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Atlas: Canelo vs. Lemieux possible for September, Golovkin in 2018

Canelo Alvarez David Lemieux Gennady Golovkin Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

By Dan Ambrose: Teddy Atlas says he’s hearing from sources that Golden Boy Promotions will be matching their fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) against former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (37-3 35 KOs) in September rather than Gennady “GGG” Golovkin if Canelo gets past Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) this Saturday night in their fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What makes Atlas’ news more believable was Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya revealing on Wednesday that Golden Boy has Canelo’s September fight reserved, but without mentioning Golovkin’s name. De La Hoya had previously been frequently mentioning Golovkin as Canelo’s next opponent. Today, De La Hoya didn’t say Golovkin’s name during the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. final press conference.

“We have September reserved on our boxing schedule,” said De La Hoya about Canelo’s next fight.

“I’m hearing [David] Lemieux,” said Atlas to in saying he’s hearing Lemieux will be Canelo’s next opponent in September instead of Golovkin. “People talking. I’m hearing Lemieux and then Triple G, so who knows? Lemieux is no walk in the park. That guy can punch. There’s a certain level, I can understand that, but the guy can punch. But I wouldn’t be shocked if next year you see that fight because it’s finally getting to the time where it’s been marinated, cultivated and cooked up to be as big as it’s going to get,” said Atlas about the Golovkin vs. Canelo fight

This is going to anger a lot of boxing fans if Golden Boy chooses to match Canelo against Lemieux in September instead of Golovkin. Unfortunately, I think Golden Boy is immune to the boxing public’s anger about their soft match-making for Canelo. I get the overall impression that Golden Boy is just looking to keep Canelo from losing another fight. The best way to do that is to keep pushing the Golovkin fight into the future until he’s nearly a shot fighter the way that Floyd Mayweather Jr. waited until Manny Pacquiao was 36 and no longer the fighter that he once was before electing to fight him in 2015.

Lemieux was knocked out in 8 rounds by Golovkin 2 years ago in 2015 in a mismatch. Lemieux has since won his last 3 fights against Curtis Stevens, Cristian Fabian Rios and Glen Tapia. Those were all easy fights for Lemieux.

What Atlas says makes a lot of sense about Golden Boy possibly matching Canelo against the 28-year-old Lemieux next after Chavez Jr. rather than Golovkin. A big hint that Lemieux MIGHT be next for Canelo was Golden Boy putting Lemieux in the co-feature about against a no-hoper in Marcos Reyes (35-4, 26 KOs) in a 10 round fight. This is for all intents and purposes a showcase fight to make Lemieux look good in front of the casual boxing fans – and Canelo’s fans – for what could be a fight in September.

De La Hoya has even openly said that Lemieux is a possibility for Canelo’s September fight. But with Atlas now saying that he’s hearing that Golden Boy plans on matching Canelo against Lemieux next instead of Golovkin, it makes it a very strong possibility. The rationale obviously for matching Canelo against Golovkin in 2018 would be to give Canelo more seasoning to get him ready for a very risky fight.

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The main reason for pushing the Golovkin fight into 2018 is that it ages him 1 more year. He’s 35 now. By the time Canelo faces Golovkin in May or September 2018, he’ll be 36-years-old, and not quite as good as he is now. The theory would be to age Golovkin enough to where it minimizes the risk involved for Golden Boy Promotions’ No.1 money fighter Canelo, because they don’t have another money fighter in their stable. If Canelo gets smashed to pieces by Golovkin, it could lead to a chain reaction of fewer boxing fans wanting to purchase his fights on PPV.

“Triple G, as good as he is, a lot of people don’t know who he is,” said Atlas. “Really, let’s be honest, outside of the real boxing fans. Obviously, he’s gotten more known. It’s bigger now. I think it’ll happen now for 2 things. One, it’s time where they can maximize the money. It’s always about the money. The other reason I think Golden Boy feels this guy is vulnerable,” said Atlas about Golovkin being potentially vulnerable enough for Canelo to beat him due to him turning 35 and coming off of 2 tougher than expected fights against Daniel Jacobs and Kell Brook. “At 34-years-old age, when you saw him against Kell Brook, maybe that was just a mistake, maybe that just showed how vulnerable and overrated he is. I’m not knocking him. You can hit him. He’s not superman. Yeah, he’s tough. Yeah, he’s strong. You’re supposed to be tough when you’re in the ring. Now I think they’re looking and saying, ‘Kell Brook, we weren’t sure if he really showed us something because we thought he was sick. And then you look at [Daniel] Jacobs, and you say, ‘Wait a minute; these 2 guys exposed him where we don’t have to be afraid of him as we were before, and he’s starting to slide a bit. He’s 34-years-old [Golovkin is currently 35]. Maybe in another year, he’s 35 [36]; maybe it’s time to step in there.’ I think in the past there was a saying for Golden Boy, ‘You don’t go and kill the golden goose that lays the golden eggs.’ Canelo’s that goose. You don’t throw him in there [with Golovkin] because you don’t have to because you can make money fighting anybody.”

Atlas could be swallowing his words about Golovkin if he turns around and knocks Canelo out whenever Golden Boy finally pulls the trigger on the Canelo-Golovkin fight one of these days. I’d like to think Atlas won’t still be saying Golovkin got exposed after yet another victory.

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I disagree with Atlas in him saying that the boxing public don’t know who Golovkin is. Maybe some casual boxing fans don’t know who Golovkin is, but I think more people know who he is than he thinks. Canelo has a built in fan base that follow his fights. He was also given a huge boost by Golden Boy matching him against Mayweather. If Golovkin had the same luxury, he would obviously be better known. But I still think he’s more than well-known enough to fight Canelo.

I don’t think being well known is a criteria for fighting Canelo. If it was, then Canelo wouldn’t have fought Liam Smith, Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland, Amir Khan, Alfonso Gomez, Matthew Hatton, Alfonso Gomez, Jose Miguel Cotto and Ryan Rhodes. None of those fighters are well-known with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. Khan is only known by hardcore fans in America. He’s not someone that is recognized by the casual fans. Canelo still fought him.

I don’t know if you can really say that Golovkin is sliding much. After all, he just beat a much bigger Daniel Jacobs, who might have outweighed him by 15 pounds on the night of the fight last March. Golovkin beat Jacobs at his own game by using his boxing skills. Golovkin didn’t try and bang Jacobs out of there, and yet still won the fight. That tells you something about Golovkin. Beat a bigger guy than himself by boxing him. Golovkin didn’t really get exposed by either fighter. He broke Kell Brooke’s eye socket and had him on the run from the 3rd round. How can you get exposed when you stop someone in 5 rounds? Was Golovkin supposed to stop Brook in the 1st? I think he came close to doing that after staggering him and shattering his eye socket. Jacobs lost, and I think he’ll always lose to Golovkin, because he can’t stay in the pocket and slug with him. Golovkin will be ready for Jacobs’ weight tricks in the rematch if there ever is one. It would be nice to see Jacobs fight Jermall Charlo in the meantime so that he can prove that he rates another title shot against Golovkin. I think Charlo destroys Jacobs.

“I think they did Chavez Jr. a favor by making it a catchweight and having him come down closer to a weight he belongs at,” said Atlas. “It’s going to come down to who’s the better fighter. Canelo is a guy who used to have to dry out to make 155. Now he doesn’t have to dehydrate. If anything, he’s going to be a little stronger here. So it’s going to serve Canelo. It’s going to serve Chavez Jr. He’s not going to be weakened. I don’t think he ever belonged at that higher weight. I think he should be even lower than 164 ½ pounds. If anything, it’s going to force him to behavior like a fighter in camp, because he’s in the shape he belongs,” said Atlas.

Atlas is guessing about Canelo being better at 164. I don’t know that he’ll punch any harder than he already does. I think the added weight will slow Canelo down and cause him to need more rest breaks to recover.

“Canelo has such a good fan base behind him, a good Latino fan base. You’re going to fight almost anyone and make pretty good. So they don’t want to blow that. Now I think it’s at a point where they’re saying, ‘The risk isn’t that high. Now it’s come closer. Both fighters have come closer now where, you know what, I think we can beat this guy. I think we can actually win this fight. And in another year, he’s even better, because if he [Golovkin] is sliding,’ and I think he is. I like him. I think he’s great. To me, I don’t see any improvement in Triple G. I don’t think Canelo is Godzilla, but I kept him on the [pound-for-pound] list because I see him improving. Also, I see the body of work,” said Atlas.

I don’t see much changing in 1 year with Golovkin. If Golden Boy is going to keep kicking the Golovkin fight down the road, then they might need more like 4 or 5 years to age Golovkin enough for a small and limited fighter like Canelo to beat him. Golovkin has an excellent jab and he’ll dominate Canelo from the outside with. We saw how Golovkin was able to get the better of the 6’1” Jacobs with his jab from the outside, and Jacobs had a longer reach than him. Canelo is much shorter than Jacobs and he has short arms. Golovkin will dominate him with his jab in the same way that he did Lemieux. Canelo is slightly better version of Lemieux in my opinion. Golovkin will make easy work of Canelo if that fight happens next year.

Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler might be able to get him a unification fight against the winner of the Billy Joe Saunders vs. Avtandil Khurtsidze if Golden Boy doesn’t swoop in and snatch the winner of that fight for Canelo to fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Golden Boy that, because it would help validate Canelo in the eyes of the casual boxing fans if he at least has a title in his position. There are obviously a lot of fans who don’t know who Canelo is in the U.S, because if they did, he’d be getting a lot more PPV buys than 300,000 for his fights against guys like Liam Smith.

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