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Canelo Alvarez vs. Ryota Murata negotiations collapse, fight unlikely to happen

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Allan Fox: Negotiations between Canelo Alvarez and Japanese superstar Ryota Murata have seemingly reached an end, and it’s looking like the two won’t be fighting in May, according to Dan Rafael. It’s unclear what the snag was in the talks, but it was never going to be easy to make a fight between these two stars.

While Canelo is a popular fighter in North America, WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) is tremendous star in his home country of Japan, and his fights are watched by millions of fans each time he’s in action.

Canelo vs. Murata could still happen

It’s hard to fathom the amount of people in Japan that watch Murata fight each time. With the following Murata has, getting him to be the B-side in a Canelo fight would be difficult, especially in a fight in Japan.

The Canelo vs. Murata fight could still take place in the fall, says ESPN. For now, Canelo (52-1-2, 36 KOs) will be fighting on Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend on May 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Don’t be surprised if the Canelo-Murata fight still winds up taking place, seeing that it’s unquestionably the best possible option for the Golden Boy star.

It’s a fight that Canelo will be seen by millions of Japanese fans in competing against Murata, and it would be a big positive for DAZN. The fight ticks all the boxes. Best of all, it’s a winnable match for Canelo. On paper, Murata is an easier option for Canelo than if he chooses to fight one of these guys next May:

  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Callum Smith
  • Jermall Charlo

A fight between Canelo and WBC middleweight champion Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) has no shot at happening in May.

Canelo’s next fight is expected to be back at the T-Mobile Arena, a venue that Canelo has fought at five times in the last four years. Both of his controversial matches with Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin took place at the T-Mobile Arena.

Saunders and Smith now in play for Canelo

Canelo’s possible opponent for his May 2 fight is Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith. Neither of those two have a following in the U.S, and it would be another Rocky Fielding type of situation where Canelo faces an obscure foreign fighter that the U.S casual boxing fans aren’t familiar with.

This isn’t the best time for Canelo to be fighting those Smith or Saunders, as both of them are coming off of substandard performances. It’s hard to say which of the two looked worse in their last fights, considering they booth looked horrible.

Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) successfully defended his WBA Super World 168-lb title with a controversial 12 round unanimous decision win over John Ryder (28-5, 16 KOs) on November 23 in Liverpool, England. Boxing fans in the UK felt that Ryder had done enough to deserve either the win or a draw.

The judges scored it for the hometown fighter Callum by the scores 116-112, 117-111, 116-112. Boxing News 24 had the fight a draw. Smith, 29, looked weight drained for the fight, which isn’t surprising. The lanky stork-like 6’3″ Callum is huge for the division, and he should be thinking about moving up to 175.

Obviously, Smith’s advantages in size and power will disappear once he’s fighting in a weight class that is more suited to his body at light heavyweight. Putting Smith in with a monster puncher like Artur Beterbiev wouldn’t be good, especially with the way Callum looked against Ryder.

Billy Joe showing signs of decline

Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) hasn’t looked good in age, and he’s been taking it easy in fighting soft opposition over and over. However, he is signed with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, and he fights on DAZN. That’s one reason why Saunders is a viable option for Canelo, but not a particularly good one.

Saunders is coming of an 11th round knockout win over fringe contender Marcelo Esteban Coceres last November. Coceres was battering Saunders, and looked to be on his way to a win going into the 11th. In the 11th, Saunders came back and scored a knockout. Nevertheless, it was just another bad effort from Saunders, who’s best days appear to behind him at 30.

The southpaw Saunders’ ugly, spoiling fighting style makes him an unattractive opponent for Canelo or Golovkin. American boxing fans prefer to see a lot of action, and Saunders fails to provide in that area. He looks to do the least to win rounds, and he’s someone that will force Canelo to chase him around the ring for 12 rounds.

He brings some of the worst qualities you could think of in terms of being an entertaining fighter. With that said, Saunders has very little power, and he’s less of a threat of beating Canelo than Callum, Charlo, Golovkin or David Benavidez. Those would be hard fights for Canelo, and he wouldn’t get out of them without getting hit a lot.

Alvarez needs a good performance

Canelo is coming off of an 11th round knockout of WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on November 2. That fight had a lot of boxing fans crying ‘fix’ afterwards, as Kovalev fought like he was throwing his shots with less than full power on them.

It looked odd to fans the way Kovalev fought, since he’d always been someone known for his power, and his aggressive fighting style. Against Canelo, Kovalev’s power was missing, and he didn’t fight with the same passion that he was known for.

In Kovalev’s fight just three months earlier against Anthony Yarde, he looked as dangerous as always in knocking out the British fighter. Kovalev’s punches looked powerful from start to finish. But against Canelo, Kovalev appeared very, very weak, and that had fans wondering what’s going on. That’s the biggest reason why Canelo didn’t receive credit for his victory over Kovalev.

Fans wanted Canelo to prove himself against the #1 light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) in a unification fight, but Alvarez chose to vacate his WBO belt instead of giving the fans what they wanted to see. Beterbiev would have been a different story than Kovalev.

The two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev’s power likely wouldn’t disappear overnight like Kovalev’s did, and he would be hard for Canelo to deal with. Beterbiev is quite skilled at fighting on the inside, and he’s dangerous with his body punching.

Therefore, all the things Canelo used to beat Golovkin, he wouldn’t be able to utilize against Beterbiev with the same results. Unlike GGG, Beterbiev wouldn’t give ground if Canelo tried to walk him down and pressure him.




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