We all knew Mayweather wouldn't give up his prized fight dates willingly, and he certainly made a good go of defending it by challenging Manny Pacquiao to fight him on May 2nd, in what he dubbed "Cinco de Mayweather." Being that Canelo-Cotto is a huge fight, and one in which negotiations are progressing favorably and seems likely to happen, there was really no other opponent Mayweather could name to trump it than Pacquiao. And Mayweather played his ace card right on cue Friday evening.
Canelo, for his part, isn't just going to sit back and watch the date slip through his fingers, he's very sure of himself that he'll eventually get the dates he wants, Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independance Day, typically the two biggest fight dates of the year.
"Everybody knows that Oscar is getting me May 2 and September," said Alvarez, THE RING's No. 1-rated junior middleweight, on Saturday. "Those are the Mexican holidays, and they belong to the Mexican fighters. Everybody knows those are the Mexican holidays and the traditional dates for the Mexican fighters."
"My promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, called me and told me that everything is fine. He's working, and I trust him, so I'm just waiting to hear an agreement for the fight to happen. I'm not desperate," said Alvarez
"I'm waiting on Oscar, and I'm very happy that the fight will be done very soon. ... I'm the fighter, I'm just waiting. Whatever they say about the fight, I will be ready."
Bob Arum also chimed in to show support for Canelo getting these dates:
"That weekend celebrates Cinco De Mayo, which is a Mexican Holiday, which commemorates the outstanding, courageous stand of a lot of Mexican civilians who turned back the French Imperial army, and it's a significant holiday in Mexico and among Mexican Americans who live in the United States. That being said, neither Mr. Mayweather, nor Mr. Pacquiao, nor Mr. Cotto is Mexican. Cotto is Hispanic, but not Mexican," said Arum of Cotto, who is Puerto Rican.
"The only Mexican in the group is Canelo Alvarez, who is a big attraction among the Mexican people. And to poach on that date, which is a Mexican holiday, by non-Mexicans, shows a terrible disrespect for the Mexican people, both those living in Mexico and those living in the United States. And anybody who does the poaching ought to be ashamed of themselves. That goes for hotels and that goes for fighters and that goes for any of us."
Arum then went of to say that CBS executive, Les Moonves, the guy said to be leading the May-Pac charge is very aware of his feelings on the Cinco de Mayo date.
"I believe that that is his position, also. All that means is that Les has communicated that to me, and I've communicate that to him, and I'll communicate that to everybody," said Arum. "I don't want people disrespecting particularly the Mexicans and the Mexican-Americans. It's their holiday. Quit f-king around with their date."
It's hard to say if this isn't just another opportunity for Arum to take a dig at Mayweather, as the two have had a very contentious relationship for years, but I suppose his point is debatable. Both Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day are clearly Mexican holidays, but I don't know if that in and of itself means that Mexican fighters inherently own those dates to stage fights. I mean, this is the "Free World" and all. But I think reasonable arguments can be made both for and against this concept.
What I am sure of, however, is that a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be a tremendously huge event no matter what day of the year it happened to land on. Thus, this is really more about ego and pride than dollars and cents, but there would seem to be at least some dollars and cents at stake for Canelo and Cotto. I believe they would reap more beneficial gains by fighting on Cinco de Mayo than May-Pac (who wouldn't really need any added boost to sales). We can't be certain as to how this will all play out, particularly since neither fight is a done deal to this point, but it will be interesting to see how the cookie eventually crumbles.