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Canelo Alvarez to fight in December

Canelo Alvarez David Lemieux

By Sean Jones: Saul Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) will be making his first defense of his WBA/WBC middleweight titles in December against an opponent still to be decided. Unfortunately for the boxing fans, Canelo’s opponent for December isn’t expected to be former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), who he beat by a 12 round majority decision last Saturday night in their rematch on HBO PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) is rumored to be in the running for Canelo’s December fight following his impressive 1st round knockout win over Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) last Saturday night on the Canelo-GGG2 card. Lemieux stole the show with his 1st round KO of the 34-year-old O’Sullivan in what was clearly the best performance on the night.

Lemieux looked impressive and his power was undeniable. Having Lemieux on the stage with his Hollywood movie star looks at the post-fight press conference, it appeared that he was being positioned by Golden Boy as Canelo’s next opponent for December. Lemieux will help sell tickets and PPV buys with his punching power and move star looks. Lemieux’s punching power would give him at least a chance of beating Canelo.

If Lemieux lands one of his big left hooks on the button, Canelo will fold. Canelo was hurt a couple times by Golovkin last Saturday. We don’t know how much the fight took out of Canelo. If Lemieux is able to land with full power on Canelo, the results will be predictable. It doesn’t matter how much Canelo moves his head. If he gets hit full force by Lemieux’s best left hook or right hand, he’s going to hit the deck for the full count.

Jermall Charlo would be a good option for Canelo, but many boxing fans expect Golden Boy to have Canelo duck the talented interim WBC champion from Texas. Charlo might be too big, too strong and too talented for Golden Boy to risk putting Canelo in with him. There’s a possibility that we could see Canelo vacate his WBC title, because he keeps it, he’ll soon be ordered to face Charlo, who is the mandatory for that title.

Golovkin and Canelo both received cuts in their fight, and it’s likely that if the two do face each other again for a third fight, it won’t take place until May of 2019 or in September.

“The only thing in my mind right now is the victory. That’s all I can tell you,” Canelo said. “We have to talk with my team and figure things out, but the idea right now is to fight in December.”

The bad news for the 36-year-old Golovkin is he might have to wait another year before he gets a third fight against Canelo. Golovkin had to wait three years initially to face Canelo last year in September 2017. After that fight, Golovkin waited a year [12 months] to face Canelo last Saturday night. If that pattern is stuck to by Golden Boy, then GGG might need to wait another 12 months before he faces Canelo in September 2019. Aging the now 36-year-old Golovkin another year can’t but help Canelo, because it makes the Kazakhstan fighter a little older and more beatable.

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A lot of boxing fans felt that Golovkin looked older, slower and not as good last Saturday as he was a year ago in the first fight against Canelo in September 2017. Likewise, Golovkin at age 32 back in 2014 was a much different animal than the one that fought Canelo in 2017. You can argue that Golden Boy helped increase Canelo’s chances of not losing to Golovkin by waiting until 2017 to make the fight with him rather than making it in 2014 or 2015 when he was clearly fighting at a higher level.

Golden Boy isn’t going to put Canelo back in with a hard puncher like Golovkin so soon by having them fight in December, because they both need ramp the fight up once more. GGG needs a good victory or two to make the boxing public get excited about seeing him as an opponent for Canelo. For his part, Canelo needs an impressive knockout because he hasn’t recorded a stoppage in two years since his 9th round KO victory over former World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion Liam Smith in September 2016. That fight brought in a little over 300,000 PPV buys on HBO, and it wasn’t well received by the fans in the States. The last fight in which Canelo knocked out an opponent in a highly visible fight was his 6th round knockout win over welterweight Amir Khan in 2016. Canelo needs a knockout over someone his own size, and Lemieux would be the perfect opponent for him to achieve that in December.

“I did everything I did to complete my objective. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the knockout,” Canelo said about his fight against GGG. ”We walked away with the victory. I’m very happy with it, because all the work that we did paid off in the ring.”

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Canelo won the fight by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision over Golovkin, but he didn’t finish strong. Canelo gassed out after the 8th round, and labored in the last four rounds in finishing in a less than impressive manner against the more active GGG. With a better start from Golovkin, Canelo would have lost the fight last Saturday. It’s disturbing to see Canelo getting outworked by an older fighter nine years his senior at 36, but it shows that the Mexican star simply isn’t a true 12 round fighter.

Canelo is more of an 8-round fighter, and that much has been established in his last two contests against Gennady. The mistake that Golovkin keeps making that has been keeping from beating Canelo in his last two fights is he starts out slowly each time, giving away the first three rounds. Golovkin is then forced to rally from a huge deficit to come back. Last Saturday, Golovkin waited too long before he started to attack Canelo with an all-out manner, and that kept from pulling out the victory. The final scores (114-114, 115-113 and 115-113 for Canelo) showed how close GGG had come to beating Alvarez. A faster start for Golovkin would have given him a clear victory over Canelo.

“This is very important. This is a very firm victory for me,” Canelo said about his narrow win over Golovkin. “It was I who pushed him back, it was I who was the most aggressive.”

I wouldn’t say it was a “firm victory” for Canelo, because there are too many boxing fans that thought he lost and was given a gift decision last Saturday. Many other fans felt it was a draw. It doesn’t help Canelo that HBO’s unofficial ringside scorer Harold Lederman scored the Canelo-GGG2 fight eight rounds to four in favor of Golovkin. The fans heard the scores from Lederman, and they expected the fight to be a victory for GGG. When the scores were announced giving Canelo the win, a lot of boxing fans were shocked and surprised by the decision. It’s not a “firm” victory for Canelo, it’s a questionable one, and another tainted fight. You can argue that all of this may have been avoided if Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy had simply agreed to have the rematch against Golovkin take place in a neutral venue outside of Nevada after the controversy surrounding the first Canelo-Golovin fight that took place last year in Las Vegas at the same venue at the T-Mobile Arena. Bringing it back to the same spot as the first fight was asking for trouble. Team Golovkin believe they won the fight, and GGG’s promoter Tom Loeffler is already saying that Gennady is the “people’s champion.” It was a mistake on Golden Boy’s part to have the second Canelo vs. Golovkin fight take place in a city where Canelo has been using his favorite location for many years. Perhaps if the fight had taken place in another state like New Jersey, we might have seen a different result last Saturday.

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