After winning the “BMF” title by opening a pair of horrific cuts on the face ofof this past Saturday’s UFC 244, Jorge Masvidal is on top of the world. His 2019 has also featured a record-setting five-second knockout of Ben Askren and a brutal stoppage of Darren Till. While a shot at the UFC championship would seem the next logical step with such a strong resume this year, Masvidal has tossed out a much more ambitious goal: boxing against Canelo Alvarez.
“I can box and I want to break Canelo’s face,” Masvidal said after his victory. “I can box, move, work different angles, and I feel like fighting him. Maybe it’s a sign that I fought today and he did too, but I want to have the opportunity to get in the ring with him.”
Alvarez made history of his own in the hours following Masvidal’s win,in Las Vegas to capture the WBO light heavyweight championship. It was the fourth different weight class in which Canelo has won a world championship as the 29-year-old advanced to 53-1-2 and continued to build an argument as the greatest Mexican boxer of all time.
Before his fight with Kovalev, Alvarez shot down the idea of facing a fighter from the MMA ranks. Unless, of course, the money was right.
“For me, it is not a challenge to fight with a UFC fighter, but [I would do it] if it represents good business,” Canelo told TUDN. “[Mixed Martial Arts fighters] do not present a challenge, nor a risk, because the styles and the way of fighting are very different. It’s as if you are fighting with a street fighter.”
Alvarez’s ego could be stinging now, however, as his DAZN-streamed fight with Kovalev was delayed more than 90 minutes until Masvidal’s fight with Diaz on ESPN+ PPV came to an end. Kovalev and Alvarez were shown repeatedly on the broadcast laying on couches and waiting their turn to fight after DAZN’s unprecedented decision to delay the fight. In fact, fans who were waiting for Canelo’s fight were treated to the UFC main event on the MGM Grand Garden Arena video screens.
The $35 million Canelo made from the fight — part of his $360 million 10-fight deal with DAZN — likely softened the blow a little. But boxing’s biggest star being treated as a second-tier attraction to a fight thousands of miles away had to be a bit of a blow to the Mexican star.
For his part, Masvidal reiterated his desire to fight Canelo while appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN. He cited Conor McGregor’s attempt to be the first man to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr. — for which McGregor took home a $30 million purse — as providing many positive lessons for potential success in the squared circle.
“I’m dead serious about trying to fight Canelo Alvarez,” Masvidal said. “It’d give me a nice little change. I’ll take my talents over there. I feel like I could shock the world. Is Canelo a better boxer than me? Has he thrown 10,000 jabs more than me because that’s what he does morning and night, just box? Yeah. He’s a better boxer. But can I bring some elements that boxers ain’t used to that are in the legal realm of boxing and throw Canelo off his game? F— yes, man. I’m a natural, bigger dude. I punch like a f—ing truck so long as I’ve got those boxing gloves on and I’m not afraid of breaking my hand because I’ve got that cast on. I feel like I could be a legitimate ass threat in there. Plus I’m a little longer than him, too. It’s different in a way, but Conor with the Mayweather fight showed me a lot of things that were good and bad. I saw how they just can’t read us as well as they can read a boxer, especially in the early insights of the fight.
“That right hand, how they throw it and how we cover distance is also different. Those things give them problems. The calculations for those things get a little f—ed up. I think I could throw enough wrenches in the system that I could tag Canelo and put him on his ass. I’d be going for the knockout, obviously, and nothing else. This is not to disrespect Canelo, because I think he’s a beast. It’d be an honor to get in the ring with him. But he did say some s— like no MMA fighters would be a challenge and this and that. I beg to differ, my brother. I would really love to be the guy to try and end his f—ing face. Just destroy him. Just erase him.”