What a difference 36 minutes can make. After blatantly disregarding Austin Trout as a viable option, WBC champion Canelo Alvarez and his trainer/ co-manager Chepo Reynoso told Ernesto Castellanos of notifight.com via BoxingScene.com that they are now strongly considering a potential fight with the WBA 'regular' beltholder on May 4, 2013. This follows Trout's upset decision victory over Miguel Cotto last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden but it comes with some implications.
For the last several weeks, Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KO's) has been adamant about his intention to not fight again until May of next year and only face WBA 'Super' light middleweight and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez or four-time champion Cotto. The 22-year old Alvarez, who has been criticized for being treated with kid gloves when it comes to match-ups during his meteoric rise, was 'locked-in' on Cotto heading into Saturday night's fight against Trout, going so far to predict a knockout win for the Puerto Rican star.
Once again, it turned out to be wishful thinking for the young Mexican champion who saw Trout rather handily win a unanimous decision victory over Cotto in front of the rabid New York City fans. The initial implication of this was that Alvarez lost his shot at a big money fight – Mayweather had expressed a preference to return to the ring in February instead of May, Martinez planned to fight in his native Argentina in April and Cotto now suffered his second consecutive decision loss.
Not so fast, said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Scahefer who after the fight maintained that a clash with Cotto could still be considered.
Speaking with ESPN, Schaefer said “I don’t think one fight itself gives you a big, big fight. It’s an accumulation of things you do. I really don’t see that [Trout vs. Alvarez] happening…Maybe have Trout get a few more big fights, then ease your way into it.”
Spoken like a true promoter desperate to protect his interests. This comment would have been less offensive had Josesito Lopez not been suddenly ushered into the spotlight against Alvarez last September after his shocking upset victory over Victor Ortiz and attempted to be sold as a legitimate light middleweight opponent.
The future of Cotto becomes even cloudier as a result of recent developments. It was evident in the loss to Trout that Cotto does not have the size nor stamina to effectively compete with the bigger, younger and stronger light middleweights. Some may argue that he faced an awkward southpaw with a style that was all wrong for him and that he still has something left under the right scenario. While the first two of Cotto's four losses could perhaps be attributed to issues such as suspected illegal handwraps in his first fight against Margarito and a relatively low catchweight against Manny Pacquiao, his last two losses against Mayweather and Trout were rather definitive and showed that he is not the complete fighter he once was.
This future Hall of Famer has given us many wars and has nothing left to prove. It is difficult to envision Cotto being much more than a "gatekeeper" for rising talent at this stage of his career, something this proud champion can do without.
Trout's victory over Cotto aside, he is still not the pay-per-view draw that Golden Boy yearns for their Mexican star. This is perhaps the biggest objection they would have to this match-up. Naturally, a fight with Mayweather would be the biggest attraction, albeit the biggest risk. Alvarez maintains that Mayweather is the priority, yet he is unwilling to move from his May date at this point. Does the appeal and reward of fighting on Mexican Independence Day really trump a fight with one of the best boxer's in the world a few months earlier?
The other issue is whether the WBC would support their champion fighting a WBA titleholder. When Trout was first being considered as an opponent for Alvarez this summer, the WBC rejected him on the basis that unification would in some way tarnish their brand because they would no longer maintain exclusivity over the championship. It is a mind-boggling concept and one that has deeply impacted the sport. Yet, champions Andre Ward, Danny Garcia and Mayweather continue to simultaneously hold WBC and WBA belts without such silly consequences.
Another potential stumbling block is the agency that would administer the drug testing for this particular fight. In in interview with BoxingScene.com this past June, Trout indicated that he wanted testing to be done by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) if he were to fight Alvarez given their effectiveness. Golden Boy has since been exclusively engaging the services of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for their fights, so Trout would likely have to take a leap of faith on this point if he wanted to get a realistic shot at Alvarez.
Trout may need to swim through some rough waters to get to Alvarez but it's worth diving into.
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