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What's next for Canelo Alvarez? Five potential fights for fall 2014 return

Canelo Alvarez is likely to return this fall for a third fight in 2014. What's available for the 24-year-old star?

Josh Hedges
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Canelo Alvarez is one of American boxing's three biggest stars, after Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and following a win over Erislandy Lara this past Saturday, there's speculation that the 24-year-old Mexican phenom will return late this year, possibly in November.

The 154-pound division has cleared out a bit, and obviously if Canelo fights late this year, he won't be fighting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, who will instead take on Marcos Maidana again on September 13. It's also unlikely that Canelo is looking to just sit out until May 2015, a full 10 months, before potentially facing Mayweather again, if that fight is in fact going to happen (it might, it might not -- I'm a real Chris Broussard over here with the scoops and analysis).

So what's out there for Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KO) as he eyes a return this fall? There are some intriguing possibilities.

Rematch with Erislandy Lara

It would seem unlikely, but if this is the most-demanded fight out there, Canelo has proven that he's willing to actually listen to the audience and fight the fights that seem the most dangerous. He's done it against Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, and Lara this past weekend. A Lara rematch seems risky and troublesome, and going from taking the chance on the cash cow beating the crafty guy with no fan base once may have been enough for Golden Boy. But Canelo holds sway as the star fighter, and he's shown that in the past, including the three fights already mentioned. Is this the best fight at 154 still? Yeah, probably. There's just not much in the division that is particularly interesting.

Miguel Cotto

Cotto (39-4, 32 KO) is coming off of a demolition of Sergio Martinez to win the lineal middleweight championship and the WBC title, and a catchweight (155 or 156 pounds?) fight against Canelo could be interesting to him. It's a big money fight for both guys, a natural matchmaking situation with two star fighters who can draw fans, would reignite the Mexico-Puerto Rico boxing rivalry in a big way, and it might be the most money out there for either man later this year. Cotto, a free agent, fights wherever the money is right now. There have been discussions for Canelo-Cotto in the past, and this might be the perfect time to strike, with Cotto looking great under Freddie Roach (even if it's smoke and mirrors due to a tune-up opponent and then a guy whose body had him fighting like one) and Canelo hot after two wins this year.

Keith Thurman

This one is highly unlikely, but Thurman (23-0, 21 KO) has said he's willing to fight at 147 or 154, wherever he can make the biggest impact in the biggest fights, and right now, he's sort of on ice, kind of on the outside looking in. Canelo would be a big step up in competition for Thurman, a devastating puncher and sneaky good boxer with a great personality and a lot of money potential on paper. I think Thurman wouldn't even blink before accepting the fight if it came to him, but the question might be whether or not Al Haymon would want to put one of his young guns in with Canelo and risk his "0" in a very tough matchup. I believe fans would love to see this, but it doesn't add up right now. Or maybe it will. The world is full of surprises.

James Kirkland

Kirkland (32-1, 28 KO) hasn't fought since December 2013, when he beat Glen Tapia in a war on HBO, fighting under the Top Rank banner for that evening. The 30-year-old Texan has burned Golden Boy in the past, but with a dwindling roster and few attractive options for Alvarez out there, GBP would almost certainly be willing to sign Kirkland up for this fight. What may give them pause more than his past legal issues or his trying to sue the company to get out of his contract might be the fact that they thought they had this fight done once before, only for Kirkland to bail on the negotiations, fabricating a shoulder injury when in reality, he just wanted more money. That was the September 2012 matchup that was supposed to be Canelo vs Paul Williams, then Canelo vs Kirkland, then Canelo vs Victor Ortiz, and eventually, we got the Canelo vs Josesito Lopez mismatch. Canelo-Kirkland is still a terrific fight on paper, as James Kirkland finds it impossible to be in a bad fight, and his aggression could bring out the best in Alvarez, too.

Gennady Golovkin

Golovkin (29-0, 26 KO) was name-dropped by Oscar De La Hoya, and would indeed be the sort of extremely dangerous foe that Canelo seems to like facing, though even more so, because Golovkin is a brutal puncher and an experienced middleweight. Golovkin is working with HBO through K2 Promotions, so it would be a question of De La Hoya taking Canelo to HBO pay-per-view, or Golovkin coming to Showtime pay-per-view, and for the love of God, please do not bring up that one time that Lewis-Tyson resulted in HBO and Showtime working together, because it's not happening again for something like Canelo-Golovkin.

Two questions for you guys and gals:

  1. What do you want to see Canelo do this fall?
  2. What do you think Canelo will do this fall?

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