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Teddy Atlas explains Kamaru Usman’s ‘minimal’ chance of surviving boxing bout with Canelo Alvarez

Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas understands why Kamaru Usman, the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA, would want a fight with his boxing counterpart Canelo Alvarez. However, he just doesn’t see him lasting very long against the Mexican superstar.

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman made it known in November, ahead of his UFC 268 title defense, that he had a serious interest in testing himself in the boxing ring against the best that sport has to offer in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Following his win over Colby Covington, he has continued to bang the media drum of a cross-over fight between MMA and boxing’s pound-for-pound best.

Over the last few years, we have seen former and current UFC champions take their talents to boxing with mostly disappointing results. The most notable being Conor McGregor’s knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in 2017, and Tyron Woodley face-planting after a right hook in his December rematch against YouTuber turned pugilist Jake Paul.

  • Canelo Alvarez record: 57-1-2 (39 knockouts)

Teddy Atlas doesn’t think Kamaru Usman would have a chance against Canelo Alvarez

kamaru usman, canelo alvarez
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Boxing Hall-of-Fame trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas completely understands why Usman would call for a fight with Alvarez. That’s because it isn’t solely about competition, and facing Alvarez would be the “golden goose” payday he could never get in the UFC.

“Usman, if he does a cross-over fight with Canelo, it’s a lot more money than he could ever make in UFC. It’s not a knock on either sport, it’s just the fact,” Atlas told MMA interviewers The Schmo. “You’re talking about the golden goose of boxing right now. If you can fight freaking Canelo, and you can have a shot by saying some things like that, why not?”

That said, the trainer to former boxing champions Michael Moorer and Timothy Bradley doesn’t think “The Nigerian Nightmare” would not fare well against Alvarez. Not because he doesn’t have fighting skill and talent, but because it’s just a different level of striking he would face, in a totally different sport.

“As far as the reality. [Usman] can punch. He’s got a good right hand. He’s got power, he’s strong. He’s tough. He’s got a good chin. All those things bode well for him,” Atlas explained. “But the chances of him surviving in that fight are minimal.

“[I’m] not knocking him, it’s not his sport. He’ll find Canelo, not only better in certain ways offensively than some of the guys he’s fighting in the UFC, but the defense. That’s a big difference. [Trained boxers are] a little harder to hit, and then you miss them, and you get hit,” he said.

While that opinion may be disheartening to some diehard fans of the sport, the same would be said by MMA analysts if Alvarez stepped into the UFC Octagon to face the 170-pound UFC king.

  • Kamaru Usman record: 20-1 (9 knockouts, 1 submission)

Usman has not yet booked his next fight, but he is expected to face Leon Edwards in his upcoming title defense this summer.

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