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Hopkins says Lemieux & Jacobs are options for Canelo after Fielding

Bernard Hopkins Canelo Alvarez Daniel Jacobs David Lemieux

By Jim Dower: Bernard Hopkins of Golden Boy Promotions says David Lemieux and Danny Jacobs will be ready for Saul Canelo Alvarez for his next fight after his title challenge this Saturday night against WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding. Beyond this Saturday’s Canelo-Rocky fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, there’s a great deal of speculation from the boxing world about who Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) will be facing for his May 4 fight next year in Cinco de Mayo. Golden Boy Promotions has already booked the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for the May 4 date.

“Danny Jacobs is ready, David Lemieux is ready,” Hopkins said to about Canelo’s next fight after Fielding.

Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) is fighting on Canelo’s undercard this Saturday night against Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) in the co-feature bout. As much as Golden Boy Promotions would like to potentially plug Lemieux in as Canelo’s opponent for May 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the victory not assured for the Canadian fighter over Tureano on Saturday. Lemieux could lose. Tureano is a good fighter, and Lemieux has shown that he’s a beatable guy when he fights opposition that have boxing skills and punching power. It might be a mistake on Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions’ part to count on Lemieux as an option for Canelo’s May 4 fight.

International Boxing Federation middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) recently won the IBF title in his last fight in beating Sergiy Derevyanchenko by a 12 round unanimous decision on October 27, and he’s in a great position to get the fight against Canelo if Golden Boy wants to take that risk by using him for the May 4 date. With Canelo now signed with DAZN for his next 11 fights, Golden Boy needs fighters that are with the streaming company to put in with their Mexican star. That means Canelo has little choice but to fight Jacobs and Lemieux at some point, since they’re both with DAZN. World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade is also with DAZN. He’s signed with Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn. However, Andrade, 6’1″, is a tall southpaw with skills, speed, power and most importantly mobility. As such, Andrade is not an ideal opponent for a short fighter like the 5’8″ Canelo, which is likely one of the reasons why Golden Boy executives Hopkins and De La Hoya are mentioning his name as a potential opponent for Alvarez’s May 4 fight. Andrade doesn’t fit into their plans for that date, it seems. Hearn would obviously like for Canelo to face Andrade, since it would increase the popularity of his American fighter and give him the chance of pulling off an upset.

Hearn also promotes Fielding, and he’s lucked out with Golden Boy choosing him for Canelo to fight instead of another champion in the 168 lb division. In reality, Golden Boy didn’t have a lot of great options for Canelo to fight for a world title at super middleweight. WBO 168 lb champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez is signed with Top Rank, and fights on ESPN. That rules him out. Callum Smith, the WBA Super World super middleweight champion, is with Hearn, but he’s huge at 6’3″, and has a long reach with monstrous power. That made him not an ideal opponent for the short 5’8″ Canelo. IBF 168 lb champion Jose Uzcategui is with Premier Boxing Champions and fights on Fox and Showtime. Besides that, the 6’2″ Uzcategui is a big fighter with power, range and mobility. He’s not a stationary guy like the 6’1″ Fielding, who is immobile and fights in an upright manner, which makes him easy to hit by short fighters like Canelo and 5’9″ John Ryder.

It was thought that Canelo would fight a rematch with former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on that date, but that’s not going to be happening, according to Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya. He says there are no plans for Canelo to fight GGG at all in 2019 for the May and September dates that he plans on fighting on. As far as the May 4 date, De La Hoya says he’d like Daniel Jacobs as a potential opponent. Hopkins is now also mentioning Jacobs as an option. He’s also talking about Lemieux being a possibility for Canelo on the May 4 date.

It’s important that Canelo not overlook Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) for Saturday night. When fighters get drunk on their success the way Canelo seemingly is, they get beat. Canelo is already taking a risk in moving up to super middleweight to fight a much taller and bigger fighter in 6’1″ Fielding. Given that Canelo has the height of a normal welterweight at 5’8″, he could find himself in a situation where he lacks the physical size to dominate the way he’s been accustomed in his fights. Canelo was getting picked apart by the 5’10 1/2″ Golovkin in their first fight when the taller fighter used his height and reach to jab him from the outside. Like in the Floyd Mayweather fight, there was nothing Canelo could do when the longer-armed GGG stood on the outside jabbing him at will. Canelo’s lack of reach prevented him from getting to Golovkin with his punches. What a lot of boxing fans don’t realize is Canelo’s bread & butter punch is his short left hook that he likes to throw when countering his opponents after they throw their punches. But for Canelo to land those shots, he needs for his opponents to be close enough for him to connect. When they stay on the outside and throw only jabs, Canelo is helpless. That’s why in the rematch with GGG, Canelo came forward and attacked him. Canelo had to do that because if he had stayed on the outside, he would have been picked apart by Golovkin. The mistake Golovkin made was letting Canelo get close enough to land his shorter punches. GGG should have kept backing up to prevent Canelo from getting near enough to land. If Fielding and his trainer are smart, they’ll keep Canelo from getting close enough to land on Saturday night by keeping on the outside, moving backwards when he comes forward, and throwing lots of jabs that will connect to the head of the Mexican star when he’s coming forward.

“He is in the top five [pound-for-pound],” Hopkins said about Canelo. “He is a star in boxing. There are a lot of people at his weight, at least five, who want his spot. A lot of fights can happen in the division – names I would love to see Canelo fight, [if] he gets past Rocky. He can be in the top five in the history of Mexican fighters,” Hopkins said about Canelo.

For Canelo to be a top five fighter in Mexican boxing, it’s going to require better match-making than we’re seeing from Golden Boy. Putting Canelo in with Fielding instead of Callum Smith or Uzcategui is viewed as a weak move on Golden Boy’s part. They picked a weaker champion to match Canelo with. Likewise, having Lemieux and Jacobs as the May 4 options for Canelo is another questionably move. With the controversy surrounding Canelo’s two fights with Golovkin, he’s the one that Golden Boy should be matching him with on May 4, not Lemieux or Jacobs, two fighters that GGG already beat. De La Hoya ruling out a fight between Canelo and GGG in 2019 suggests to some boxing fans that they’re looking to wait until the Kazakhstan fighter ages more before they make the trilogy fight. Golovkin is 36 now, and he’s getting older. Waiting beyond 2019 before making the Canelo vs. GGG 3 fight looks like Golden Boy wants to wait until the Kazakhstan fighter’s boxing skills erode a little bit more before they make that fight.

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