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Canelo Alvarez could fight in September AND December

Canelo Alvarez

By Barry Holbrook: Saul Canelo Alvarez could still end up fighting twice in 2020 despite the pandemic wiping out his previous plans on competing on May 2. Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 K.O.s) is expected back on September 12 on DAZN in Las Vegada, Nevada. Golden Boy Promotions still hasn’t picked out an opponent for Canelo’s September date, and they’re not in a rush to find someone.

Without the worry of selling tickets, due to Alvarez’s next fight being held behind closed doors, Golden By doesn’t need to announce his contest early. Golden Boy president Eric Gomez told ESPN that they could even wait until August before they select Canelo’s opponent and reveal the news to the boxing media.

But if Canelo is looking to make a fast turnaround by fighting in December, then he’s going to need a soft touch for his September 12 date.

Canelo will need a non-threat

  • John Ryder
  • David Lemieux
  • Anthony Dirrell
  • Billy Joe Saunders

If Canelo fights someone with talent, he could get too banged up for him to swing back around to fight in December. That’s a short turnaround time for Alvarez, and it’s too risky for him to take a talented guy in September.

Canelo Alvarez

Canelo did get away with making this same move in September when he beat Gennady Golovkin in a war and then came back to destroy the unheralded Rocky Fielding in December. However, it was luck on Canelo’s part for him to get through the GGG fight without suffering a bad cut.

It also helped that Canelo went after the paper champion Fielding rather than one of the good super middleweights like Caleb Plant or David Benavidez. If Canelo fought either of them after his grueling match with Golovkin, he likely would have lost.

The only weak champion in the 168-lb division right now is WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, who wants too much money to fight Canelo.

The idea behind fighting a British fighter that Americans have never heard of like Ryder is to help with DAZN’s global reach for the U.K. It would be the same situation for when Gennady Golovkin fought little known 35-year-old Canadian Steve Rolls in 2019.

Choosing Rolls helped DAZN with subscribers in Canada. Just how much it helped them is unclear because Rolls isn’t a big name even in Canada. It was good for Golovkin to get an easy opponent for him to wipeout, but the U.S. boxing fans weren’t pleased with this choice. These are strategic moves.

Canelo selecting Ryder will make British fans happy

The British boxing fans will be happy if Canelo picks Ryder, who was arguably robbed in his last fight in November against WBA 168-lb belt-holder Callum Smith. Ryder hung in there and wore Callum down with his under attack in the second half of the bout.

On a negative side, Ryder looked painfully slow and weak. The only reason he was able to go the full 12 round distance if because Callum has no inside game, and he was missing wildly with his big homerun shots the entire fight. Although Callum did land big punches occasionally, he wasn’t able to put his shots together to bang Ryder out of there.

Canelo would likely have no problem destroying Ryder in two or three rounds with his inside game, and his superior accuracy. It would be a fight very similar to Canelo’s 2018 match against Rocky Fielding.

That was a disappointing match to watch for American boxing fans because it was too one-sided. Canelo went out there and obligated the hapless Fielding in three rounds. The only reason the fight lasted that long is because Canelo looked like he was going easy on Fielding in rounds one and two.

Canelo can’t fight Sergiy Derevyanchenko or Callum Smith because he’s likely to get busted up and badly bruised by both. Alvarez might even lose to them. Of course, by placing the fight in Las Vegas, Canelo will be in good shape if the fight goes the full 12 rounds.

Gomez not worried about Canelo’s opponent

“We’ve talked about it, there’s different scenarios,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said to ESPN about Alvarez possibly fighting twice in 2020. “But everything right now is just ideas and we’re talking. He’ll decide what he wants.”

“You want to get out ahead when you’re selling tickets, which there’s not going to be any tickets to sell, and there’s not going to be a gate, so that helps. We can announce even a month out,” Eric said about Canelo’s September 12 fight.

If Canelo is serious about wanting to fight twice in 2020, it pretty much tips his hand, letting the wise boxing fans know that he’s likely to take on an easy opponent for September. Golden Boy will have the perfect excuse to tell the angry boxing fans by blaming the choice of an opponent on the pandemic. But in reality, Canelo probably was never going to risk his neck fighting someone talented like Derevyanchenko.

Canelo Alvarez

Out of the small number of fighters that have been mentioned for Canelo’s September fight, Derevyanchenko is the only name that stands out. The rest of the guys mentioned have been lackluster options that won’t interest American boxing fans. In other words, Canelo could wind up with Lemieux, Callum, Ryder, Dirrell, or even Saunders.

Fighters need to be REASONABLE

Without a need to make a quick decision, Golden Boy negotiates with several fighters and go back and forth with them until they get the cheapest option for Alvarez.

“Some do, and then there are other fighters who need to wake up and don’t understand it’s a different world we’re living in now,” Gomez said. “The problem right now is fighters have to be reasonable; everyone has to be reasonable.

“So the first guy to step up and is reasonable, and understands we’re in a pandemic, that’s probably the guy who’s going to get the fight,” said Gomez on Canelo’s next fight.

The way that Gomez keeps banging on about fighters needing to be “reasonable” in their asking price for a Canelo fight, it suggests strongly that John Ryder will be the one selected. While that may work for Golden Boy’s budget, it won’t help DAZN with the U.S. boxing fans.

The fans that have suspended their accounts with DAZN due to them not showing any boxing during the pandemic will likely opt not to reactivate them. To get the fans back, DAZN needs Canelo to pick someone that has a chance of beating him.

Ryder has no chance, and the same goes for Lemieux and Dirrell. Those would be awful choices for Canelo.

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