5. Caleb Plant vs Billy Joe Saunders
Don’t panic – this isn’t a scheduled article from 2019 gone wrong. I am more than willing to admit we are scraping the barrel here (and using a bucket load of poetic licence on a piece titled the “biggest fights” of said division), but if Billy Joe Saunders commits to his reported comeback, then heck, chuck him in with Plant in a Canelo-victim playoff. BJS has a mouth that often (rightly) gets him into trouble, and a rubbing Plant up the wrong way could lead to an intriguing blend of characters outside, if not inside, the ring.
Saunders hasn’t fought since a 2021 loss to Canelo Alvarez. He has ballooned up in weight, as is standard with the former WBO titlist, and will probably struggle to make the 168 limit until next summer.
Plant is a good enough name to bring over to the UK and himself is looking to get back on the horse following losses to Canelo and Benavidez in his last three.
4. David Benavidez vs Jaime Munguia
I’m not sure how long this one would last, but a pure fire-fight between Benavidez and Munguia would be fun for everyone involved.
Munguia’s level was arguably found as he edged out a game Derevyanchenko in a summer FotY contender, and his leaky defence and recklessness would surely be like a moth to a flame with Benavidez in the opposite corner.
3. Canelo Alvarez vs David Morrell Jr
Without wanting to turn this into a list of fights that WON’T happen, David Morrell Jr can’t be ignored when talking about the creme de la creme of the 168ers.
Morrell Jr is quickly finding himself in a lot of people’s top five active fighters but he desperately needs one of the top talents despite being at a tender 9-0. He’s got another run out before the close of 2023 against Sena Agbeko – a fight he should win comfortably – and then it’s time to strap in for a big 2024.
He probably needs a rung on the ladder before taking on a Canelo or a Benavidez, but the eye test tells us he’s too good to be wasting time with Plants and John Ryders. Morrell is really a natural light heavyweight so time may be ticking in this division.
2. David Benavidez vs David Morrell Jr
Sign. Me. Up.
If Canelo goes with another dance partner for May, then these two should play-off in a semi-final for that Alvarez paycheck.
1. Canelo Alvarez vs David Benavidez
This is the fight of the division and now, one of the fights in boxing.
Benavidez has had a good-er 2023 than anyone in boxing by beating Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade, and needs to be tested against the “face of boxing” while the iron is at it’s hottest.
Benavidez is a big dude and destructive at the weight – he should pose plenty of questions to Canelo who is evidently on the slide from a very high bar he has set over the past few years. Benavidez is improving rapidly at the tender age of 26 – there will be plenty of voices in the Canelo business that won’t want the Mexican taking this fight.