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Video: De La Hoya: Canelo will soon be the pound-for-pound King

By Dan Ambrose: Oscar De La Hoya surprised some of the media earlier on Wednesday by saying his fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will be the pound-for-pound king by either the end of 2017 or by 2018. De La Hoya is obviously counting on Canelo getting a big boost in the pound-for-pound ratings with a win Gennady Golovkin as well as a victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

(Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotion)

If Canelo beats both of those fighters in 2017, he may very well end the years as the No.1 guy in the pound-for-pound ratings. But that will also depend on Canelo winning both of those fights in an impressive manner, because the boxing fans are not going to respect him if he wins 2 controversial decisions. Canelo’s victory Erislandy Lara in 2014 was controversial, and he chose not to fight the Cuban again to show the doubters that he’s better than he showed in that fight.

“I have nothing to say about doubters,” said De La Hoya to the boxing media about Golovkin. “It has nothing to do with his last fight. Triple G fought a well prepared Jacobs, who did a phenomenal job, but that has nothing to do with it. I’ve always had a plan when Canelo was going to fight at 160 and stay at 160 and dominate the middleweight division, and the time is now. But it has nothing to do with Jacobs. I have to say after this year or during this year, Canelo will be the pound-for-pound king,” said De La Hoya.

Andre Ward and Vasyl Lomachenko might have something to say about Canelo being moved ahead of them in the pound-for-pound ratings. Hopefully this doesn’t become a big deal where the different fighters start taking shot at the Golden Boy Promotions star Canelo, because it’s going to look strange if Canelo is promoted to the top spot in the pound for pound ratings if Ward and Lomachenko don’t lose. I don’t know how Ward can lose his top spot without a defeat. If he beats Sergey Kovalev a second time, then he should stay at the top spot.

“It’s been pretty heated exchanges between Chavez and Canelo,” said De La Hoya. “So it’s going to be very interesting. We’ll have to put a glass wall in between them. He’s been handling sparring partners like [Vyacheslav] Shabranskyy,” said De L Hoya about Canelo. “You talk, wow. Shabranskyy is a lot bigger than him. Then you take a look at Canelo, the power that he has. It’s just incredible. I was actually surprised. It doesn’t surprise me that Canelo can handle the big guys,” said De La Hoya.

Shabranskyy isn’t a major player in the 175lb division. He was recently knocked out in the 7th round last December by Sullivan Barrera. Shabranskyy did not look good at all in that fight. Before that fight Shabranskyy’s best win was over Yunieski Gonzalez in beating him by a narrow 10 round majority decision in 2015.

It wasn’t a dominating performance by him in that fight. It’s no big deal that Canelo is having his way over Shabranskyy in sparring. What would be a big deal is if Canelo were handling someone good from the light heavyweight division in sparring like Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Sergey Kovalev. Until De La Hoya starts mentioning those guys’ names as fighters that Canelo is handling in sparring, I’m not going to be impressed.

“I’m glad he has professionals to keep him in camp to do what he’s got to do to come at his best,” said De La Hoya about Chavez Jr. “On fight night, he’s going to be in the best shape of his life, that’s a guarantee. He’s already at weight. He’s looking lean. He’s looking good. We haven’t seen the Chavez Jr. we’re going to see on May 6th. That’s what makes it exciting. I’m not biting off more than I can chew. I’m not fighting him. Look, I’ve said it all along. It’s going to be a good fight. It’s going to be a toe-to-toe type of fight. That’s what people actually want to see. It’s what boxing needs. It’s going to be like the old days. This is going to be the start of something really big for boxing,” said De La Hoya.

The Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight probably will be a toe-to-toe bout. Chavez Jr. only knows how to fight one way by crowing his opponents and throwing a lot of heavy body shots. Canelo can’t move a great deal because he’s heavy for his height, and he’ll be even heavier for this fight due to him packing on more weight.

We’ll likely never know how much weight Canelo puts on for this fight because he probably won’t be weighed by HBO the night of the fight. But it’s definitely going to be a toe-to-toe battle on May 6th, because in the DNA of these two fighters for them to slug. Canelo can box a little at times, but then he always ends up going back to his slugging style of fighting. Canelo also likes to take frequent rest breaks against the ropes. He’ll do this against Chavez Jr. as well, and that should make the fight interesting.

“He’s been working on sparring with big guys like Shabranskyy,” said De La Hoya in repeating himself about Canelo sparring with the Ukrainian light heavyweight Shabranskyy. “I’ve actually been a little surprised that Canelo has been handling Shabranskyy with ease. They’ve sparred several times, and he looks phenomenal. When we signed this fight, there was part of me that said Canelo will walk through him, but now I feel it’s going to be a really difficult match-up for Canelo. But we have full confidence that he’s going to be ready. It’s nerve-racking, because we obviously feel that Canelo will walk through him. But hearing all those stories about how Chavez is looking incredible. He’s looking in tip top shape. His style is going to be difficult because of Nacho Beristain, Canelo is not going to know how to deal with inside the ring,” said De La Hoya.

I think De La Hoya and the promoters at Golden Boy still believe that Canelo will walk through Chavez Jr. If they didn’t feel that way, then I doubt they would have chosen to fight him. You see how long it’s taken for them to finally start talking about seriously making the Golovkin fight. We don’t even know if that fight is going to happen this year. If Chavez Jr. was a lethal fighter at 168, I don’t Golden Boy would make that fight.

I think it would be the same thing that we’ve been hearing about why they couldn’t make the bout with GGG. ‘Canelo has to grow into the division. He’s not big enough yet.’ I think that’s what we’d hear if Chavez Jr. was a fighter that De La Hoya didn’t believe Canelo could walk through.

“The strength, Golovkin is all strength, brute strength,” said De La Hoya when asked how fighting Chavez Jr. will help Canelo get ready for Golovkin. “So fights like this obviously help Canelo. 2017 will be really exciting, really big for boxing. I’m thrilled that we can be a part of this and make big fights happen,” said De La Hoya.

Chavez Jr. is a good opponent to get Canelo ready for Golovkin. I agree with De La Hoya about that. David Lemieux would be a good opponent as well to get ready for a fight against Golovkin. Neither of them fight like Golovkin, but they would get Canelo ready to be hit hard.

“It will depend on the negotiations, that’s it,” said De La Hoya in response to a question of whether Canelo will fight Golovkin next in September. “We’re waiting for May 6th. I’m waiting or May 7th to happen so we can start moving along with the hype train for Golovkin. So Canelo has to win, and he has to win impressive,” said De La Hoya about the Chavez Jr. fight.

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