By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, confirmed to BoxingScene.com that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (43-1-1, 31KOs) vs. WBA 'regular' junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12KOs) is a "done deal." The Showtime Pay-Per-View fight is taking place on July 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will be Canelo's third consecutive fight at the venue.
Lara has already been pulled from a scheduled May 2 defense against former IBF champion Ishe Smith, which was booked at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A new opponent is being pursued for Smith.
Canelo-Lara will be a non-title contest, says Schaefer. The Mexican superstar had no interest in paying a sanctioning fee for a 'regular' world title when Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the recognized champion under the WBA.
"It's a non-title fight at 154 plus/minus one-pound. I don't think [weight] was really a determining factor. Canelo believes, and rightfully so, that Floyd Mayweather is the [WBA] champion at 154, so he doesn't want to fight for a title when he feels Mayweather is the champion, which he is. Mayweather is the [WBA] super champion and Lara is the 'regular' champion. If he intends to keep his title, obviously Lara will have to pay the relevant sanctioning fee," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
A recent development in the last few days is Canelo's decision to part ways, at least for his July return, with Mexican television network Televisa. Most Mexican insiders believe the best alternative [for Mexico's coverage of the PPV] is Televisa's direct competitor, TV Azteca. The situation is still brand new and Schaefer will explore that side of the equation next week when he returns from vacation.
"That is something that has to be discussed. Golden Boy owns the worldwide rights, so we're going to have to see how this shakes out. I wasn't really focused on this. I was focused on getting the fight done. Most schools had spring vacation, so I was on vacation with my family. But now I got my keys back and I will be back in the office on Monday. I will be working on stuff next week," Schaefer said.
As far as the selected July date, Schaefer felt it was a perfect moment in the month and he doesn't anticipate any competition from the World Cup.
"I grew up with soccer. I know soccer better than any other sport. The semi-final, the game for the third and fourth place, is really not that relevant. The final is huge, maybe the most watched sporting event period and that will take place on Sunday, the 13th. Obviously on Saturday there is no World Cup final. Canelo is determined to fight three times this year. We can't go on the 19th, because I'm hearing that's when Chavez is going to go [against Golovkin]. And then the 26th is the free delay of the Chavez fight, and you are not going to go against a free delay with a pay-per-view, so the 12th was really the only date in that month," Schaefer said.
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.