Jhonny Gonzalez reports at BoxingScene.com that negotiations for a June 18 fight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Ryan Rhodes are not exactly going easily, which is what you probably expected when word of the fight came calling last week.
Rhodes has apparently "raised" his demands for a fight with Alvarez, which could lead to a purse bid, but just as likely in the short-term, Alvarez taking a lesser opponent on June 18. Eric Gomez of Golden Boy said this:
"Rhodes is not the only possible opponent. There are other options that we can not mention because it might complicate the negotiations. ... Rhodes is a good opponent, difficult, but let's see what is best. We will have the best selection so the people can have a good fight."
The Golden Boy team has never been the best at covering up what they're really saying, and to me it sounds like they might not really want the Rhodes fight as soon as June 18. And I can't blame them, either. Not from a developmental standpoint. Alvarez is a phenom in Mexico -- where the fight will be held -- no matter who he fights. Rhodes is a good, veteran, tricky fighter with a punch. Rhodes is a big step up from the undersized and largely powerless Matthew Hatton or undersized Lovemore N'dou or shot Carlos Baldomir. All of those fights were fine for a 20-year-old kid still finding his feet in the sport, and Rhodes would be an excellent test that I do hope we see, but for the first time there would be a really legitimate chance that Alvarez loses. And that might not make business sense for Golden Boy or Alvarez right now. I mean, would you take Rhodes if you were advising Canelo? I'll admit I'd probably wait until later this year at least.
Actually, this is an odd case where the heinous WBC made a decision that kind of made sense -- Rhodes deserves to be "mandatory challenger," even if that doesn't protect the favored Mexican fighter they all but handed over a gift-wrapped title to last time out. One gets the feeling that the WBC might be far more ready to rush Alvarez into bigger and tougher fights than Golden Boy or even Alvarez himself. But the fact is, Alvarez is probably the biggest attraction in Mexican boxing right now, and with the rich boxing culture in Mexico, they might be getting a bit anxious to move on to the next flagship star of the country, what with the other current notable Mexican fighters (there are still many) either being up there in years or not just not big-time draws the way Alvarez is.