By Jake Donovan
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer first planted the seed more than two years ago for the possibility of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez one day getting a crack at pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. At the time, the move was viewed as means to simply build the name of a young fighter still on the way up.
What sounded preposterous at the time is now dangerously close to becoming a reality.
Alvarez has appeared in the chief supporting slot for Mayweather’s last two pay-per-view events and plays the same role on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. An hour or so before Mayweather moves up in weight to challenge for Miguel Cotto’s 154 lb. title, Alvarez – a titlist in the same weight class – puts his own belt on the line as he faces former three-division champ “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
For the moment, Golden Boy is doing its best to not tip its hand as to the desired outcome for each bout. However, it stands to reason that an Alvarez win does much better future business regardless of the outcome of the main event. Mosley has already lost to both acts in the headliner, dropping a decision to Cotto in Nov. ’07 and was soundly outpointed by Mayweather two years ago.
A world of possibilities still exist for Alvarez (39-0-1, 29KO), who makes the fourth defense of the alphabet belt he acquired last March. Of course, how lucrative of a future he can enjoy depends on how well he perfoms on May 5.
“The (Alvarez-Mosley) winner goes on to bigger and better things. That’s a given,” states Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions, who serves as lead promoter for the May 5 event. “They can face the winner of Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz, or the winner of Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto.
“It’s definitely something we have to sit down and talk about after the fact, after May 5. But those would be the plans for the immediate future.”
The biggest fight out of the bunch would be a showdown between Mayweather and Alvarez. Both are still unbeaten. Alvarez is in his prime and a huge star in his native Mexico. Mayweather is no longer in his optimal prime, but is still good enough to serve as no worse than among the best two fighters in the world and by far the biggest American box office attraction the sport has to offer.
One major roadblock for such an event – assuming both come out victorious on May 5, which is not a given for either fight – is when it can take place.
“Next” is obviously not an option, as Mayweather is due to report to prison on June 1. His sentence was delayed by five months thanks to the argument presented by his legal team that commitments already in place for May 5 would mean big business for a struggling Las Vegas economy.
The minimum Mayweather is required to serve in prison is just under three months, which puts his release at around Labor Day. That all but rules out any chance of such a fight happening in mid-September, which along with Cinco de Mayo serves as weekends often reserved for major boxing events relevant to the Mexican community, whether the main event or its supporting undercard.
So long as both fighters keep winning, anticipation will only increase. For Golden Boy, that means more dollars to count – and for THE Golden Boy himself, the possibility of his name being knocked out of the record books.
de la Hoya presently serves as the all-time boxing pay-per-view king. His career has grossed more buys and pay-per-view revenue than any other fighter in history, with his May ’07 showdown with Mayweather shattering all single event records.
No fight since has ever come close, even with Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao regularly pulling in massive numbers with each pay-per-view appearance. Their own pairing figures to shatter all boxing revenue records, but the fight remains a pipedream as the two sides can’t figure out the best way to split hundreds of millions of dollars or the terms under which such a fight should be fought.
A Mayweather-Alvarez fight would be much easier to make – Alvarez is under contract with Golden Boy Promotions, while Mayweather’s promotional company (Mayweather Promotions) has done nearly all of its business in association with Golden Boy.
Given the logistics, speculation has already begun as to the magnitude of an event between the biggest stars that the United States and Mexico has to offer.
“I actually would be biting my nails because that fight can get close to my fight with Floyd Mayweather,” de la Hoya admits.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]