Kamaru Usman lobbies to box Canelo Alvarez in September: ‘Fighting me is the biggest payday’
Kamaru Usman currently stands as the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA), but the reigning UFC welterweight champion is willing to put all of that on the line in a boxing match against perennial champion Canelo Alvarez.
Usman, who has decimated the stacked UFC welterweight division over the last three years, is quickly running out of opponents for his next title defense. Aside from the likes of Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, Usman doesn’t have any new contenders to prepare for. He has already beaten the likes of Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns, and while Usman could always move up in weight, it seems unlikely at this point.
Instead, Usman continues to focus on a crossover boxing match with Alvarez, who is widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in his sport. While Usman is more known for his wrestling and his non-stop motoring, “Nigerian Nightmare” he believes he would do well in a boxing match with Canelo. It’s obviously up for debate, but most people believe that Usman would be biting off more than he can chew based on a number of factors such as technique, experience and level of competition. The UFC welterweight champion doesn’t see it that way.
“In 2022, I’m going to shock the world,” Usman told TMZ Sports. “July, International Fight Week, I am going to fight Leon Edwards. If God wants me to get past Leon Edwards, September, Mexican Independence Day, I’ll stop Canelo Alvarez.
“I absolutely see myself winning that fight. And that’s what a lot of people don’t realize. Many people, because they think they can’t do something, try to impose that on you. ‘Oh, you can’t do that. It can not be done. Everything cannot be done until it is done. So a lot of people are going to say, ‘You can’t do it.’ No, he’s too good, too skilled, too strong. Yes, they said that about Tyron Woodley. He’s too big, he’s got knockout power, he’s fast, he’s explosive. What happened? I told him I was going to dominate him for five rounds and I did. I’m not going to step in there if I don’t think he can do it.”
Usman, 34, has hinted at the possibility of retiring from MMA, so his time inside the Octagon may already be numbered. Now would be the time to strike while the iron is hot and book a matchup between the two best pound-for-pound fighters in combat sports today. According to Usman, it would be in Canelo’s best interest to accept the fight and make the biggest payday available to him. That’s because the UFC champion believes he is the biggest draw for the Mexican fighter.
“Boxing is dead at the end of the day and I’m not saying there aren’t any good fighters, there are some fantastic fighters,” Usman said. “Errol Spence Jr., I want to say that there are a lot of guys that I could look into and really tell you that they are fantastic fighters. But boxing is dying. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be entertained. And when have you seen the pound for pound against the pound for pound?
“He’s walking around saying payday, payday…absolutely. It’s the biggest payday you’re ever going to make. I understand that she gets paid, she earns money. But fighting me is the biggest payday you’ll ever get. We’re talking nine figures, for sure.”
Whenever these crossover matchups are discussed, we automatically think of Conor McGregor’s massive superfight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017. Many fighters have tried to replicate McGregor’s switch to boxing, but it just doesn’t work the same. That fight will arguably never be matched in development, pay-per-view buys and overall intrigue, so it’s hard to think Canelo could make “nine figures” fighting Usman.
That said, both fighters are running out of notable options, so perhaps a super fight is the right move. Just don’t expect it to break any records.
What do you think, maniacs? Usman vs. Canelo is something you want to see? Does Usman have a chance inside the boxing ring?