By Jake Donovan
Prior to 2014, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was a fixture on boxing cards centered around the Mexican Independence Day holiday in September. His placement made perfect sense on such cards, serving as perhaps the nation’s most popular active fighter.
Dating back to 2009, Alvarez appeared on a Mexican Independence Day-themed card for five straight years. The past two saw the former super welterweight titlist in the headlining bout
His 2012 appearance serving as his debut on Showtime, turning into a huge event despite directly competing with a pay-per-view show on HBO headlined by rival countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a losing effort versus then-lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez.
Last September saw Alvarez (43-1-1, 31KO) suffer his own first loss, dropping a 12-round decision to Floyd Mayweather in what became the highest grossing boxing event of all time.
Immediately following the win, Mayweather – who had fought on Cinco de Mayo earlier that year – announced a blueprint for 2014 that would replicate the pattern he carried out in 2013. Alvarez followed up with his own announcement that he would fight three times in 2014 – March, July and either October or December, depending on the opportunity.
Such a schedule means that the former super welterweight titlist will not fight on or near Mexican Independence Day for the first time since 2008.
Alvarez, who turns 24 later this month, is scheduled to face Erislandy Lara on July 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, his second bout of 2014, neither of which have touched a Mexican holiday. His first fight following the Mayweather loss came this past March, stopping Alfredo Angulo in the 10th round of his first pay-per-view headliner as the event’s main attraction. The event drew a reported 350,000 pay-per-view buys, a solid number considering the budget for the show, but hardly indicative that he can demand any date he wants, unlike his lone conqueror.
Short of a rematch with Mayweather, there was little chance of Alvarez fighting on either date in 2014 anyway. His status has grown to the point where event handlers can no longer afford both fighters on the same show, and the continued reshaping of Golden Boy Promotions has lead to doubt over whether the company will ever again land business with Mayweather Promotions.
While he is still in the process of finalizing terms for his reserved September 13 date (a rematch with Marcos Maidana is the most likely bout), Mayweather is already hinting at fighting next May and September, which would serve as the final bouts of his six-fight deal with Showtime.
Alvarez still has to get past Lara and also assume the sort of industry traffic to where he gets to dictate the terms. However, his nationalistic pride leaves him disappointed that the dates aren’t being reserved for Mexican-themed boxing events.
“Yes I would love to reclaim those dates,” Alvarez insists. “Those dates are Mexican dates – Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day. Next year, I want to be fighting on those dates.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox