The next challenge in Canelo Alvarez’s career could get some clarity very soon.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that he’s “very close to a deal” in finalizing an opponent for his four-division champion. The fight against the yet to be announced foe will take place May 2 in Las Vegas on Cinco De Mayo Weekend.
"As much as I’d love to say a name, I can’t because the fighter adds another zero to their paycheck [as leverage],” said De La Hoya. “We have a handful of fighters on the list. That’s what's exciting about being in Canelo’s position. He has many opponents to choose from."
On Thursday, Mike Coppinger of The Athletic reported that super middleweights Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith each received offers from Golden Boy for a May 2 fight versus Alvarez on DAZN, but both offers were deemed unacceptable by their respective teams and negotiations are ongoing.
Bob Arum, who co-promotes WBA “regular” titlist Ryota Murata along with Japanese promoter Akihiko Honda, was also in talks with Golden Boy to stage a fight between Alvarez and Murata.
“They didn’t want to fight in Japan, and obviously that is where the fight makes the most sense,” Carl Moretti, vice president of boxing operations for Top Rank, told BoxingScene.com. “That would be determined by Oscar and Golden boy since he has Canelo, and Canelo drives the ship as to where it went and how it went.”
Alvarez has previously shared that he wants to fight all over the world, and that Japan is one of the primary locales that spark his interest. The Tokyo Dome, the site of Buster Douglas’ shocking knockout of Mike Tyson 30 years ago, can host upward to 50,000 fans.
“We haven’t heard of anything since … You just hope everything can turn out for the best … We’ve had no issues of getting any fights done with Golden Boy. We’ve known each other for a long time, and I consider Eric Gomez a friend. He’s smart when it comes to business. Anytime there is a fight that makes sense, we don’t hesitate to reach out to them, and I like to believe they feel the same way.”
Unless any new conversations take place, Moretti believes the ship has sailed on a fight between Canelo and Murata.
With a series of options to choose from, including middleweights like Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo, as well as super middleweights like Caleb Plant and David Benavidez, exactly who Alvarez will fight next remains to be seen.
Questions have risen in recent months about De La Hoya's lack of a relationship with the 29-year-old Alvarez.
De La Hoya described his current dealings with Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) as a "business relationship."
“We as promoters know what we’re doing,” said De La Hoya. “If a fighter wants to be treated like a business, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.