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Canelo Alvarez vs. Kanat Islam possible for May 6

By Jeff Aranow: With the negotiations for the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight still not producing a fight, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) could be facing unbeaten two-time Olympian Kanat Islam (22-0, 18 KOs) potentially at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Cinco de Mayo on May 6 instead, according to Fight News.

This would be a voluntary title defense for Canelo of his WBO junior middleweight strap that he won on September 17 in beating champion Liam Smith.

It was thought that Canelo would vacate his WBO title in order to move up to 160, as he’s now ranked No.1 by the WBO for champion Billy Joe Saunders in that weight class. But for Canelo to be potentially defending his WBO 154lb title, it suggests that Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions might want him to milk his title for at least one easy fight before he starts facing fighters in the 160lb division.

Canelo vs. Liam Smith brought in 300,000 PPV buys on HBO and sold 51,000 tickets at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The fight proved that Canelo doesn’t need to fight dangerous or popular opposition for him to make good money. The 300K PPV buys is far removed from the 1 million buys that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was getting during his career, but Mayweather had done a lot to make himself a big name.

Golden Boy seems to be matching Canelo in a protective manner with them choosing to put him in with guys like James Kirkland, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto and Liam Smith. Those are not the dangerous fighters at 154. The fighters that could potentially beat Canelo are Jermall Charlo, Julian Williams, Erislandy Lara and Demetrius Andrade. It’s not likely that Golden Boy is going to risk Canelo getting beaten by matching him against any of those fighters anytime soon. Lara gave Canelo all he could handle in 2014 in losing by a questionable 12 round split decision.

The 32-year-old Kanat Islam is ranked #5 WBO, and has recently beaten Patrick Allotey and Juan De Angel. The 5’10” Islam isn’t fast of hand, but he has good power on the inside, especially with his right hand uppercuts and straight punches to the body. Born in China, Kanat competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He captured a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics.

This would be a voluntary defense for the 26-year-old Canelo if he faces Kanat on May 6.

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