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Canelo to face Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in September

Image: Canelo to face Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in September

By Scott Gilfoid: Saul Canelo Alvarez is going to take a soft opponent later this year in facing contender Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in September 2018. If Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KOs) defeats IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) in their rematch on May 5, then the 33-year-old O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) will be fighting for three major world titles against the red-haired star.

It would be a voluntary defense for Canelo, so that would explain why he would be taking on a mediocre level middleweight contender like O’Sullivan rather than one of the higher ranked contenders that could possibly defeat him like Jermall Charlo, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade.

Canelo vs. O’Sullivan likely will be dead on arrival in terms of pay-per-view numbers on HBO. Since Canelo only fights on HBO PPV nowadays rather than on regular HBO, it means his fight with O’Sullivan will be on PPV in September. That fight is not likely bringing in a lot of buys. It could bring in similar numbers as Canelo’s fight with Liam Smith on HBO PPV in September 2016. That fight pulled in approximately 300,000 buys. However, if Canelo defeats Gennady Golovkin on May 5 WITHOUT controversy, then a lot of boxing fans might not mind that he’s taking an easy mark in O’Sullivan instead of one of the good fighters.

Still, it’s not a clever idea for a fighter like Canelo to be facing weak opposition like O’Sullivan. If Golden Boy Promotions wants to increase the popularity of Canelo, it means that they must match him against the best every time out. Feeding Canelo an over-matched guy like O’Sullivan is sad news for boxing fans in the U.S, because they don’t want to see a mismatch, especially when they must pay to watch it on HBO PPV. O’Sullivan would be an undercard fight for Canelo on a Golovkin card, but it’s not main event material. At this point in Canelo’s career, he should be fighting the best each time he fights. He doesn’t need to face a guy that has little in the way of boxing skills, and has already been beaten by Saunders and Eubank Jr.

It’s going to look bad if Canelo fights O’Sullivan instead of one of the quality middleweights in the division like the above-mentioned fighters. It’s not a knock-on O’Sullivan, but he’s not that good of a fighter. Canelo and his promoters will be sending a message to the other contenders in the middleweight division if he faces O’Sullivan instead of one of them, especially if he’s coming off a controversial win over Golovkin. Given the way the Nevada judges scored Canelo’s last fight against Golovkin by scoring it a 12 round draw instead of a win for GGG, you can’t dismiss the chance of another controversial decision. Golovkin and his team gave Canelo a tremendous advantage in agreeing to fight the rematch in Las Vegas rather than in a neutral venue where he would have a better chance of winning the fight.

O’Sullivan will be fighting next on May 4 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It won’t be David Lemieux or Gabriel Rosado, even though both would likely jump at the chance of fighting O’Sullivan. If Golden Boy Promotions are serious about wanting to have Canelo fight O’Sullivan this September, then the Irish figher will almost surely be matched against a very beatable weak opponent for his May 4th fight. Golden Boy won’t want to match O’Sullivan against a serious foe and watch him lose badly like he did against Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders, who are really the only two good opponents he’s faced during his 10-year pro career. O’Sullivan has won his last five fights in beating Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Chuancey Fields, Ronald Montes and Jaime Barboza. Unfortunately, those fighters are light years away in terms of talent compared to the best contenders in the middleweight division like Danny Jacobs, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade.

It would be risky for Golden Boy Promotions to have O’Sullivan fight a decent level opponent on that date, because he’s a very vulnerable fighter as he showed in his 7th round stoppage loss to Chris Eubank Jr. in December 2015, and in his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders in July 2013.

If Canelo proves he can beat Golovkin without controversy on the 5th of May, there’s no reason for Golden Boy Promotions to put him in with a weak opponent like O’Sullivan.

Canelo vs. O’Sullivan makes sense if the redheaded star is coming off a knockout loss to GGG on May 5. It’s perfectly understandable for Canelo to face O’Sullivan if he gets wiped out by Golovkin in their rematch at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. No one would blame Canelo for taking on an easy opponent with him coming from a defeat against the Kazakhstan fighter. O’Sullivan is a little bit too weak, even for a beaten Canelo. Golden Boy needs to be looking out for Canelo and making the right matches.

If Canelo loses to Golovkin, you can argue that a good opponent for the Mexican star would be someone like David Lemieux, Hugo Centeno Jr., Tureano Johnson or Maciej Sulecki. Those are fighters that the casual boxing fans in the U.S would like to see Canelo fight, and they would make it a good contest. They wouldn’t run out of gas after three rounds like we saw with O’Sullivan in his loss to Eubank Jr. in 2015. If Canelo can’t be counted on to fight the best guys in the 160 lb. weight class every time out, then he should go on a diet and move back down to his 155 lb. catch-weight division he used to fight at.

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