Canelo with a lot to prove tonight against Kirkland
(Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Golden Boy/Golden Boy via Getty Images) By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions believe that they have the replacement for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao as the sport’s No.1 pay-per-view attraction in middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs). I say middleweight because Canelo hasn’t fought at junior middleweight in close to two years. Canelo’s fight tonight against James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) will be held at middleweight at a catch-weight of 155 pounds at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
Canelo says he’s ready to assume the rope as the No.1 PPV attraction once Mayweather and Pacquiao step away from the game. Just how long Canelo can hold down the top PPV spot will largely rest on how his promoter Oscar De La Hoya matches him.
As long as De La Hoya puts Canelo in with beatable opponents like Alfredo Angulo and Kirkland, he should do alright. But if he De La Hoya takes the 24-year-old Canelo out of the slow lane he’s been in for the most part during much of his career, we could see him suffer losses and wind up as just another non-PPV attraction. In other words, Canelo could wind up as another Marcos Maidana, a hard punching fighter with an exciting fighting style who loses when he steps up a class.
“I’m ready. I’m ready for whatever comes to my career. I work hard, I train hard, I fight the best, and if that’s the role [next PPV star] that I have to take once they’re [Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao] gone, then yes, I’m ready for it,” said Canelo.
The idea is to have Canelo beat Kirkland tonight, and then put him in with WBC middleweight belt holder Miguel Cotto in a catch-weight later this year in September. If Canelo wins the WBC title, he’s expected to relinquish it immediately and move back down to either junior middleweight or the 155 catch-weight division that Canelo appears to have created and then continue to fight whoever Golden Boy can dig up for him.
With Canelo fighting twice a year on HBO PPV, it’s going to put pressure on Canelo and Golden Boy to keep finding popular enough opposition to make fans want to pay to see him fight. That means that Canelo will almost have to face someone like Golovkin if he doesn’t want HBO rejecting the guys that Golden Boy offers up if they decide on just putting Canelo in with weak opposition.
For Canelo to remain as a top PPV star as the replacement for Mayweather and Pacquiao, he’ll need to be matched against Cotto at least two to three times, Golovkin a couple of times, Demetrius Andrade, Lara, the Charlo brothers, and some of the top welterweights like Kell Brook and Maidana. Canelo might also need to be matched against some of the middleweights like Peter Quillin and Daniel Jacobs.
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