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Canelo vs Masvidal: Why it could happen (unfortunately)

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Fresh off his win over Nick Diaz in UFC 244, Jorge Masvidal (33-15 in MMA) insists he's ready to face boxing's multi-division champion and top star, Canelo Alvarez, in a boxing match.

"If Canelo wants to get his ass kicked, that's a fight I'll take," Masvidal said at the UFC 244 post-fight presser per MMA Fighting's Damon Martin.

Interesting. He's not even a division champion in his own sport. Is he?

During the last 7 years or so, more than a few top MMA fighters have called out top boxers, insisting they'd give real pugilists a run for their money in the ring. (And yes, Floyd Mayweather gave a half-assed performance yet still toyed with McGregor).

That stated, it's not uncommon for a fighter to try to attach himself to a more popular fighter in effort to boost his own popularity.

For instance, Jorge Masvidal, by challenging Canelo, is getting far more coverage than were the case had he not.

And as a result, many casual and hardcore boxing fans who were unfamiliar with Masvidal two weeks ago know who he is today.

Is Masvidal serious about facing Canelo Alvarez or was his declaration a publicity stunt?

According to his trainer and other MMA insiders Jorge's challenge, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, is real.

“I think he [Masvidal]  can be very competitive, and he can shock some people,” stated Mike Brown, Jorge's coach, via MMA Fighting last Tuesday.

After Floyd Mayweather faced Conor McGregor in 2017 anything is possible, right?

But, let's not forget Floyd was a 40-something, title-less retiree when he agreed to face McGregor for a ridiculous sum of easy money. He wasn't an active fighter and certainly not a world champion with obligations.

Canelo, on the other hand, is a multi-division champion in his prime. Giving Masvidal an immediate shot over prospective boxers would be disrespectful to not only boxers who have worked tirelessly to climb the ranks but the sport itself.

If Masvidal is so confident in his skills, he should be willing to prove himself against at least one top contender prior to a Canelo showdown. Just one.

Let's see Masvidal pass the test against the likes of a Daniel Jacobs or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. A win over either guy would validate him claim. But a loss, especially a decisive one, would certainly end all this Canelo vs Masvidal nonsense.

The fact remains: Canelo vs Jorge Masvidal may prove to be a lucrative endeavor. What if it starts generating as much buzz as Canelo vs Gennady Golovkin 3?

Just as we saw with Mayweather vs McGregor and KSI vs Paul Logan (amateurs at best) two nights ago, sideshows can sell because entertainment often trumps sport.

... But, the line must be drawn somewhere.

Team Canelo opted to challenge Sergey Kovalev instead of fighting Golovkin for a third time because Canelo vs Kovalev made more 'risk vs reward' sense. The public was - and still is - clamouring for Canelo vs Golovkin 3 but Alvarez's title-winning tilt against Kovalev last week was far from a nonsensical affair. After all, Kovalev was a reigning light heavyweight world champion and the most accomplished active fighter in the division. Moreover, we wanted to see if Alvarez could climb two divisions and beat a solid top 5 light heavyweight who was naturally bigger.

Canelo should have faced Golovkin but the Kovalev fight still made sense because of Sergey's credentials and the latter's size advantage. However, an active, young champion like Canelo shouldn't be forced to cheapen his pedigree by facing a fella with no professional boxing experience.

Taking nothing away from Masvidal, he's an awesome warrior; But he should have to prove his worthiness - in the ring and at least once - prior to facing boxing's biggest star.... That's what BMF's do, right?

The problem: A year ago, Canelo Álvarez signed a staggering 11-fight, five year, $365 million contract with DAZN who undoubtedly wants a return on its investment, even if it meant Canelo fighting a kangaroo.

And in DAZN's defense, boxing is a business. But at what point do you risk diminishing the brand, longterm, for fast money?

The powers that be in boxing can't control what retired, over-the-hill legends like Floyd do but can preserve the dignity of what it means to be an active, top pound-for-pound world champion like Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko who represent the best of the present (whereas Floyd represented the best of the past).

It's always been an honor and a privilege for fighters to share the ring with boxing's top champions and it should remain that way.

For the sake of the sport's long term health, boxing officials and the networks shouldn't offer its kings to the highest bidder because it diminishes what it means to be an active world champion and top boxer.

Again, if Jorge Masvidal is worthy he should be happy to prove his merit against an established contender first.

But, unfortunately, if DAZN gets desperate and boxing officials cooperate, someone, albeit a good warrior but with no boxing experience nor any accomplishments in the sport, could share the coveted ring with one of boxing's most cherished, most accomplished active champions.

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