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Hopkins says Errol Spence must earn Canelo fight

Bernard Hopkins Canelo Alvarez Errol Spence Jr


By Dan Ambrose: Bernard Hopkins of Golden Boy Promotions says welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. hast to earn a fight against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez instead of having it given to him by merely asking for it. Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) recently said that he’d be willing to move up to 160 lb. division for a fight against the 27-year-old Canelo.

Hopkins is against the idea of Spence leapfrogging over more deserving fighters for a shot against Canelo. Hopkins doesn’t say anything about why welterweight Amir Khan, Liam Smith, James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. were all given fights with Canelo. Those fighters did very little to earn fights with the redheaded star. Liam Smith was considered a paper champion. Khan had never fought at middleweight and he got a fight with Canelo. Kirkland hadn’t fought in 1 ½ years when he fought Canelo in May 2015.

“Spence might think that he’s ready for Canelo,” Bernard Hopkins said to Fighthub. “He might just be very talented like that. Some guys can have 15 fights and win a world championship. Is he that guy? Not going off of last week’s fights with Peterson. I can’t just say he earned the position to fight Canelo, where other guys who have been there and who are chomping at the bit to get that type of fight,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins doesn’t say what other fighters are more deserving of a fight with Canelo. There are top fighters at 160 that deserve a fight with Canelo, but whether they get a fight against him is another matter. I’m talking about fighters like Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Jermall Charlo and Daniel Jacobs. Those guys deserve to fight Canelo. I doubt he’ll fight them. Once you take those guys away, just who besides Gennady Golovkin will Canelo fight? There’s no point in Canelo fighting David Lemieux anymore after the way he was beaten by Billy Joe Saunders.

Most boxing fans thought Spence looked good in stopping Peterson. Spence gave Peterson a one-sided beating in stopping him in 7 rounds on January 20th in his first defense of his IBF welterweight title at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Spence probably could have ended the fight a lot sooner, but he appeared to take it easy on Peterson after working him over in round 5.

”It’s disrespectful to even retired…to think that they’re going to fast track and jump over so many people that deserve [a shot at Canelo],” Hopkins said. ”We must not give anyone a free pass. No one has really seen Spence really tested. No one has seen any adversity. We can’t do that [let Spence get a fight with Canelo],” Hopkins said.

The disinterest on Hopkins’ part in letting Spence get a crack at Canelo could be worry on his part. If Spence beats Canelo, it would be huge blow to Golden Boy Promotions, because he’s their flagship fighter in their stable. Canelo’s stock already dropped from his fight against Golovkin in which he was given a controversial 12 round draw in a fight that the boing public saw him losing 8 rounds to 4. If Canelo were to lose to Spence or be given a controversial draw or win against him, it might be enough to take a bite out of his PPV numbers. Fans might not want to keep paying to see Canelo fight if he were to lose to Spence. We’d see a lot of fans jump from the Canelo ship onto the Spence ship if he lost to the American. Hopkins might be worried about that. Once Canelo starts to lose more fights, the fans will be sure to stop watching him. Look at Manny Pacquiao. His PPV numbers dropped off dramatically after his loss to Mayweather. Canelo has already dodged 3 defeats against Golovkin, Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara in fights that a lot of fans felt he lost.

”If we want to continue to keep our credibility in this sport, it has to be a sincere, non-biased effort in wins and accomplishments and defeats to give you the resume to walk in and say, ‘I want the baddest guy in the division.,” Hopkins said in explaining why Spence doesn’t rate a fight with Canelo. ”I want the baddest guy in boxing.’ We can’t just let someone walk into a super fight. Are you crazy? This is madness. You’ve got to earn it, period,” Hopkins said about Spence needing to earn the Canelo fight.

Canelo isn’t the “baddest guy in boxing” or the “baddest guy in the division,” as Hopkins states. If Canelo was the beat in boxing or in the middleweight division, he wouldn’t have been given a controversial 12 round draw against Golovkin. Canelo looked very tired against GGG. He didn’t look like a 27-year-old. He looked more like a fighter in his 40s, resting his weary legs against the ropes, and only fighting a small portion of each round. Canelo wasn’t fighting like the “baddest” guy at 160. He was fighting like someone struggling with being too short and not having the conditioning to fight at the pace that Golovkin was trying to force him to. Canelo couldn’t keep up with Golovkin, so he needed to rest for prolonged periods in each round. Canelo looked like he needed an oxygen mask at times, because he was so out of breath during the fight with Golovkin.

It’ll be interesting to see who Canelo winds up facing after he’s done facing Golovkin in their rematch on May 5. I’d hate to see Canelo fighting WBA champion Ryota Murata, David Lemieux and Billy Joe Saunders. Those would be easy marks. Assuming that Canelo-Golovkin doesn’t end in another controversial decision, there are some tough fighters that are waiting for Canelo like Jacobs, Derevyancheko, Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade. Whether Golden Boy matches him against those fighters is another thing. It’s going to make Hopkins’ words ring hallow if Canelo is matched against beatable opposition after GGG. Canelo will get a free boxing from boxing fans if he loses to Golovkin in the rematch. It would arguably be the second straight loss for Canelo, since he lost to Golovkin last September in the eyes of fans. Canelo would deserve a soft opponent after a second defeat to Triple G. No one would fault Canelo for taking an easy mark if he loses to Golovkin on May 5.

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