By Rick Reeno
Despite a recent setback, WBC 154-pound champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (40-0-1, 29KOs) is moving full steam ahead to a title defense on September 15th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, Canelo and his manager, Chepo Reynoso, sat down with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to work out the details of the September show.
"There is absolutely no question that it will be a big night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com. "The fact is, Canelo told us that he doesn't really care who it is, [he] just [wants us to] make the biggest possible event."
Alvarez was scheduled to face Victor Ortiz. However, this past Saturday night Ortiz was upset by Josesito Lopez in a "Fight of The Year" contender. Although Canelo-Ortiz was announced several days earlier, there were contingency plans in place - in the event Ortiz was upset or suffered an injury.
Two of the names being mentioned in the running to face Canelo include WBA "regular" champion Austin Trout (25-0, 14KOs) and IBF beltholder Cornelius Bundrage (31-4, 18KOs), who faces Cory Spinks in a rematch this coming Saturday night on Showtime. Schaefer was tight-lipped regarding the actual frontrunner, but he anticipates a deal being closed by next week.
The press tour has a tentative launch date of July 14th in Las Vegas, where Golden Boy will stage an HBO televised doubleheader at the Mandalay Bay, with junior welterweights Amir Khan and Danny Garcia colliding in the main event for the WBC/WBA titles.
"Currently [we'll] kick it off on July 14th in Vegas and then the following week we'll do La, New York and Mexico City," Schaefer said.
The television platform has not been finalized, says Schaefer. Showtime, Showtime pay-per-view and even CBS - are all in the running to carry Canelo's next fight.
"That's the question now. Wait, wait, wait. It's all going to come to light very soon. I am working on it diligently. I like the way things are going over here," Schaefer said.
In terms of Canelo fight landing on CBS, or on Showtime pay-per-view, Schaefer says there are no obstacles to overcome in making either move possible. He disputes some of the recent comments that were made on BoxingScene.com by Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum regarding potential conflicts with Canelo appearing on CBS or Showtime pay-per-view.
Top Rank is planning to stage an event on the same night, only two miles down the road, at the Thomas & Mack Center. In the main event, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will defend his WBC middleweight title against pound-for-pound fighter Sergio Martinez. HBO pay-per-view is expected to carry the card.
The head to head scenario has obviously caused friction, but both sides appear to be very determined to move forward with their respective shows. Schaefer doesn't expect the competing event to affect the attendance at the MGM Grand. He notes that Maná, a popular Mexican rock band from Guadalajara, will perform that weekend at the MGM Grand - and their scheduled performance is expected to bring in a big Mexican crowd to the venue that weekend.
"There is going to be an Alabama-Arkansas football game in the afternoon, but it's going to be over by the evening. And the pay-per-view, channel 1 and channel 2, what bullsh*t is that? [Arum] is telling that to people who don't understand the pay-per-view business. If we want to go pay-per-view, we have the pay-per-view industry behind us if that's what we want to do. It's not the first pay-per-view that we're doing. Last time I checked, we are the record-holder of number one and two, the biggest pay-per-view of all-time and the two biggest non-heavyweight pay-per-views of all-time. They don't have to come and teach us about pay-per-view," Schaefer said.
"If we want to do pay-per-view, it will be huge. If it will be on Showtime, it will be a huge, huge event. Maná, the band Maná, will be at the MGM Grand as well [that weekend]. No matter what platform it will be - it will be huge, it will be historic and it will be a true celebration of Mexican Independence day."
WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez will defend his title against Daniel Ponce De Leon in the co-feature. Golden Boy's head matchmaker, Eric Gomez, is currently working on two other fights to complete the televised portion of the show.