Every time Canelo Alvarez prepares to select his next opponent, the fate of boxers in multiple weight classes hangs in the balance.
Just whom -- and at which weight -- Canelo fights next is still undecided, but sources told ESPN that Alvarez has received two lucrative offers that stand as his leading options.
Al Haymon's PBC recently extended a one-fight offer to Alvarez for a May 7 defense of his undisputed super middleweight championship against middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo, sources said.
The other offer came from Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing, a proposed two-fight deal that would pit Canelo vs. light heavyweight titleholder Dmitry Bivol on May 7, per sources. The second fight: a long-awaited trilogy battle between Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 17, but this time, at 168 pounds for Alvarez's four belts.
ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer prefers to honor his native country and fight on Cinco De Mayo weekend and Mexican Independence weekend in September when possible.
At the moment, Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has plenty of time to decide which path he wants to pursue for those dates. The promotion for most top-level fights commences eight weeks out, which gives Alvarez at least one month to weigh these two options and whatever other offers are sure to come his way.
Alvarez, 31, is currently focused on preparations for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament that begins next week.
After that, he'll have plenty to consider. He has expressed on numerous occasions how much he relishes being a promotional free agent and the flexibility that brings. Boxing's top star signed an 11-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN in 2018 shortly after he defeated GGG in a September rematch that headlined HBO PPV.
But after just three fights, Alvarez sued his longtime promoter, Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN. The suit was settled and Canelo gained his freedom. He remained on DAZN on a one-fight deal with Hearn for a December 2020 win over Callum Smith, then re-upped for a two-fight pact that brought wins over Avni Yildirim and Billy Joe Saunders.
Following the May 2021 fight with Saunders, Alvarez signed a one-fight deal with PBC for a Showtime PPV against Caleb Plant in November. Alvarez won the undisputed 168-pound championship with the 11th-round TKO and earned a guaranteed $40 million.
If he chooses to remain with PBC for his next fight, he'll face a formidable challenge in Charlo, ESPN's No. 1 middleweight. The twin brother of unified 154-pound champion Jermell, Jermall would climb eight pounds for the opportunity. He possesses a large frame for a 160-pounder and appears eager to test himself at a new weight class.
Fighting out of Houston, the 31-year-old Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) is a willing trash-talker who owns an excellent power jab. He has fought only once each of the past two years, decision victories over Juan Macias Montiel and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) would present an opportunity for Canelo to chase a second title reign at 175 pounds. The 31-year-old native of Russia is a tricky boxer who is adept at controlling range with his jab. What he hasn't done recently is entertain, with two decision wins in 2021 that featured little action.
The biggest prize of all, at least commercially, is a third meeting with Alvarez's rival, GGG. The pair of future Hall of Famers fought to a spirited draw in their 2017 bout for the middleweight championship before Alvarez scored a majority decision victory one year later in another closely contested fight.
Both bouts produced over $1 million pay-per-view buys and over $20 million in gate receipts. Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) has expressed his willingness to fight Alvarez a third time on numerous occasions. Now approaching his 40th birthday, time is running out.
He was set to meet Ryota Murata in a middleweight title unification in Japan last month, but COVID restrictions forced the fight's postponement. The bout is expected to be rescheduled in the spring; GGG would of course need to defeat Murata to keep the hope of an Alvarez fight alive, no matter which path Canelo chooses.
Canelo could always pick something else entirely. His trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, expressed interest in a move to cruiserweight for a shot at the WBC title. That belt is up for grabs this weekend when Ilunga Makabu defends against Thabiso Mchunu.
In the meantime, the boxing schedule is on hold in many divisions as fighters wait and see who wins the Canelo Alvarez sweepstakes.