Chris Eubank Jr. is a front-runner to face Canelo Alvarez

CHRIS Eubank Jr is said to be one of the names remaining on a fast-diminishing list of potential next Canelo opponents. Unbeaten puncher Edgar Berlanga, 22-0 (17 KOs), is also still in the frame, as IBF super-middleweight mandatory William Scull’s lingering situation was dealt with by the PBC (with who Canelo continues his working relationship) and Jermall Charlo was also effectively ruled out.

As big of an opportunity as this is for Eubank Jr., for many, it simply exacerbates the growing realisation and disappointment that a fight between the Guadalajara man and generational rival David Benavidez may never happen.

Canelo’s move raises wider questions about the sport’s integrity and its participants’ actions. Is Canelo responsible for allowing Benavidez a shot at his “passing of the torch” moment? Or is he merely responsible for his own career and personal choices? Some feel the 33-year-old is sliding happily towards retirement, golfing away his final days while accepting lower-risk fights for sizeable paydays.

Canelo regularly schedules his fights around May and September, fitting in with Mexican holiday dates. His desire to fight this September remains. Benavidez last fought in June, defeating Oleksandr Gvozdyk on points. Another mooted opponent, Terence Crawford, boxes against Israil Madrimov on August 3. Therefore, a dance partner is still needed.

News broke earlier today that Chris Eubank Jr, 33-3 (24 KOs), had signed with BOXXER and Ben Shalom, further adding to the next-move intrigue. Chris split with Wasserman Boxing recently and has not fought since beating Liam Smith by 10th-round revenge knockout in their September 2023 rematch.

Back to Canelo, the fact that the PBC remains actively involved suggests they still believe the Benavidez bout is a payoff possibility at some point in 2025. While Las Vegas is the expected location for that fight, should it eventually get made, such a huge clash could land anywhere.

The Eubank Jr/Berlanga bout would also be in Vegas, despite the UFC having booked the futuristic Sphere venue for September 14. Whether going up against such a monstrous event impacts pay-per-views, ticket sales or footfall, against a comparatively underwhelming opponent, remains to be seen.

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