While boxing's current major cash cow has never had an issue calling out other fighters, lineal Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez has now entered brand new territory for himself in challenging UFC star Conor McGregor to step inside the ring with him.
McGregor, the Irishman notorious for not holding any feelings back, has recently lambasted all combat sports, accusing most of the top fighters of cherry-picking and being unwilling to challenge themselves against other elite gladiators. While boxers, as well as MMA fighters, have been quite guilty of this in recent past, Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KO), the 26 year old juggernaut from Mexico, was one of the last boxers you would consider to be ducking others until his recent fiasco with fellow Middleweight Gennady "GGG" Golovkin, which McGregor has relished in.
After his most recent fight, brutally knocking out Englishman Amir Khan in 6 rounds in May, Canelo invited "GGG" into the ring and said Mexican's "dont f*** around", also claiming he would put on the gloves immediately after the fight and would take on Golovkin right then. After the dust settled, Canelo's tune has substantially changed, even going as far as vacating his belt and going down in weight for his next fight against Liam Smith in Dallas, leading to a large group of fans turning on the Mexican superstar.
Naturally, with both Canelo and McGregor being the two major stars in their respective sports, Conor took full advantage of Alvarez seemingly fleeing from Golovkin (35-0, 32 KO), calling him out after the Irishman's most recent impressive victory in his rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 202. This particular championship bout saw a lot of standing action and most fans were impressed by the boxing skills showcased by both men, especially McGregor, giving him the confidence to believe he belongs in the ring with world class boxers.
This is also not Conor's first time attempting to goad a top-notch boxer and turn it into a huge event and a mega payday. In the past few months, both McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have gone back and forth discussing options for them to meet in a boxing match, as it would take nothing short of a miracle to convince Floyd to step in the octagon and run the risk of tarnishing his reputation. While Mayweather was obviously humoring the idea for publicity, Canelo recently had an interview with FightHub TV and seemed much more serious about his intentions to show McGregor just how tough boxing really is.
"If he wants to come to this side of the world and try boxing, anytime he wants" Canelo invited through a translator, stating that it's "not as easy as it looks". While Alvarez currently has a fight set up on September 17th, McGregor has a plethora of options available to him, whether it be in the UFC, a boxing match, or crossing over into the world of professional wrestling, where he has the personality to absolutely shine. While Conor has never lacked confidence in any situation, he may be in over his head looking to have his first boxing experience against one of the best the world has to offer. Boxing and MMA share many similarities, but the training required for each is completely different and would include quite the learning curve for Conor.
While anything is possible, it is beyond a long shot for this fight to ever come to fruition. Canelo is currently working on earning back his fans that he lost from seemingly avoiding Golovkin, and running to box an MMA fighter would only hinder any good will that was still left in the fans. Gathering the necessary money for the event would certainly be no issue, although Conor would also run the risk of being embarrassed by Canelo and his stock could potentially plummet with another loss after speaking so highly of his boxing skills. It is entertaining to think about the sports major stars finally crossing over, however the most likely scenario seems to be that Canelo will end up taking on Billie Joe Saunders in December to become acclimated to the Middleweight limit, granted he gets past Liam Smith, and McGregor will either have a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, or find another big-name opponent to face in the near future. Regardless, both fighters are must-see every time they are in action, and hopefully will be able to square off one day in order to answer any questions the fighters and fight fans may have.