Atlas Argues That Canelo Must Fight Benavidez To Be Rated Best Super Middleweight

Trainer, analyst and Hall of Famer Teddy Atlas believes that for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to secure his legacy among the best Mexicans or the best 168-pounders he must fight leading contender David Benavidez.

The Mexican icon is heading into a May 4 PPV date in Las Vegas against Jaime Munguia, at the T-Mobile Arena, but the opponent many want him to face is Benavidez. 

“I said before, it’s ludicrous that these fans call him the greatest Mexican of all-time, he’s a good fighter,” Atlas told ProBox TV. “I get it. He’s a helluva fighter. Alright. No problem. And he’s been around a helluva long time, since he was 16 – he’s only 33. It’s amazing how long he’s been around already. And he’s won all kinds of titles, but he’s picked his spots, really well. And you get to pick your spots if you’re the money guy. That’s the way it is with anything in life. Not just in boxing.”

Atlas, however, believes a fight with his closest rival – the 28-0 (24 KOs) Benavidez – would go some way to backing up those who see him as the best fighter Mexico has produced. 

“If he ever wants to be able to have that argument, he has to fight Benavidez,” Atlas added. “Forget about being the greatest Mexican of all-time, if you don’t fight Benavidez, you’re not the greatest 168lbs fighter of all time. You’re not the greatest super middleweight. You want to say you’re the best super middleweight in the world right now? Then you’ve got to fight Benavidez.” 

Atlas was discussing Canelo-Munguia, and the press conference earlier in the week – including the shots promoter Oscar De La Hoya took at his former fighter on social media.

“How things have changed,” Atlas continued. “A few years ago, he [Canelo] was his [De La Hoya’s] golden boy. It’s just, as we always say, it’s business, it’s not personal – although some of it does sound personal.

“In some ways, it’s a little sad almost, because this is a guy [De La Hoya] who was a helluva fighter. This was a guy who brought crossover fans. He was like Elvis Presley in boxing. 

“People always ask, when someone gets out, what do they miss the most and why do they stay too long, why do they come back, and the obvious is money, but then you always hear, too, that it’s the spotlight. It’s the attention. It’s being relevant again. You can be addicted to that. I think he [De La Hoya] makes a case for that. I’m not trying to go deep with the psycho-analysis here, but you do kind of need psychiatrists in boxing nowadays to figure out some of the stuff that’s going on.”