Canelo's next step after Golovkin win is clear but fans may face a long wait
A commanding win over Gennady Golovkin has seen Canelo Alvarez finally put that rivalry to rest five years after the first bout.
The Mexican has achieved plenty during that five-year period, but the discussions around a trilogy bout with GGG were always present, and it was pretty clear that fight remained on the agenda.
Now, though, for the first time in half a decade, Canelo's future can be written without the inclusion of Golovkin. While the Kazakh was open to a fourth clash, Canelo's attention will be focused elsewhere.
With the chapter with Golovkin ending, however, there is some uncertainty. Avenging his defeat against Dmitry Bivol is top of Canelo's agenda, which he made clear after Saturday's triumph in Las Vegas.
"Of course, everybody knows. We'll see, we'll see what happens in that fight," he said post-fight.
"It's very important for my legacy, for me, for my country, for my family, for everything. I will beat him."
A rematch with the Russian may be a way off, however, with Bivol set to face Gilberto Ramirez in Abu Dhabi on November 5 and potentially having further opponents lined up beyond that fight, as Eddie Hearn explained.
"The fact is, to fight Canelo Alvarez, Bivol might have to fight [Joshua] Buatsi and Zurdo [Ramirez]," Hearn said, via DAZN. "That fight's not a definite because we can't just wait until May. It's impossible, and there's so much risk in those fights."
WBC, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev is also a possibility, with a unification bout likely to be appealing to Bivol if he can successfully defend his belts in November.
This may play into Canelo's hands, though, as he revealed after victory against Golovkin that he entered the fight with a wrist injury and could now take a year out to recover, with surgery on the cards.
"I need surgery. It was really bad, really bad. It's not broken, it's a meniscus, it's a wrist injury, not broken. It's ligaments, like a knee injury or something like that," he explained.
"I'm going to take the time my body needs. Last year I fought four times in 11 months, so that's why. But I need to take my time a little bit, maybe May, September, I need to take my time."
Canelo's absence may open the door for a rematch with Bivol late in 2023, while also having the potential to allow the middleweight division to develop, as there are few who could pose a meaningful challenge right now.
David Benavidez stands as the most likely challenger for Canelo's middleweight titles, unbeaten with 23 knockouts from 26 wins, while Jermall Charlo could be another contender – though he hasn't fought since 2021 and holds a title at 160 pounds.
Neither would be as appealing for Canelo as a rematch with Bivol, however, as he seeks revenge against only the second man to have beaten him in his professional career – the first being Floyd Mayweather in September 2013.
The growing trend of exhibition and celebrity boxing, where the likes of Jake Paul have made a wave, cannot be ruled out entirely for Canelo, but the 31-year-old would be unlikely to make such a move until he has had his shot at revenge against Bivol.