In the meanwhile, I'll take two sighs of relief. The fight between Canelo and Joshua Clottey was never really designed to be a competitive match-up as much as it was built to be a HBO feature on Canelo, to continue building his star. Luckily for us fans, Canelo was able to dig deep - summoning his inner James Kirkland - and pull out of the fight due to a...muscle strain?!
Well that's the story Golden Boy is selling us anyways, when they released the following statement:
"Due to a persistent ankle injury, Canelo Alvarez must withdraw from his December 6 bout," read a statement from Golden Boy Promotions. "He thanks his fans for their support and looks forward to big things in 2015 on HBO. Golden Boy Promotions and HBO are reviewing their options for the Dec. 6 date."
"It's a muscle strain that he's had for a while now, and it happened way before the Lara fight," De La Hoya told RingTV.com on Monday. "He knows that 2015 is going to be a huge year for him, so he wants to take care of it right now."
I certainly can't say I'm disappointed about the cancellation, but I am a little disappointed in the explanation. A Golden Boy statement cited an an ankle injury and Oscar tells us its a muscle strain he's had since before the Lara fight. I'm racking my brain to think if I've ever heard of someone whose had a pulled muscle in their ankle and...yup...I'm quite certain that I never have. That's not a personal attack on Canelo's credibility or whatever, he may well be ailing from an injury, but this one just sounds suspect at face value. Moreover, this isn't a postponement or anything like that, Clottey is getting canned altogether with dreams of bigger aspirations.
What I think this really boils down to, however, is Canelo's team putting him into position to make a power play for those Mexican fight dates. Neither Canelo nor Oscar De La Hoya have kept it a secret that Canelo wants to retake the Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independance Day fight dates from Floyd Mayweather. I don't see how a December fight with Clottey would impact those aspirations, unless they thought Canelo could possibly lose (which I doubt), thus perhaps its more about keeping him in peak physical condition for what would be much more important fights, as Oscar alluded to. And what do you know, Oscar already has some ideas on how he can take those dates back for his prized star. Oscar would like to attract another boxing star for Canelo that would guarantee enough money to be competitive with, or surpass the drawing power of Mayweather, namely by recruiting Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. or Miguel Cotto.
"I'm going to be talking to the team over the next couple of days, but, obviously, Cinco de Mayo is the date that Canelo wants to fight on, so, obviously, there has to be a huge name, so we will see," said De La Hoya. "Look, there are two options out there that Canelo is considering, and those are Julio Cesar Chavez, which is very, very possible, and Miguel Cotto, which is another fight that is very, very possible."
We've heard rumblings of a potential Cotto fight for quite a while now, and while Chavez Jr. would also fit the bill quite nicely, I'm not sure how they would be able to work that out while he's stuck in a contract dispute with Bob Arum. Will any of you lose sleep over the Clottey cancellation? And if Oscar manages to pull a Cotto or Chavez Jr. for a May date, do they have any real possibility of supplanting Floyd Mayweather?