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Canelo Alvarez with 6 options for May 4 fight

Daniel Jacobs Gennady Golovkin

By Sean Jones: Saul Canelo Alvarez has six solid options – Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Saunders, Demetrius Andrade, David Lemieux and Jermall Charlo – for his May 4 fight on DAZN on Cinco de Mayo at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Some of the options aren’t so great, but it depends on what Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy are looking for in his next fight. The boxing public would blast Canelo and Golden Boy if Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) is selected for him to defend his WBA/WBC middleweight titles against on May 4. However, Canelo has largely been immune to criticism in the past when it comes to the selection of his opponents.

Here are the options that Golden Boy Promotions will be choosing from for Canelo’s next fight on May 4:

Daniel Jacobs: This is the likely next opponent for Canelo, and one of the more dangerous fights for him at middleweight. Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) has the size, power, speed and talent to give Canelo a lot of problems. Although Jacobs has a loss to Gennady Golovkin from 2017, it was a close fight that could have gone his way if he’d fought harder in the first six rounds. Jacobs, 31, looks like he’s deteriorated since the Golovkin fight. Something was taken out of Jacobs from that match, and he’s not looked like the same guy in his last three contests since. Jacobs has won his last 3 fights, but he’s looked poor in all of them in beating Luis Arias, Maciej Sulecki and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Jacobs’ wins over Sulecki and Derevyancheko were both close fights. The scoring for the Jacobs-Sulecki appeared to be tilted too far in Jacobs’ favor for the fight that took place that night. Jacobs appeared to barely win that fight, but the judges gave him a fairly wide victory with the scores 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112. Boxing News 24 had Jacobs winning by a narrow 115-112 score. Jacobs looked just as bad in his close 12 round split decision win over Derevyanchenko. For the way Jacobs has looked lately, it’s likely that he’ll get the pick by Canelo and Golden Boy for the May 4 fight. A win for Canelo over Jacobs will give him his third title at middleweight. The only belt that Canelo won’t have is the WBO strap, which is held by Demetrius Andrade.

David Lemieux: Former IBF middleweight champion Lemieux would be an option for Canelo if he decides he and Golden Promotions decide that they want to continue to fight lesser opposition like his last opponent Rocky Fielding. If Canelo faces Lemieux, it would have to be in a title defense of his newly won World Boxing Association ‘regular’ super middleweight belt, and not for his WBA/WBC 160 lb titles. Lemieux, 30, was hospitalized last month for dehydration while trying to make weight for a fight against Tureano Johnson on the Canelo-Fielding undercard on December 15. Lemieux had problems making the 160 lb weight limit. Due to Lemieux’s struggles making the middleweight limit, Canelo would have to face at super middleweight for that contest to take place. The WBA and WBC likely won’t sit idly by and let Canelo fight at super middleweight in repeated bouts without stripping him of his two titles. However, with those two sanctioning bodies, it’s hard to predict what they’ll do. WBA hasn’t stripped Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman of his welterweight title with their organization despite him not fighting in two years. The WBC might be agreeable to let Canelo sit on their WBC middleweight title without defending it as well.

Demetrius Andrade: This is a really risky fight for Canelo, as Andrade has good size at 6’1″, power, movement, and he’s a southpaw with great boxing skills. Andrade is signed with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA/DAZN, so he’s someone that Canelo will have a lot of pressure to fight at some point. Right now, Hearn is pushing hard in trying to get Canelo to face IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs, who he also promotes. Hearn says DAZN wants Canelo to fight Jacobs. But if Canelo does face Jacobs and beat him, his next push will be for him to fight Andrade. Hearn might get his way in both fights.

Gennady Golovkin: Golden Boy Promotions aren’t going to make a third fight between Canelo and GGG right now for a couple of reasons. The interest from the boxing public isn’t what it once was due to the combination of the controversy of their two fights, and the fact that many of them felt Alvarez won the second match. The other reason why Golden Boy won’t make Canelo-GGG trilogy fight for May 4 or for September 2019 is the punishment that Canelo took in the second fight. If Golden Boy lets Canelo fight GGG in 2019, he could end up depleted from that fight, and not the same guy that he was before he took it. Canelo is Golden Boy’s franchise fighter, and they want to make sure they can get most mileage possible out of his career. The only way they can do that is to minimize the hard fights by rarely making them, an focusing more on putting Canelo in with lesser opposition like Rocking Fielding and David Lemieux. Canelo took some monstrous shots in the rematch with GGG last September, and he was seriously hurt in the 10th and 11th rounds. It’s not a good thing for Canelo’s career that he was hurt twice by GGG, and hit with some shots that looked even harder than the ones that Daniel Jacobs took in fighting Triple G. In Canelo’s recent fight against Fielding, he didn’t look close to being the same quick fighter that fought GGG the first. The power was there for Canelo, which is something that doesn’t go away, but the reflexes did not look the same. Canelo looked slightly deteriorated, and he took some shots from Fielding before his body punching undid the British fighter. Golovkin will need to sign with DAZN for him to have a chance at fighting Canelo in a third fight. If he chooses to ink with ESPN or Premier Boxing Champions, then that give Golden Boy the excuse not to let Canelo fight him ever again. It’s still undecided what Golovkin will sign with. What makes it hard for GGG to ink with DAZN is if the contract they offer is much smaller than the one that Canelo was given. If Golovkin only receives a fraction of the contract that Alvarez was given, that would surely be a problem in getting him to sign. Golovkin thinks he deserved to win both of his fights with Canelo. If he’s offering a much smaller deal with DAZN, it might be a problem. Even if it’s a better deal than the ones that he’s offered by ESPN and SHOWTIME/FOX, it would have to be hard for Golovkin to swallow his pride and accept the smaller money.

Billy Joe Saunders: This is another unlikely option for Canelo’s May 4th fight or for his fight in September of this year. Saunders is a tricky southpaw, and he’s a large guy at 5’11”. Billy Joe is basically a super middleweight/light heavyweight, who boils down to fight at middleweight. The 5’8″ Canelo isn’t going to fight a tricky guy with great movement, excellent defensive skills, and huge size like Saunders. Given the way that Saunders fights, he likely will never get a fight against Canelo. It’s not going to happen, and there’s no real interest from U.S boxing fans in seeing Canelo fight Saunders.

Jermall Charlo: Canelo is probably not going to fight Jermall Charlo either in May or September. Charlo is huge, and he punches hard. That’s enough for him to be put on the ignore list by Golden Boy, as far as Canelo is concerned. If the World Boxing Council makes the decision to order Canelo to defend against Charlo, who is his WBC mandatory, then they can count on Alvarez vacating their title, just like he did in 2016, when they ordered him to defend against GGG. Canelo only fights who he wants to fight. The sanctioning bodies have no power to force him to fight their mandatory challengers. If the WBC wants Canelo to be their champion at middleweight, it’s best that they not make the mistake of ordering him to fight Charlo. That might be the reason why the WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman is talking about the organization ordering Charlo to fight Golovkin next. Charlo is already the WBC mandatory, but the sanctioning body is now looking to have him fight in what would amount to be another eliminator. That move by the WBC is seen by a lot of boxing fans as a way for the organization to protect Canelo from having to face a dangerous fighter in GGG. The WBC is likely going to need to find another contender to order to face Charlo, because it does not appear that Golovekin is going to face him. The next highest ranked fighter in the WBC’s rankings at middleweight is Martin Murray. That’s an easy win for Charlo if that fight happens. If Charlo destroys Murray, then it’ll be fun to see if the WBC had him fight in yet another eliminator. It would ridiculous at that point if the sanctioning body still isn’t ordering Canelo to fight Charlo.

Callum Smith: This is the wildcard of the bunch, that has little chance of getting the fight with Canelo due to his size, power and talent. Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) holds the WBA Super World super middleweight title, and he’s the guy is considered to be the real champion with the WBA. Canelo recently won the WBA secondary 168 lb title in beating Rocky Fielding on December 15. If Canelo wants to be seen as the real WBA champion at 168, and the best in the division, he would need to face Callum, 28, and beat him. Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez recently mentioned the possibility of Canelo fighting Callum next, if the match could take place at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn doesn’t seem to be high on making that fight though. Hearn says that Canelo vs. Smith is not a big enough contest to fill Wembley Stadium. Some boxing fans are whispering that Hearn is afraid of Canelo beating Callum. Hearn is trying to turn Callum into a star in the UK. But if Canelo beats Callum like he did Fielding, then he would ruin Hearn’s plans.

A name not included on this list is Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs). The reason for that is Mayweather has not shown any interest at all in coming out of retirement to fight the 28-year-old Canelo. Mayweather only seems to be interested in either fighting MMA guys or Manny Pacquiao. Canelo is perhaps too big and strong at this point for the 41-year-old Mayweather to risk facing. A rematch between Canelo and Mayweather would make massive money, but it’s one that Floyd doesn’t appear to be interested in. Mayweather can make more money facing MMA guys.

Canelo has taken a lot of soft opponents in the last 10 years with fights against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland, Rocky Fielding, Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Josesito Lopez, Kermit Cintron and Shane Mosley. Since 2010, Canelo has had six tough fights in the last nine years of his career. The rest of his opposition has been over-matched guys like Fielding and Khan. Of those six hard fights, four of the matches have been controversial with Canelo avoiding loses against Golovkin [x 2], Trout and Lara.

Canelo (51-1-2, 35 KOs) will be the one who makes the ultimate selection of his opponent on the 4th of May at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although Golden Boy will make it clear to Canelo who they prefer to see him fight, it’ll be his call.

There’s already a great deal of speculation going on from the boxing public about Canelo’s next opponent for May 4. With Canelo now signed with DAZN, and being paid a lot of money, he can’t continue to fight lesser guys like we saw in his last match against Rocky Fielding. DAZN is going to want quality for the money they’re paying Canelo. For DAZN to maximize the huge five-year, $365 million contract they’re paying Canelo, they need him to fight good opposition in fights that the boxing public wants to see. Canelo’s first fight of his DAZN contract against Fielding, was a poor show. Fielding was over-matched from the very start, and was quickly dispatched by Canelo in the third round. That fight was free of charge by DAZN for boxing fans in a trial membership. But from this point on, boxing fans will need to pay the $10 per month subscription fee for them to watch boxing on DAZN. Canelo will need to fight better opposition to get the fans to want to pay $10 per month to see him fight on DAZN. Just fighting stiffs like Canelo’s last opponent won’t do the job. It’ll be interesting to see if DAZN lets Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy select exactly who they want to pick without feedback from the media giant. One problem with paying a fighter the kind of money that Canelo is getting with his $365 million contract, it potentially sets up a situation where he doesn’t need to fight good opponents anymore, because he can make good money anyway. But if DAZN is able to give the green light or the red light on the opponents that Canelo is facing in each fight, then that’s a different story. They can decide whether they want to see Canelo fight the likes of David Lemieux, Rocky Fielding and Martin Murray type opponents.

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