By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has advised BoxingScene.com that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (43-1-1, 31KOs) met with him last week at the Golden Boy offices in Los Angeles and demanded a fight with WBA 'regular' junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12KOs). As previously reported, the date and the venue has been finalized - July 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will be Canelo's third consecutive fight at the venue.
"We spoke about the date, venue and the opponent. Two of those were finalized over the last couple of days....the site and the date - July 12th from the MGM Grand. Canelo was very clear about who he wanted to fight. I think the two best 154-pounders next to Floyd Mayweather - is Lara and Canelo. This is the guy Canelo wants to fight. He was very clear. He didn't want to hear other names. There are other names, but the one he really wants is Lara. He feels the fans, the public and the media feel he is afraid of fighting Lara. He said 'I'm not afraid of fighting anybody.' It's very similar on how he came to me to [demand a]fight with Austin Trout, because a lot of people felt he wouldn't fight Austin Trout and I think he shut a lot of people up there," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"Now he wants to fight Lara and my hat goes off to Canelo, for wanting to take on a guy who is no question one of the most dangerous 154-pounders with a deep amateur background as well. We are in the final stages of hopefully negotiating that fight and hopefully it will get done."
Schaefer is currently in talks with Lara's team. The Cuban boxer is scheduled to defend his title against former IBF champion Ishe Smith on May 2nd at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Schaefer and Canelo are taking no chances. In 2012, when Canelo's first pay-per-view was initially planned - they had several potential opponents fall through. One of them, Victor Ortiz, was knocked off when his jaw was broken by Josesito Lopez - in a fight where Ortiz was a heavy favorite to win. Canelo was then forced to face Lopez in a Showtime Championship Boxing event.
This time around, if the two sides are able to reach a deal, it is highly likely that Lara will be pulled from the May fight with Smith to avoid the possibility of injury.
"Obviously, as part of the negotiations we would have to evaluate if he is going to be staying in that fight or not. That is all part of the ongoing negotiations," Schaefer said.
The fight would be a Showtime Pay-Per-View event. There is a good possibility that seven days later, on July 19th, HBO will have their own pay-per-view event with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. facing Gennady Golovkin in the main event. Schaefer is not worried about a scenario where two pay-per-views would fall in the same month, which is rare but it has happened in the past.
Last September, Canelo lost a twelve round decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a WBC/WBA junior welterweight unification. The pay-per-view generated 2.2 million buys, nearly breaking the all-time record of Mayweather's 2007 encounter with Oscar De La Hoya [2.4 million buys]. Canelo headlined his own pay-per-view card on March 8th and stopped Alfredo Angulo after ten one-sided rounds. The pay-per-view was a big success, generating a better than expected 350,000 buys.
"They are different pay-per-views on different dates. The UFC has pay-per-views on different dates [in the same month as a boxing PPV] and the pay-per-view industry is certainly big enough to carry more than one pay-per-view [in the same month]. It's sort of like a menu where you go into a restaurant and you order what you want, and either you buy something or you don't. We saw in last fight that Canelo is a pay-per-view star. We saw the numbers. I don't know what the [final] numbers are yet, but it will certainly be higher than 350,000," Schaefer said.
"If they do these kind of pay-per-views like the last Canelo fight, the pay-per-view industry walks away with $10 to 15 million dollars and that's a significant revenue source for them. So if they can suddenly have someone like Canelo, who wants to fight three times a year [on pay-per-view] and generating what will amount to $40 million dollars for the pay-per-view industry, I think the pay-per-view industry and the various operators are going to be heavily involved and motivated to promote a Canelo pay-per-view."