Canelo Alvarez is starting to have a harder time finding marquee opponents, which has become no secret.
Lined up for a May 2 return date, Alvarez, who currently holds titles at 160 and 168 at the moment, was initially connected to a fight with Ryota Murata, which fell through. We then heard that Callum Smith flat turned down an offer. And now it seems as though Billy Joe Saunders, who has very little name value in the United States, will be his opponent, though that’s not official.
This means that Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KO) could struggle to keep churning significant interest for DAZN, the streaming platform which gave him a monster contract back in 2018. As big a star as Canelo is, there’s no question that his biggest fights as a promotional A-side are still his two bouts with Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017 and 2018, before he bounced to DAZN.
Knowing that there was still major interest, DAZN also invested in Golovkin, finalizing a deal last year. Golovkin’s first two fights on the service have been against Steve Rolls and Sergiy Derevyanchenko, which didn’t kick up much buzz beyond the hardcore boxing audience, and his next will be a mandatory defense against Kamil Szeremeta. If Saunders has little U.S. recognition, Szeremeta has none.
DAZN signed Golovkin because they wanted to do Canelo-GGG III. There’s no disputing that. It remains a big fight. Alvarez, however, has thus far balked at the idea, and very publicly at that.
“He no longer poses any challenge,” Canelo said last October. “I’ve already beat him. I gave him 24 rounds. He couldn’t do it.”
But things change quick in boxing, and the 29-year-old Alvarez may be changing his tune on the trilogy fight, according to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic:
Sources: Canelo Alvarez has expressed interest in fighting Gennadiy Golovkin in September after previously showing little interest in a trilogy bout. Alvarez plans to campaign at 168 pounds so GGG would likely have to move up from 160. DAZN has long tried to finalize the fight— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) February 18, 2020
Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KO) is going to turn 38 in April, and his best days are certainly behind him. He remains a top fighter, mind you — and if Canelo is done at 160, Golovkin would be considered by most the No. 1 middleweight in the sport — but he had significant trouble with Derevyanchenko, a good fighter himself, last October.
The third fight is not what it might have been in 2019, but it’s not too far off, and it’s still easily the biggest fight for GGG, and probably the biggest fight Canelo can reasonably make. More than just the fact that they’re both terrific fighters, their names remain connected, and there are still a lot of people who don’t think Canelo deserved to win either of those two fights, the first one a draw and the second a majority decision Alvarez victory.
In short, it would make sense given the lay of the land at the moment that Canelo is suddenly more willing to explore a third fight with GGG in good faith. It’s a big fight, and frankly Golovkin isn’t getting any younger and might be ripe for the picking against a primed Alvarez, who could potentially score a convincing victory to finally end the discussion. (Of course, Manny Pacquiao may have thought this ahead of his fourth fight with an aged Juan Manuel Marquez, and we know what happened there.)
Assuming Canelo and GGG win their upcoming fights, is this what you’d want to see in September?