During a media event today in Los Angeles to hype the September 17 fight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Alfonso Gomez, Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times tweeted a couple of notable quotes from Alvarez and his promoter, Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions. Alvarez has taken some heat in the media and from fans for not fighting top opponents or noted punchers, but Oscar says that's a promotional decision, not something Alvarez himself is asking for:
Canelo says, "there is no hurry on me, it's part of the game. I told them I want the best. They know when it's my time to fight the best."
Oscar De La Hoya returns to stage today, saying, "(Canelo) comes to us all the time (about tougher fights), we say, 'Take it easy.' #boxing
Alvarez (37-0-1, 27 KO) turned 21 on July 18, and has developed a big following already. But what probably bothers fans more than what is, in my view, pretty average "protection" of a young prospect, is that Golden Boy and the WBC want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to call young Canelo the world champion at 154 pounds, but they also don't want the criticism that he doesn't face world-class contenders from his own weight class. He gained the belt by defeating welterweight Matthew Hatton in March, which was a fight with a 150-pound catchweight that Alvarez didn't actually make. But the WBC didn't pull the belt because Alvarez didn't make weight, as he was still under the normal limit of 154, and because it would have looked bad to do so.
So you've got a young guy holding a belt, who will now fight another veteran, light-punching welterweight in Alfonso Gomez. He did beat Ryan Rhodes in June, and Rhodes was a nearly universal top 10 guy in the weight class at the time, and I don't think Rhodes' lousy performance should totally discredit what Canelo did in that fight.
The reality is that Canelo and Golden Boy are just going to have to accept that the criticism will come until he starts consistently fighting top competition at 154 pounds. It is another part of the game they're playing -- they're continuing to develop Alvarez as a pro fighter, and that's fine. He's very young still. But they also want to call him "champ." Fine, do so, but expect the backlash from that.
Alvarez vs Gomez, which will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, will air as part of the HBO pay-per-view featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Victor Ortiz in the main event from Las Vegas.