the world’s highest-profile fighter, could fight Crawford, the world’s very best.

That Crawford’s victory over Spence, in July 2023, made him the undisputed welterweight champion is particularly relevant in the context of Alvarez being the undisputed champion at 168lbs. Crawford won his first world title at lightweight; in 2019 the considerably bigger Alvarez stopped Sergey Kovalev the win the WBO light-heavyweight title. 

When Alvarez was, like Berlanga, promoted by Matchroom, Berlanga was in contention to be one of his future opponents, but on Saturday the American-Puerto Rican fights Padraig McCrory, 35, at the Caribe Orlando in Orlando, Florida, aware that even in the event of victory Crawford is considerably likelier to secure what was once so unimaginable a fight.

“It is a mismatch,” the 26-year-old Berlanga said. “It is a mismatch. I just think, mentally, Crawford has more will than [Alvarez’s previous opponent, Jermell] Charlo, and he has more skill. ‘Canelo’s’ just trying to overpower him with his strength, and obviously he’s just a much bigger fighter. So if he does go that way, it’s for the simple fact that Canelo’s the bigger man. 

“I don’t doubt Crawford, because he’s one of the greatest in the world. He could probably pull it off [if he was big enough]. I know that his will’s strong. I just think that if he was a 168-pounder or Canelo was a 147-pounder, it’d have been a big difference.

“[Crawford’s] up there in the top three [fighters in the world]. Right now you’ve got Crawford; ‘Tank’s’ [Gervonta Davis] up there; and Canelo’s still doing crazy numbers and got all the titles at 168.

“It’s a money grab, too. There’s going to be a lot of money to be made. A two-time undisputed champion versus the undisputed 168 champion. You know what I’m saying? There’s going to be a lot of money involved in that fight. It’s going to be a big-money fight for both of them.”

After 64 fights Alvarez, 33, has been showing signs of decline. Another of his former promoters, Oscar De La Hoya, questioned in the aftermath of his victory in May 2023 over John Ryder the extent to which he was feeling the effects of a both long and successful career, but Alvarez recently spoke of his desire to continue fighting for another five years.

“I don’t think another five years,” said Berlanga, incidentally a board member of The Cristian Rivera Foundation. “I think he probably got like another two years. Maybe three. He already has done what he has to do in the sport of boxing. He’s going down as one of the greatest Mexican fighters to ever live. If he retires tomorrow, he’s going to go down in the Hall of Fame.

“You know what it is with Canelo right now? He’s at that stage – look at Canelo’s résumé. He’s fought a lot of great fighters already. He fought Triple G [Gennady Golovkin]; he fought [Miguel] Cotto; he fought [Shane] Mosley; he fought [Floyd] Mayweather. He fought hall-of-fame fighters and he kept moving up in weight and beating these guys [he lost to Mayweather in 2013]. 

“I wouldn’t say Canelo’s out the door soon – at the moment he’s the boss – and he’s on that Mayweather step right now. If he wants to fight a guy he can do that – you gotta respect that. He paid his dues, multiple times. He can do whatever he wants.”