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Canelo’s next fight could be at 154


By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez says that his fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s next fight could be taking place at 154 in defending his WBO junior middleweight title if he’s able to fight in February. Whether the 26-year-old Canelo defends his WBO title or not will depend on if his injured right hand is healed enough for him to fight. If not, then Canelo will stay out of the ring until May for his fight on Cinco de Mayo holiday, as he’s been doing. That fight would take place at middleweight, says Gomez.

Canelo’s fight in May is supposed to be at middleweight in order to get him ready for his match against middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September 2017. Canelo can’t be still fighting over-matched guys at catchweights by that point in time if he wants to be ready for the Golovkin fight later in the year.

That means no more fights against guys like Amir Khan, Liam Smith and James Kirkland. Canelo needs to fight a relevant fighter. The options for Canelo’s May fight are WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux. Of those two, Lemieux would help Canelo get prepared better for Golovkin, but I doubt that he’ll get selected by Golden Boy, because I think they’re going to want Saunders’ WBO middleweight title so that they can use it as a bargaining tool to get a bigger cut of the revenue against Golovkin.

If Canelo goes into the Golovkin fight as a challenger rather than a champion, it’s going to be hard for Golden Boy to justify not giving him a percentage deal of the revenue. Giving Golovkin just a flat fee for the Canelo fight would be shortchanging him if he’s the only one holding world titles. That’s why I think Golden Boy will make sure that they match Canelo against Saunders by May if not February so that they can take his WBO title from him.

As for who Canelo would be facing potentially if he chooses to defend his WBO 154lb title, it’s anyone’s guess. The only thing that you can assume is Golden Boy Promotions WILL NOT let Canelo defend against his #1 WBO contender Demetrius Andrade. I think that’s a given. The 6’1” Andrade is too tall, and his boxing skills are too good for Golden Boy to let Canelo anywhere near him.

Of the WBO’s top 15 contenders in their rankings, the only well-known fighters out of the entire bunch are #2 WBO Miguel Cotto, #5 Antonio Margarito and #12 Austin Trout. Canelo has already fought Cotto and Trout in the past. It’s unlikely he’ll fight Trout again, because he looked bad against him in their fight in 2013, and some boxing fans thought he should have lost or been given a draw for that fight.

Margarito is someone that Golden Boy might be interested in matching Canelo against, but it would be a controversial move if they made that fight because has a lot of baggage from the past. He also appears to be over-the-hill at 38. However, Margarito did recently squeak out a 10 round split decision over Canelo’s promoter Ramon Alvarez last August in Tijuana, Mexico. If Canelo wanted to avenge Ramon’s loss by taking on Margarito, then now would be the test time for it. Golden Boy could justify the fight by pointing out that Margarito is ranked #4 in the World Boxing Organization’s rankings, and Canelo is still the WBO 154lb division.

Never the less, many fans would be horrified by Canelo taking yet another over-matched opponent instead of a quality fighter. Since Canelo’s close call decision win over Erislandy Lara in a fight that he appeared to lose, he’s since been taking it VERY easy in beating James Kirkland, Amir Khan, Cotto and Liam Smith. Cotto is the only decent one of the bunch, but even he’s more of an older fighter who would likely be beaten by all of the top fighters in the 154lb division such as the Charlo brothers, Demerius Andrade, Erislandy Lara and Julian “J-Rock” Williams.

Cotto is probably the guy that Golden Boy will try and get for Canelo, because the previous Canelo-Cotto fight brought in 900,000 buys on HBO PPV in November 2015. The only problem with Cotto as Canelo’s opponent for February is that the negotiations would need to be moved quickly, and there might not be enough time to get them completed before that month. There’s only two months to go before February. Unless Cotto really wants to fight Canelo, I don’t think the fights going to happen that soon.

Gomez said this to about Canlo’s next fight in 2017:

“If it’s in the first quarter, then he likely stays at 154,” said Gomez. “If it’s in May, then the likelihood is that it will be at middleweight. But the plan is Golovkin. There’s no secret. We’ve been in discussions. We’ve been negotiating. I feel that we’re close.> That’s his objective. That’s what Oscar [De La Hoya] wants. That’s what Canelo wants. That’s what we’re trying to make happen,” said Gomez.

I think we’re going to see a terrible mismatch between Canelo and Margarito in February. Like I said, the Cotto rematch can’t take place quickly, because the negotiations will take time. Additionally, Canelo’s February fight is supposed to be on regular HBO rather than on pay-per-view. A rematch against Cotto will be on HBO PPV. I don’t think Golden Boy could sell a horrible fight between Canelo and Margarito to the U.S public. That’s why I think Margarito will be the one that Golden Boy matches Canelo against in early 2017 if his injured hand is healed enough to take the fight.

Canelo will then be able to avenge his brother Ramon’s loss to Margarito while at the same time getting a fight out of the way for regular HBO. I just hope for Canelo’s sake that he doesn’t waste his career avenging his brother’s losses, because he’s getting things to do than to fight the guys that his brother loses to. Margarito looked awful in the Ramon Alvarez fight.

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