Is Saul Alvarez's team really looking to avoid guys who can punch? (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Though it appeared initially that Nicaraguan brawler Ricardo Mayorga was in the lead to face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the young Mexican star's September fight, it now seems that Alfonso Gomez may become the leading candidate if trainer Eddie Reynoso has his way:
Reynoso mentioned Gomez last week as a possible candidate, but in several recent interviews he started calling Gomez a "preferred opponent" for September 17. Reynoso doesn't like the idea of his boxer facing Ricardo Mayorga, based on the Nicaraguan's track record of losing almost every major fight.
I'm going to say something, and it doesn't mean that I'm full-scale on board with the thought, but here's something that's going to come up in fan circles: If they fight Gomez instead of Mayorga, Alvarez is going to again be accused of ducking guys who can punch. Gomez is a welterweight who has dabbled at 154 and has definitely been better at 147. He's not a puncher and when he was put in the ring one time against an elite fighter, he was savagely crushed by Miguel Cotto in 2008 until the fight was mercifully stopped after five painful rounds.
The Alvarez camp has expressed concern that Mayorga is too expensive for a fight, but as we noted before, that's probably hogwash one way or the other: Mayorga's purse to face Cotto in March was a whopping $50,000, and it's not as if Gomez would be paid less than that to take the risk against Canelo. Again, for reference: Mike Alvarado made $50K for his fight in the opening bout of the Pacquiao vs Mosley PPV. The only way that Mayorga and promoter Don King are likely to price themselves out -- truly price themselves out -- is if they have no interest in the fight, and I don't see that as likely, either, since Mayorga has never ducked anyone and has always been willing to take fights where he was a heavy underdog.
On another note, Gomez is also a Top Rank fighter, so that might be a bit difficult even though Top Rank and Golden Boy are back on friendlier terms. They've still yet to have any serious discussions for a co-promoted fight, and Top Rank might not see feeding Gomez to Alvarez as something worthwhile for their fighter.
Whatever Alvarez winds up doing, it's all but 100% official that he will fight on September 17, on the Mayweather vs Ortiz HBO PPV show, from a different location than the MGM Grand in Vegas. Alvarez likely will fight in Mexico, as holding a major live show in the U.S. that night just wouldn't make sense, as that's however many thousand people aren't buying the Mayweather vs Ortiz pay-per-view.