When WBC light middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez could not land the big fish he wanted, he moved his fishing expedition to settle on trout for the time being. Floyd Mayweather Jr. refused to commit to a September fight with the young Mexican star as a condition of Alvarez appearing on the undercard of the pound-for-pound king's pay-per-view event with Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand. As a result, Alvarez withdrew from the Las Vegas card and will instead headline his own show on Showtime® in a unification bout with WBA beltholder Austin Trout on April 20 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Will this move put him in deep water or does it position him to reel it all in?
Putting the squeeze on the most powerful fighter and manager in boxing by an unproven 22-year old like Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KO's), who has not encountered any rough seas throughout his career due to Golden Boy’s soft match-making philosophy, has been viewed as nothing short of absurd by the majority of fans. Not to mention the subtle political repercussions that could ensue as a result of his attempted strong-arm tactics.
The visibility Alvarez would have gained by being on the undercard featuring one of the best fighters of all-time is now lost. Being tied to a Mayweather card in any capacity is prime season for a rising boxing star.
Given all of the waves Alvarez made leading up to this fight, the pressure is on him to beat the talented Trout (26-0, 14 KO's) and look good doing it. To this point, the young champion has only clubbed welterweights, light welterweights and washed-up veterans. The 27-year old Trout will be the first true light middleweight Alvarez has faced during his two-year title reign.
On the flip side of the boat, credit should be given to Alvarez for sticking to his guns while agreeing to still fight Trout. Previous reports speculated that the Mexican would opt to fight safer options such as James Kirkland or Alfredo Angulo if he were to withdraw from the May 4 card. This decision confirms that Alvarez's sole motivation was to guarantee himself a future fight with Mayweather rather than avoid the undefeated Trout as some observers suspected.
With the opportunity to headline his own card on a non-PPV broadcast, Alvarez will presumably be seen by more boxing fans who may have been reluctant to spend $59.99 for the pay-per-view card. Furthermore, the change in venue to the 40,000-seat capacity Alamodome is expected to attract a large contingent of Mexican fans.
Unless Golden Boy can find different bait to replace Alvarez, it is likely the overall event will take a hit without the red-headed bruiser lending his star power and popularity to the May 4 card. While Mayweather has dominated the world of pay-per-view, averaging over 1 million buys per event, it is difficult to envision this card pulling in as much as it would have if Alvarez was appearing in what will be the toughest fight of his career to date.
Furthermore, the Mayweather-Guerrero deal has a rematch clause in the event Mayweather loses. This could further delay (or potentially eliminate) a future fight with Alvarez and would make such a bout less appetizing, with the "Canelo Curse" biting yet again.
On the whole, this appears to be the best move for Alvarez. If he can impress against Trout, there will be more fish in the sea for this young shark.
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