By Ronnie Nathanielsz
World Boxing Council president Don Jose Sulaiman believes that WBC light middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will give Floyd Mayweather Jr “a helluva fight” should negotiations for a May 5 clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, materialize.
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Sulaiman said “I don’t believe that he would beat Mayweather because that is foolish. Mayweather is a great fighter and has never lost. But I believe there are very few fighters who could give Mayweather the kind of fight that ‘Canelo’ can.”
Sulaiman said Alvarez could come down to 150 pounds but couldn’t drop to the welterweight limit of 147 while Mayweather himself could go up three pounds to 150 to help make the fight.
Alvarez himself has said “right now my mind is focused on a possible fight with Mayweather. It would be a dream fulfilled.”
The WBC president was pleased that the Mayweather people had given up on the idea of fighting Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero who was a mere lightweight even as he disclosed that “they are talking very seriously about a Mayweather-Alvarez fight” for the May 5 Hispanic Cinco de Mayo holiday in the US.
Boxing writer Michael Marley reported that the renowned Rafael Mendoza who is responsible for launching the career of Alvarez told him “Canelo sells tickets. Canelo has a big market” when compared to Guerrero who hadn’t a ghost of a chance of landing the fight against Mayweather.
Recalling Canelo’s fight on the Mayweather-Shane Mosley undercard at the MGM Grand, Mendoza claimed “they drew 15,000 people. I believe 14,000 of them were Mexicans who came to see Canelo’s Las Vegas debut. Do you think those Mexican fans cared for Mayweather and Mosley? No because Mexicans do not like how Mayweather fights, they hate his style.”
Mendoza, like Sulaiman, agreed that “most Mexicans know Canelo cannot win but they don’t care. In their minds they won’t be paying to see Mayweather, they will be paying to see the Mexican fighter.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said he understands that an announcement is likely to be made on Saturday on the choice of Alvarez. At the same time Arum said Pacquiao “going to let me know on Saturday and I’ll get to work on it." However, he gave no indication as to who his preference is among Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley, Lamont Peterson and Juan Manuel Marquez although Pacquiao himself has indicated he’s not interested in facing Marquez for a fourth time.
At the same time Sulaiman said he hopes Pacquiao won’t fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time.
Sulaiman pointed out that Marquez was ungrateful and “spoke very, very badly about Pacquiao in Mexico. He (Pacquiao) does not need Marquez. He is speaking badly about everybody and also attacked the organization (WBA) where he is the lightweight champion.”
The WBC president said a fight between pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao and undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr should be staged later this year in either September, October or November.
Sulaiman told BoxingScene/Manila Standard that a May fight is too soon while a November date will give them time to truly promote what is almost certain to be the biggest fight of all-time.