MANILA, Philippines – Reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi does not believe Mexican boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is ready for a showdown with undefeated American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In an interview with Fight Hub TV, Malignaggi said that while Alvarez has been improving constantly, the Mexican is still not ready for a fighter of Mayweather’s caliber.
“Canelo is impressive each and every time out, for different reasons. Mainly, because he’s an improving fighter. Every time he comes out, he shows me something different,” Malignaggi said. “He’s just as lethal to the body as he is to the head... and he can punch with both hands. I was impressed.”
“I don’t think Canelo’s ready for Mayweather, but I would be curious to see him with (Puerto Rican superstar) Miguel Cotto,” he added.
For Malignaggi, a Canelo-Cotto match-up makes more sense “because neither guy is shy about getting in the trenches.”
“Both guys have seen that defensively, they’re a little bit flawed and they’re hittable,” he added. “I think it’s a Fight of the Year candidate. I think it really, really has potential to be explosive.”
But Malignaggi also pointed out that Cotto will still have to defeat Austin Trout, whom he faces on December 1 at the Madison Square Garden.
“Trout is going into harsh territory. Fighting Cotto in the Garden is tough,” he said.
“But if Cotto comes through Austin Trout, I’d be curious to see how Cotto-Canelo turns out. I think that’s got a lot of potential,” Malignaggi added.
Alvarez recently defeated Josesito Lopez via a fifth round knockout last September 15.