It’s a new week and the promoter for multi-division World Champ, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, wants to make it clear that there is not a “favorite” in terms of his next opponent coming in May.
First, as we have written previously, the belief is that Alvarez, who most recently won the WBO Light Heavyweight championship last November but has since vacated that belt, will be back fighting at super middleweight later this year.
And further, the belief is that he would fight English WBO 168 lb. champ, Billy Joe Saunders, probably in Las Vegas on May 2nd. However, Canelo’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy promotions, refuted that any single opponent is the front-runner for that potential fight/date.
Speaking with the boxing reporter/writer “Radio Raheem” in a video interview, De La Hoya plainly stated that all options are still being discussed:
🗣 "FAKE! BILLY JOE SAUNDERS IS NOT THE FRONT RUNNER" ‼️
Click link to watch FULL video! ⬇️
— Radio Rahim (@RadioRahimTV) January 20, 2020
“You know, there are so many options and I would hate to throw a name out there…I’ll tell you one thing: Saunders is not the front runner. That’s for sure,” De La Hoya said in the interview. “I have no idea who threw that name out there, but once we nail a name down, I’ll have an announcement shortly.”
De La Hoya maintained that he will be meeting with Canelo and his team soon to discuss the options.
Saunders is the 30 year old unbeaten WBO champ at 29-0.
Alvarez is arguably the biggest financial “meal ticket” in boxing and there are numerous fighters at either middleweight, super middleweight or light heavyweight that would love for the opportunity to make the biggest money of their career to fight him.
This is what drove the 36-year old Kovalev to defend against Alvarez last November, just nine weeks having having put up his title in Russia with a knockout win over Britain’s Anthony Yarde. Kovalev reportedly was guaranteed over $7 million before being stopped in the 11th round.
If Alvarez does not fight Saunders, there is speculation that he could also fight unified 168 lb. champ, Callum Smith, of England. Or, Canelo might drop back down to middleweight and potentially, fight fellow Mexican Jaime Munguia.
Munguia, the unbeaten 23 year old former WBO Jr. Middleweight Champ, just moved up to 160 lb. and defeated journeyman contender Spike O’Sullivan by 11th round TKO two weeks ago. Munguia, also promoted by Golden Boy, had vacated his 154 lb. title, because he says he can no longer easily make that weight and wants to be a middleweight.
And, of course, another subplot in this whole situation is: Canelo’s strained relationship with De La Hoya. That came to the ugly forefront last fall, when Canelo was stripped of the IBF version of his Undisputed Middleweight title, because De La Hoya’s management team with Golden Boy didn’t get him a fight with IBF #1 challenger Sergei Derevyanchenko by a deadline.
The relationship was so icy that at the pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas for the Kovalev fight, Alvarez not only did not acknowledge De La Hoya in his comments, but even while seated next to him, would not even make eye contact with the former Hall of Fame fighter turned promoter.
Now, we wait to see if it is Saunders or another more viable option that Canelo agrees to take on, and whether De La Hoya has much or any “say-so” in what Canelo does next?