With Canelo Rematch Up In The Air, Edgar Berlanga Steps Up

Canelo Alvarez and his team are currently engaged in discussions for a September rematch against Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs), the reigning WBA light heavyweight champion.

Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom, did not mention an alternative plan if negotiations with Bivol do not reach a favorable outcome though. Recent speculation suggests that Edgar Berlanga, a newly signed Matchroom fighter, is now being considered as Canelo's next opponent.

Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs), born in Brooklyn of Puerto Rican descent, has gained attention primarily for his impressive numbers and a strong fan base in New York. Still, it's worth noting that most of his opponents thus far have been of sub-level competition. These factors played a significant role in Hearn's decision to sign the 26-year-old Berlanga. Shortly after signing him, Hearn expressed his interest in arranging a fight between Berlanga and Canelo.

The anticipated clash between Canelo and Berlanga, which was initially expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024, may be moved up to September if the negotiations with Bivol fail to materialize.

Recently, Bivol's manager, Vadim Kornilov, expressed doubts about Canelo's seriousness regarding a rematch. The manager stated that Canelo is offering the same terms as their previous bout, which Canelo lost.

“They know that they lost very badly in the first fight and that they have less chances of winning in the second. When have you heard of a fighter who, after losing, asked for a rematch on the same terms?

“A rematch cannot take place on the same terms as the fight you lost. It's stupid. We are looking forward. Artur Beterbiev is our target.”

Given Canelo's absence from the light heavyweight division since his loss to Bivol, some argue that he shouldn't be granted a rematch for the WBA title. They believe that he hasn't proven himself worthy of the opportunity. As a result, a fair resolution would be to hold the rematch at 168 pounds, with all four of Canelo's titles at stake.

Due to the ongoing disagreement between the respective camps, the future September rematch between Canelo and Bivol is in jeopardy. Consequently, Berlanga's upcoming fight on June 24th has transformed from a mere comeback bout to a crucial showcase. If Berlanga can deliver an impressive and dominant performance against his opponent Jason Quigley (20-2, 14 KOs), it is likely to strengthen his position and enhance his prospects of securing a shot at Canelo in the future. This pivotal fight provides Berlanga with an opportunity to make a lasting impression and further his case for a matchup against the boxing superstar.

Over the past year, David Benavidez, the former two-time WBC super-middleweight champion, has held the mandatory position for a possible fight against Canelo. Yet, it appears that Alvarez has been intent on avoiding a matchup with Benavidez. The 26-year-old Benavidez, with an undefeated record of 27 wins and 23 knockouts, possesses exceptional skills as a high-volume puncher. His abilities make him a significant threat to Canelo's reign.

Currently holding the WBC Interim super-middleweight title, Benavidez is indeed a strong contender in the division. However, Berlanga may have an advantage in potentially securing a fight with Canelo due to his affiliation with Matchroom Boxing. Matchroom Boxing has a solid business relationship with Alvarez, which could possibly play a role in positioning Berlanga as a favorable candidate for a matchup.

While Berlanga and Benavidez are both the same age, Benavidez currently possesses a higher skill level than Berlanga. When it comes to the prospective matchup with Canelo, Berlanga may have certain advantages. Berlanga might be viewed as a safer option, considering the risks associated with facing a formidable opponent like “The Mexican Monster” Benavidez.

There is a desire among the boxing public to witness a showdown between Canelo and Benavidez. Even so, there is a strong possibility that a matchup between Canelo and Berlanga could materialize instead. This would be another classic rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico, while Berlanga may not be at the same level as Benavidez in terms of skill, he is a legitimate contender with marketability and star potential.

Edgar Berlanga's future is filled with promise as he stands on the verge of a significant opportunity. While he is currently in a favorable position, he must focus on the task at hand before setting his sights on becoming the undisputed super-middleweight champion. To further solidify his position, Berlanga must showcase his skills and dominance by putting on an impressive performance against Quigley on June 24th, live on DAZN.