By Manouk Akopyan
Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy are getting close to announcing what’s next for boxing’s biggest superstar in Canelo Alvarez.
“We have several choices. We will announce it shortly. We’re very close to signing a deal,” De La Hoya told BoxingScene.com.
“Nowadays when you throw a fighter's name out there, it makes it impossible to negotiate. That fighter then thinks that his stock climbed like there’s no tomorrow. There’s so much money now in boxing being thrown around to fighters that you have to be careful who you mention. I can assure you that the public will be happy with what we will announce.”
When De La Hoya was pressed to see if Alvarez’s next opponent is the much-discussed Sergey Kovalev, he compared negotiations around Canelo’s next fight to a high stakes card game in Las Vegas.
“It’s like playing poker while showing your hand. It makes it impossible. Canelo is the cash cow, and everyone knows of the deal I got him with DAZN, the richest sports deal in history. It makes it a little more difficult,” said De La Hoya. “That’s why we don’t go after one opponent, but several at the same time. Whoever wants to take the deal and make history to fight Canelo, than we have fighters to choose from.”
Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) has made it clear in recent months that he wants to move up two divisions and fight the WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs). While he was promoting his fight against Daniel Jacobs earlier this year, Alvarez already had his sights set on the 175-pound weight class. After he beat Jacobs in May, he realigned his intentions toward Kovalev, who was tied down to a mandatory defense of his title against Anthony Yarde in August.
Before Kovalev defeated Yarde, Kovalev manager Egis Klimas told BoxingScene.com that, “Canelo has stated he doesn’t want to fight anybody else. He wants to fight Kovalev. He’s waiting right now on this fight result. The fight against Yarde is a big motivation for Sergey, too. Winning this fight against Yarde will lead him to Alvarez and it’s almost like putting the signature on the contract to Alvarez.”
BoxingScene.com reached out to Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva on Saturday, but the head of Main Events said she had no comment on any of the current negotiations around Alvarez and Kovalev.
De La Hoya, a former six-division champion, said he’s doing his best to help enable the biggest star in the sport in his quest to compete at 160, 168 and 175.
“I wouldn’t recommend him fighting at light heavyweight, but he wants to make history. There’s a reason fighters don’t jump divisions. It’s because it’s difficult,” he said. “You have to commend him for wanting to make history. That’s why he’s the best in the planet, because he takes risks and challenges.
“Boxing and boxers have changed. Fighters don’t want to take risks anymore—at least the risks we once took in the past. Canelo can handle that weight and power. He’s a strong and thick kid.”
A fight between Alvarez and Kovalev seems like a formality. The date discussed is Nov. 2. The location was pegged to be the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but the NHL's Golden Knights are playing at the venue that night, which in turn could shift the bout to another Vegas venue like the MGM Grand. The only issues that likely remain is how much money Kovalev will exactly earn in a life-altering payday.
A good time to finally announce the fight would be during Mexican Independence Day Weekend—a date De La Hoya has long owned, and his since, passed on to Alvarez.
Golden Boy already has a fight card headlined by Jaime Munguia and Ryan Garcia on Sept. 14 in Carson, Calif.
It should use that event and date to finally re-introduce the fighter who should have been headlining the holiday all along.
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.