If Saunders is Out, Who Should Canelo Face Next?
By: Hans Themistode
Billy Joe Saunders scored the golden ticket. Then, in true Billy Joe Saunders like fashion, he lost it. Or at least that’s what it seems like.
Getting a contest against pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez isn’t easy. When you campaign at three different weight classes, the options are endless. Yet, Saunders did enough both in the ring, and with his words, to land the biggest fight of his career.
On May 2nd, in Las Vegas Nevada, Saunders was set to take on Alvarez with his WBO Super Middleweight title on the line. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic pressing pause on all sporting events around the world, Saunders had nothing to worry about. Alvarez already agreed to fight him. So when boxing officially opened its doors, Saunders was the first man in line to take on boxing’s biggest star.
The WBO Super Middleweight champion didn’t need to do anything. Just find a way to stay in shape and prepare for the fight of his life.
Hell, if Saunders simply locked himself inside of his room and chose not to re-emerge until the date of the fight, he would be a happy man. But, with boredom getting the best of him, Saunders thought it would be funny to release a video of himself punching a heavy bag.
Seems innocent right?
That would be true until you realize Saunders made said heavy bag play the role of wives all over the world. With everyone quarantining at home to prevent the spread of the virus, Saunders thought it would be funny to record a video of what all husbands should do to their wives should they get on their nerves too much.
Not only did several people find it not funny, but now, Saunders had his boxing license taken away.
It’s too early to tell, but his chances of facing Alvarez now looks a bit bleak.
So what should Alvarez do? If Saunders is officially out, then who should replace him? Keep reading to find out some viable options.
Before the Coronavirus sent boxing to the sidelines, not only was Alvarez set to take on Saunders, but he was also ready to fight fellow Middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin for a third time. But with boxing on an indefinite hiatus, and with Saunders seemingly out as an opponent, then why not just jump straight into a contest against Golovkin?
If we’re lucky, boxing will return during the second half of the year, sometime in the fall. Although Alvarez usually gets two fights in per year, he could be forced to settle for one. If that’s the case, then allow these two to put an end to their rivalry once and for all.
23 year old Jaime Munguia has some pretty big aspirations. Not only does he want to win a world title in his second weight class, but he also wants to be known as one of the greatest Mexican fighters ever. He can accomplish the first part of his goals with some careful matchmaking. But in order to achieve the second part, he’ll need to take on some big names. In the case of Canelo Alvarez, it doesn’t get any bigger.
If Alvarez is steadfast on fighting twice this year and doesn’t simply want a soft touch, then a fight against Munguia makes sense.
Billy Joe Saunders on Canelo Alvarez: “We’ve Seen The Best of Him”
By: Hans Themistode
Canelo Alvarez has been called many names. A champion, a warrior, maybe even a prima-donna. But an underachiever? Never.
When Alvarez first came onto the boxing scene in 2005, he was viewed as a good fighter.
Wins over Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes pushed him from good to very good. While victories over Carlos Baldomir and Josesito Lopez nudged him to the great category.
In early 2013, Alvarez seemingly hit his peak. He was fresh off a win against Shane Mosley and managed to unify the Super Welterweight division with a close win over Austin Trout.
For as great as Alvarez was, it seemed to be time to place him amongst the all-time greats. But a contest against Floyd Mayweather put an end to that thought as Alvarez lost virtually every round.
A loss as embarrassing as that one, often carries terrible after effects on the rest of a fighters career.
Simply put, once you’ve been dominated in that fashion, it just isn’t easy to bounce back from it.
Yet, in the case of Alvarez, that is exactly what he did. He picked up quick wins against Alfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara in 2014. He then followed that up with even better wins against James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto.
But a funny thing happened during the course of those big wins. He got better and better.
The butt kicking that Alvarez suffered at the hands of Mayweather apparently molded him into a much better fighter. Some would even venture to say that he stole a few things from Mayweather and placed them into his own game.
With wins over Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev, it’s safe to say that it doesn’t seem as though Alvarez is a finished product just yet. But according to his next opponent WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, that’s an idiotic statement.
“For me it’s all about winning. I really do rate him. I think that he’s a brilliant fighter, he’s complete, but the thing is – I believe that we’ve seen the best of him. We haven’t seen the best of me yet. I have seen the absolute best of him. The Golovkin fight twice, the Danny Jacobs fight, he’s not going to get any better than that.”
To say that Saunders isn’t exactly the biggest fan of Alvarez would be putting it mildly. For years, he’s called his man every bad word in the dictionary, but it’s worked. He’s trash talked his way to the biggest fight of his career and is now in a position where he has to back his words up.
Still, even with all of the bad blood between them Saunders is no fool. The trash talking that he used to score a fight with Alvarez paid off. But he knows exactly what he’s dealing with.
“I rate him as the best pound-for-pound at the moment. For me to defeat him, it’s just not about money. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all in it for the money. But for me, if they were to say, ‘you’re definitely going to win, but you’re going to go home and you’re not having a penny, I’d say ‘yes, let’s do that,'” Saunders said on Instagram Live.
“I believe on my night, as long as everything is bang on right for me, I believe I’ve got the beating of Canelo Alvarez, but he’s a brilliant champion. You have to beat the best to be the best.”
Saunders, unlike Canelo, has been viewed as a bit of an underachiever. One minute he looks unbeatable just as he did in his wins against Andy Lee, Willie Monroe Jr and David Lemieux. Other times, like in his dreadful performance against Marcelo Coceres, you wonder how he got his hands on a world title to begin with.
Both Alvarez had been slated to face off against one another on May 2nd, however, with the Coronavirus currently putting a halt on seemingly everything, their contest has been pushed back to an unspecified date.
Regardless of when they actually do step into the ring against one another, Saunders will need to resemble the best version of himself if he expects to leave with a victory on the night.
GGG Opens Up as Betting Underdog in Third Contest Against Canelo Alvarez
By: Hans Themistode
For the past 14 years, current IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin has been viewed as the better fighter each time he has stepped foot inside of the ring. Yet, when the knockout artist climbs through those ropes on September 12th, against Canelo Alvarez, he won’t be.
With both Alvarez and Golovkin having agreed to a third contest, things appear to be different this time around.
Unlike Golovkin’s previous 42 fights of his career, he isn’t expected to walk away from a third contest against Alvarez with the victory. At least, according to the bookies.
At the moment, Golovkin is viewed as a +200 underdog. Meaning, a $100 bet would bring the winner an additional $200. Alvarez on the other hand, comes in at -260. Gamblers looking to make at least $100 on him would have to risk at least $260. These recent numbers are a far cry from their first contests.
In September of 2017, oddsmakers gave Golovkin a slight edge at -150 over Alvarez. To many who saw their first bout, the odds were justified as Golovkin seemed to win a clear decision. Yet, as is often the case in boxing, the judges saw things completely differently. Sparing Alvarez a loss and instead handing him a split decision draw.
When the two ran things back one more time one year later, Golovkin was once again considered the favorite. Checking in at -180. Fans of Canelo on the night found themselves jumping for joy when their +140 underdog squeaked by with a majority decision victory.
Now, with even more mileage on the soon to be 38 year old legs of Golovkin, Alvarez is expected to do more than just squeak by.
With the most recent performances of the current IBF champ, it isn’t exactly hard to see why.
In June of 2018, Golovkin looked as dominant as ever against the unheralded Steve Rolls. Beating down and stopping him in the fourth round. Golovkin’s next ring appearance however, wasn’t nearly as easy as many predicted it would be.
Golovkin struggled mightily against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in an October contest in Madison Square Garden, in New York City. The results spewed by the judges on the night may have resulted in a unanimous decision victory for the knockout star, but many believed he shouldn’t have walked away with the win.
Now, for the first time in his career, Golovkin will be viewed as the second best fighter in the ring on September 12th.
Before either man makes their way to a third contest, they need to take care of business first.
For Alvarez, a Super Middleweight contest against Billy Joe Saunders is first on his agenda. Golovkin on the other hand, has a date with his mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta up next. Provided they both win their respective bouts, which isn’t exactly a guarantee, the two will meet later this year.
Whether Golovkin wins by first round stoppage or dominant 12 round decision, doesn’t seem to truly matter. Come September 12th, against Canelo Alvarez, he will be a decided underdog for the first time in his career.
GGG vs Canelo 3 Set for September 12th
By: Hans Themistode
With the Coronavirus grabbing every headline around the sports world, Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin have effectively grabbed some back.
The two pound for pound stars have already shared the ring with each other on two separate occasions, but on September 12th, they have agreed to do so once again.
As part of the agreement, both men must get through their interim bouts. Canelo’s coming against WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. Golovkin on the other hand, must get past his mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta.
Since back to back fights in 2017 and 2018, Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) has gone up to the 168 pound division to take on Rocky Fielding. Winning that contest via brutal third round stoppage. He followed that up with a win over Daniel Jacobs at the 160 pound limit, before ultimately moving up two weight divisions to the 175 pound weight class, to knock off Sergey Kovalev.
There has always been doubts that Canelo would ever drop back down to the Middleweight division. Yet for his third contest against Golovkin, it is in fact scheduled to take place at the 160 pound limit.
The feud between Canelo and Golovkin has been ongoing for years. The dislike for one another also stretches far beyond the ring.
Since handing Golovkin the first loss of his career in 2018, after fighting to a highly controversial split decision draw the first time around, Canelo reportedly wanted no parts of Golovkin. The four division champ is by no means scared of his rival, he just simply can’t stand him. So much so that although Canelo signed a record setting 365 million dollar, 11 fight deal, he has asked DAZN for more money to fight Golovkin.
Per each fight, Canelo pockets roughly 35 million. It isn’t quite clear if DAZN acquiesced to his demands, but they were at the very least made.
Since signing with DAZN in 2019, Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) has made two appearances on the streaming services. In June of 2019, Golovkin cruised past Steve Rolls via fourth round stoppage. Leaving his man face down and unaware of his surroundings. Golovkin followed that up with a harder than expected win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko later on that year in October.
The plans of their contest is still a tentative one at this point as the entire sports world remains on hold as the Coronavirus continues its stranglehold. Canelo’s May 2nd appearance with Billy Joe Saunders has already been reportedly pushed back to a date in June.
For now, Canelo vs Golovkin seem to be on course for September 12th. Unless of course, they are forced to push their contest back due to the Coronavirus.
Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders Set For May 2nd
By: Hans Themistode
Boxing fans have waited patiently for Canelo Alvarez to choose his next opponent. When you campaign at three different weight classes, making the decision can be a lot more difficult than many realize.
With Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) holding belts at Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight, although he did drop his 175 pound belt, there was no telling which direction he was going to be heading. Each weight class was screaming at the top it’s lungs to be chosen. With fighters such as WBC titlist Jermall Charlo and WBO belt holder Demetrius Andrade in the Middleweight division, each man could make an argument for why they should be chosen. In fact, they did. But both men were overlooked.
A fight with unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev looked great on paper, and truth be told, would have looked even better in the ring. But just like Charlo and Andrade, Beterbiev was left behind as well.
Canelo has decided to bypass those aforementioned divisions and stick right in the middle. The Super Middleweight division is where Canelo will call home. At least for now.
The WBA “Regular” champion is set to square off against WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) on May 2nd.
Much like everyone else, Saunders made his case for a shot with Canelo. Yet, the argument could be made that his was the least compelling. Other than Saunders one sided beating over David Lemieux in 2017, he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire.
In his last contest against Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Saunders may have walked away with the stoppage victory, but many were in agreement that it wasn’t his best performance.
Focus has always been the issue for Saunders. If his head is in the game, then good luck beating him. But there lies the problem, his head hasn’t always been in the game.
Still, with Saunders calling Canelo out for years, he has finally gotten his wish. His fellow countrymen and current WBA “Super” champion Callum Smith was also in the running to land a fight with Canelo. Both men seemed to be playing hardball with the four division champion, in the hopes of landing more money.
Mission accomplished. For Saunders that is.
The WBO titlist now enters the biggest fight of his life. The money and fame that are associated with Canelo’s name will, for the time being, be associated with Saunders as well.
For as disappointing as Saunders has been in his most recent contests, a win over Canelo will sweep all of his past transgressions under the rug. If however, Saunders finds himself on the wrong end of an easy win for Canelo, his dreams of staying under the bright lights will be a short one.
With Canelo vs Saunders official, the countdown to May 2nd, starts now.
Three Takeaways: Where Does Canelo Go From Here?
By: Jonah Dylan
After a packed boxing schedule a weekend ago, it was only fair that this weekend was much more tame in the meaningful fights department. As for the next few weekends, well, whatever.
There was news, though! And lots of it regarding arguably boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez. The whole situation could’ve been avoided if he’d just agreed to fight Gennady Golovkin – the fight everyone wants to see – for a third time. Instead, he refused to do that, and Golden Boy ended up blowing their negotiation for a mandatory fight with Sergey Derevyanchenko. Now Alvarez, who finished his last fight with three alphabet belts, has only one.
So let’s unpack that and also take a look at the limited action from the weekend.
1. The situation is still very much salvageable, and here’s how.
Let’s just get this out of the way first: Canelo should just fight GGG. If he wins, we never have to talk about this again. Now, no matter what happens in his next fight, this is still going to hang over both guys for the foreseeable future, especially because John Skipper and DAZN have invested so much money in them fighting each other.
Ok. Golovkin is going to fight Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF belt, and that’s that. Canelo still needs an opponent. There are two very good options.
The Canelo-Callum Smith hype seems to have stalled, but why? Smith is definitely the man at 168, and Canelo has always wanted to fight the best. He was willing to move all the way up to light heavyweight to fight Sergey Kovalev, so it’s not out of the question that he would move up one division to face Smith. The news that Billy Joe Saunders is likely to sign with Matchroom mean a Saunders-Smith unification could be next, but I’d rather see Canelo go fight Smith in England.
Smith is absolutely massive and would tower over Alvarez, who would probably employ the same game plan he used against Rocky Fielding of attacking the body nonstop. It would be a great clash of styles and would be a very intriguing fight for DAZN.
Then there’s Demetrius Andrade, who’s basically been chilling for the past year, cruising to wide decision victories while he waits for a big-name opponent to fight him. This didn’t seem like a fight Alvarez really wanted until recently, when his other options thinned out. This fight should be for the undisputed middleweight title, but sanctioning bodies had to get in the way of that.
Still, Alvarez against Andrade would be a big fight, and it would give Andrade the big opportunity he’s been waiting so long for. If Alvarez won this fight, there would really be nothing left for him to do at 160, and he could plausibly vacate his belts and go fight Smith or Kovalev. It’s enticing.
Still, give me Canelo-Smith, Andrade-Jermall Charlo and Golovkin-Derevyanchenko. Of course, it’s boxing, so dream scenarios rarely work out, but a guy can dream.
2. How good is Adam Kownacki?
I still don’t think we really have an answer to that question, but he’s taken solid step-ups in competition over the last year. He’s passing the tests, and Kownacki-Arreola didn’t lack in drama, but I’ll admit I have some difficulty finding a path for victory for him against the top heavyweights.
You can compare him to Andy Ruiz because of his body type, but Kownacki doesn’t have Ruiz’s hand speed. Yeah, I know he broke Compubox records for his output against Arreola, but I think Ruiz would overwhelm him anyways. His defense is suspect, which makes me doubt he’d survive 12 rounds with Deontay Wilder, and I don’t see how he’s better than Tyson Fury in any category. Maybe he could use Ruiz’s playbook against Anthony Joshua, but even in that fight I think he’d struggle with Joshua’s power.
But alas, he’s a fun fighter to watch, and he’s a good draw in Brooklyn. A Wilder-Kownacki fight at Barclays Center would do big business, and PBC knows that. If Wilder gets through his next two fights, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him facing Kownacki. I just don’t think Kownacki is ready for that.
3. Top Rank clearly has very different plans for Michael Conlan and Shakur Stevenson
And it’s hard to blame them. Conlan is a massive draw in Belfast, as we saw over the weekend. It doesn’t matter who he fights: if Conlan is on the card, fans will be there. He could never leave Belfast, fight guys you’ve never heard of, and probably draw 10,000 people for the rest of his career.
After the 2016 Olympics, Conlan and Stevenson were Top Rank’s two biggest signings, and the clock started ticking for a fight between them in, say, 10 years. Just a few years later, though, it’s very clear that Stevenson has progressed far quicker than Conlan, at least in the ring. Stevenson has dominated everyone thrown in front of him and will fight for a world title this year. You could make the case he’s ready to fight anybody in the featherweight division.s
We’re still waiting for a big Conlan step-up fight. He hasn’t been super impressive so far, but then again, he doesn’t really need to. He’s a star, no matter what. Top Rank knows they can move him along much slower than Stevenson, and why wouldn’t they? They’re selling tickets and people are happy. It’s just that before the hype train even left the station, Conlan-Stevenson is losing speed.
In terms of next steps, the Conlan-Vladimir Nikitin fight still makes sense to me, even if Nikitin isn’t all that great of a fighter. Top Rank signed Nikitin seemingly just for this fight, and it’s an easy one to sell. Unless Conlan is making a major step-up and really chasing a world title, this is a decent fight to make.
Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan
The Five Fights I Want to See in 2017
The Five Fights I Want to See in 2017
By: Eric Lunger
As New Year’s Day approaches, boxing fans can look back on the year that has been, and cast a longing eye towards the year to come. Here, in descending order are the top five fights I’d like to see in 2017, some already scheduled and some in the boxing fan’s dream world.
5. Garcia vs. Thurman
This bout is scheduled for March 4th in New York for the WBA and WBC welterweight belts, and I can’t wait. Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KO’s) is a tough, talented, professional, Philadelphia fighter who has a number of big welterweight wins on his resume (Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Paul Malignaggi). Keith Thurman (27-0, 13 KO’s) is coming off a sterling unanimous decision win against Shawn Porter in June, a bout that will rank high on many Fight of the Year lists. This is a true unification fight with two popular American fighters, and some genuine antagonism. I was in Philly for Garcia’s battering of Samuel Vargas, and the post fight antics (which I usual discount as so much theatre) between Garcia and Thurman seemed rancorous enough to be real.
Garcia is fast, smart defensively, and adaptable in the ring. He can land from unexpected angles, especially his left hook. Thurman is powerful, athletic, and always coming forward. I think this combination of styles will present a great fight, and the unpredictability of the outcome makes this an edge-of-the-seat contest.
4. Ward vs. Kovalev II
This bout is in the “dream, but likely” column. The first fight was a tactical brilliance by Ward, a fight for aficionados. Reasonable fans and observers can certainly disagree on the judges’ cards. I felt that Kovalev was ahead going into the last three, but was not active enough to win those rounds. Nonetheless, fight fans would love a second dance, which might also allow the promoters to garner a larger national audience and tap into the general sports fan base. Andre Ward is a fantastic fighter, and a compelling human being outside the ring. Couldn’t he be the face of American boxing in the post-Mayweather era?
Strangely, Ward has been making noises on social media about retiring, though is not clear why. Maybe he’s serious about walking away, maybe he’s trying to goad Kovalev. Or perhaps this is just an odd (and misdirected) way of generating publicity for the rematch.
There are some interesting questions that a Ward – Kovalev II could answer. Can Kovalev change his style, box more, or does he remain a pressure fighter, looking for a knock out? Can Ward rely on the judges a second time, or does he need to be more aggressive in the early rounds? How much does Kovalev’s frustration at the decision, and Ward’s seeming ambivalence about the sport, drive the outcome?
3. Rigondeaux vs. Frampton
This bout is in the “dream, unlikely” category. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO’s) is scheduled to fight Moises Flores (25-0, 17 KO’s) on February 25 on the Cotto vs. Kirkland undercard. Rigondeaux is putting his WBA junior featherweight title on the line, and I am excited to see the Cuban born fighter come in from the cold, so to speak. Rigo has been in boxing exile, with no one willing to face him in the ring (with the exception of Jazza Dickens of England), and no networks really willing to feature him. Rigo has had only three fights since 2014, but he remains a formidable figure in the sport because of his brilliant defensive footwork combined with devastating punching power. Of course, there are critics who find Rigo’s style boring, too cautious and defensive, not suited for the professional game. I am not one of them; I find Rigondeaux fascinating to watch – he’s certainly learned his lesson (that fans and networks want a more aggressive style) and I expect the Flores bout to be action-packed from the opening bell.
Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KO’s) is slated to meet Leo Santa Cruz (32-1, 18 KO’s) in January for a rematch following the exciting and tense Frampton majority decision last time the two met in July of 2016. This is one of those 50-50 fights that make the lower divisions exciting to watch. Both guys are highly skilled and highly motivated. They respect one another, but they are both tough, action fighters. It should be a great bout.
So, for Rigondeaux and Frampton to meet in the ring, many dominoes must fall in the proper order. Both fighters need to win, obviously, then Rigo needs to move up to featherweight (certainly a plausible move at this point in his career), and he needs to defeat Flores in a way that makes him marketable enough for Frampton’s team to be interested in the bout. And Rigondeaux has other targets in the super bantamweight division, such as Jessie Magdeleno (the WBO titleholder) and Jonathan Guzman (IBF).
2. Wilder vs. Joshua
This bout I will optimistically put in the “dream, but possible” column.
Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KO’s) is wildly popular in the UK, and his upcoming April bout against Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 54 KO’s) will probably sell out Wembley Arena in London, and should do massive numbers on PPV. British fans are convinced that Joshua will dominate Klitschko, as they can’t imagine their hero struggling against anyone. I would not be surprised if the crafty and experienced Klitschko used his puzzling combination of pawing jab and clinch to confuse and disrupt Joshua. After his embarrassing loss to Tyson Fury in November of 2015, the Ukrainian champion will be more than motivated to bring his best game to London.
However, if Joshua can get the win against Klitschko, he will capture the WBA and the IBF belts, and be the big stack at the heavyweight table. Between the other belt holders, Joseph Parker of New Zealand (WBO) and Deontay Wilder of the USA (WBC), Wilder is the much more compelling next step, should “AJ” be willing to make the leap. But there are other, complicating factors, namely that the WBA and IBF challengers, currently Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev, might make more sense financially for Joshua and Matchroom Promotions, before they contemplate facing the dangerous Bronze Bomber.
1. Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez
This is the big one – the Holy Grail for boxing fans. Oscar de la Hoya has promised on not a few occasions that the fight will happen in September, after Canelo has “had time” to move up to middleweight. I have always been a big Canelo fan, but his two wins this year – a big knockout against an undersized Amir Khan, and a not very entertaining dispatch of an overmatched Liam Smith – did not do much for his reputation among American fans. Right now there are rumors of a Billy Joe Saunders fight for Cinqo de Mayo weekend, but I would be stunned if Saunders actually climbed into the ring against the Cinnamon destroyer.
And of course, GGG must stay undefeated, something Danny Jacobs will have something to say about. Their March 18 date in New York promises to be a great night. Madison Square Garden, practically a home fight for the Brooklyn born Jacobs, GGG with his own fan base in New York, his relentless Mexican style – these are the ingredients of a great show and a great boxing match. And let’s be perfectly clear: Jacobs is going to be a stiff test for the Kazak superstar. No one is Golovkin’s camp is overlooking Jacobs; both Golovkin’s and trainer Abel Sanchez’s comments in the media have exhibited nothing but high praise and meaningful respect for Jacobs. Fighters with the kind of power that Jacobs and Golovkin possess, they know that one punch can change the direction of any fight, and that nothing is for certain in this sport.
Nonetheless, the number one fight I want to see in 2017 is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. What fights are at the top of your list for next year?
Amir Khan- Where to go from here?
Amir Khan – Where to go from here?
By Daniel Arissol
Amir Khan entered the newly built T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas on May 7th attempting to defy the majority of the boxing fraternity by upsetting the odds and defeating Mexico’s star fighter and, in doing so, rip away the WBC middleweight crown and bring it back to his home town of Bolton, England. His plan was effective. He was lightning fast with his single punches, efficient in his combos and his movement was elusive. He was seeming to prove to everyone in world boxing that his tactics were perfect and that he could upset the odds. He could win this fight from the outside relying on his speed and movement to hit Canelo and evade the big shots hailing from Guadalajara’s favourite son. He held his own, until a devastating overhead right in round 6. Many pundits began with the ‘I told you so’ which began with Canelo’s power and ended with Khan’s glass jaw. However, he did fight bravely, intelligently and showed willing to succeed… and was fairly successful. Khan won the first 2 rounds, arguably the 3rd and Canelo only really took the fight to Khan and began to gain the upper hand during the 5th round. With the sixth round came the crushing overhead right that not only ended the brits chances of gaining the green strap but also leaves his career in a possible limbo.
Khan (31-4-0 19ko’s) has already stated his desire to return to the welterweight division where WBC champion, Danny Garcia (32-0-0 18ko’s), awaits after the WBC declared Khan his mandatory challenger regardless of the Canelo outcome. The Bolton man would relish the opportunity to not only fight for another world title but also avenge his 2012 KO loss to Garcia when he relinquished his WBA super lightweight title. Many expect that this would be a closer fight the second time around and many ask whether he is even worthy of another title shot so soon. Other options out there for Khan could be the winner of Thurman v Porter, Timothy Bradley, Errol Spence or the big domestic showdown with IBF champion Kell Brook.
Brook was quick to call Khan after the Canelo loss but Khan has gone on record saying he has no intention to fight the Sheffield star anytime soon. Kell himself is having problems in his quest to face a top welterweight in the division, especially as he wants to be known in the US as a major world champion. He did overcome the brawling Porter without really coming out of his comfort zone and, that being said, the Porter camp didn’t exactly beg for a rematch. Khan V Brook seems like a match up that will happen at some point down the line but, for now, the Garcia fight seems to be already in motion whilst Brook seems likely to face WBO king Jessie Vargas (27-1-0 17ko’s).
So, what have learnt about Amir in his last fight? He is not afraid to step up to challenge. His lightning speed was still apparent at a higher weight. He can still be open to errors which can, at worst, end up with him picking himself up from the canvas. His trainer, Virgil Hunter, has worked wonders with his defence and tactics and it would be hard to see him be trained by anyone else at this critical stage of his career.
But the question still stands… Where does Amir Khan go from here? If Amir is looking to secure a legacy in the sport, then he needs titles. The Garcia fight should be his first port of call, followed by the Kell Brook fight. If Khan beats Garcia he has options. If he loses, there will only be one welterweight ready to offer him a big title clash, Kell “the special one” Brook. Brook may very well be the IBF and WBO champ by this stage so that makes this a huge unification match up. That being said, in the UK many fight fans believe Brook to be the superior fighter who, as yet, doesn’t get the respect he deserves. The potential matchup is mouth-watering and with the UK fans putting pressure on Khan to agree to the fight, he may have little option but to fight the man he has been avoiding for years.
Canelo Surges On, But What’s Next for Amir Khan?
Canelo Surges On, But What’s Next For Amir Khan?
By: Oz Ozkaya
Miraculous From The Mexican
Coming into this hugely awaited Vegas showdown, Mexican man Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez held a very impressive record of 46-1-1 over Amir Khan’s 31-3-0. The odds were heavily staked against Khan for this fight with a lot of bookmakers offering a win price for Khan at 4-1 and an 18-1 outside price of beating Canelo by a knockout. Having said this, the likes of Lennox Lewis, Carl Froch and Bernard Hopkins all offered Khan some support prior to this fight, with all three former world champions stating that if he could stay out of Canelo’s range and box him for 12 rounds then he would almost certainly be the front runner to win on a points decision.
Just before the bell, as the referee gave his final instructions, Khan seemed to appear quite nervous, jumping and shaking as he gazed across at his opponent. Canelo however, refusing to give hardly any eye contact to his counterpart, looked completely stoic as they waited for the go ahead.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Both fighters were straight out of the traps and Khan struck first with a combined couple of quick left and rights, still Canelo didn’t look to have taken any damage.
Continuing his impressive start Khan kept the razor sharp combos coming, but Canelo still looked unfazed by his efforts. At this point you are thinking that Khan’s Jab looks strong, and that he may be more up for this than previously predicted.
The rounds ticked by after an uptight start, Khan returned to his corner each time to his trainer Virgil Hunter who would offer him praise and words of wisdom in an attempt to keep Englishman focused. The abundance of Mexicans in the arena didn’t seem too worried by Khan’s strong start, as they giddily continued to brew a lively atmosphere in the brand new 20,000 Las Vegas arena.
Coming into the 6th Khan was by far ahead 4-1 and 5-0 on some peoples score cards. Into the 6th and out of nowhere, a lightening quick Jab to khan would send a shock to the brain and BANG before you could even digest the previous punch Canelo landed a rapturous right hand that was probably felt all the way across the Atlantic in Khan’s home town of Bolton,U.K. Within a millisecond of the punch Khan crashed to the deck, immediately unconscious upon connection.
The crowd ware on their feet; their Mexican king delivered once again. And as a touch of class Canelo headed over to console his opponent as soon as the bell rung, just to see if Khan was okay. The referee was perched over Khan, trying to wake him up, and just as you thought the worst for that split second, you could see Khan’s eyes fall back into alignment and his lips start to move.
Khan’s performance was simply breathtaking, and for a little while everyone thought that it might have just not been Canelo’s night. But that should never have stopped the believers from believing, as Canelo’s record continued to speak for itself.
Canelo was announced victor by the ring announcer, the arena got louder as his name was bellowed through the arena speakers, and the Mexican audience continued to go wild knowing that they were about to embark on perfect public holiday weekend as Canelo’s victory stirred them into euphoria.
So, What Next For Amir Khan?
Prior to the epic showdown with Canelo, much of Khan’s past potential-fight speculation had been around whether he could arrange a big money fight with Floyd Mayweather, or if he would accept a challenge to do battle with Sheffield-Born long standing rival, and IBF Welterweight world champion, Kell Brook.
Having said this, there has also been a lot of talk into whether Khan may make a dramatic switch to the UFC in a bid to revitalize his sporting popularity in the octagon. However, may its because Khan knows the big money fights in boxing are rapidly drying up.
But for Kell Brook, whose promoter Eddie Hearn claimed that Khan tried to price himself out of a potential fight with Brook, will now be rubbing his hands with excitement, as its look ominous that the Khan fight will go ahead, and to Khan’s dismay probably with a 50/50 split too.
For British boxing fans it will be one of those fights that many will be eagerly awaiting, not just because of the grand occasion, but because a lot of those Khan haters in the U.K know that he is weary of Brook and they also know that Brook will most likely have a good chance of knocking the Lancashire man out.
Brook himself, who has been IBF welterweight champion for just under two years now, hasn’t really fought any reputable opponents since his remarkable victory over Shawn Porter. Opponents aside, this must surely be the next best thing for Khan. A huge return fight in the UK, against the undefeated Kell Brook will have the promoters of both camps, and the fans of both sides in a fit of tantalization.
One stone that cannot go unturned though is the physical and psychological health of Khan. This is now the third heavy KO defeat of his career, and questions will be raised as to weather he can continue to compete at this level. Contrary to scientific doubts, optimistic Promoter Oscar De La Hoya said: “Amir Khan is one of the bravest fighters on the planet. He didn’t lose anything today. He will come back.”
Maybe Khan will bite the bullet and take on Brook, and if profits are his main motive then a clash at Wembley Stadium against Brook will certainly tick that box. It’ll also be a good chance for Khan to give something back to his loyal British fans, having only fought once in England in the last five years.
All that we do know for now is that Kell Brook wants the fight badly. As soon as the fight had finished on the early hours of Sunday morning, Brook was quick to let his thoughts be known via twitter: Im here, all British showdown @amirkingkhan. As of yet Khan is yet to show any kind of response to his tweet.
Can We Rule Out Mayweather?
The answer to that is most likely, a big fat yes. For Mayweather it would be a pointless outing, and it wouldn’t prove anything to his critics. The real shame of the scenario is, that if Mayweather were to get in the ring with Khan, it would definitely be an interesting fight.
With Floyd never really being a brutish puncher like Canelo, but more a technically gifted and defensively equipped fighter, Khan probably would fare better against Mayweather than he did with the fight against Canelo.
However, all of our time would be wasted speculating about a Khan v Mayweather showdown. Mayweather at the moment seems to be embroiled in some kind of rumour mill with Irishman, and UFC fighter Connor McGregor.
If the undefeated Mayweather does decide to come out of retirement, and with recent reports suggesting that he will, it will only be for that one thing; “the money”. The fight with McGregor has the potential generate a lot of money, and the figures being thrown around recently in the media suggest it will be for an awful lot at that.
Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao High-Def Price Soaring to $99 Record
By Ivan G. Goldman
So you thought the pay-per-view price for Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao would be $100? Well, you were just about right, according to the Wall Street Journal, which is usually correct on these financial topics. Its sources say the price will come in somewhere around $99 for high-def.
That exceeds the previous $75 record by about 33 percent.
Usually the sellers quote the price for the grainy, old-fashioned transmission because it sounds less expensive, but face it, most viewers will spring an extra few bucks for the high-def reception. It only makes sense. Otherwise it’s like trying to save money on a pizza by ordering no toppings.
The May 2 card will break all previous records by miles. The PPV money record is $152 million for Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez in 2013. The record number of buys is 2.3 million for Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
Notice any common characteristics? There are plenty, but I’ll name three. First, of course, there’s Floyd. Second? You can bet that once again a majority of the buyers hope he’d lose at last. Yes, there’s plenty of money to be made from playing the villain. Whether Mayweather — who’s on the upper end of a 60-40 purse split – just plays at being a villain or is the real thing is a judgment I’ll leave to you.
It’s the third common characteristic that’s been troublesome so far. Neither of the previous two fights was particularly entertaining. The De La Hoya fight was close, but solid exchanges were rare. Oscar won most of the first rounds, then lost steam, stopped throwing his superb jab, and faded as Floyd picked him apart, throwing a shot here, a shot there, and escaping with a split decision.
Against Canelo, Mayweather had his number from the first minute. Floyd hit and didn’t get hit much at all. One judge who seemed to be watching from Mars scored it 114-114. So Mayweather, who didn’t hurt Canelo much and once again never went in for the kill, came away with a majority decision.
It’s great for the sport when plenty of casual fans get interested in a fight, but when the fight disappoints, it leaves a sour taste behind, particularly when fans paid extra to see it.
The Journal says this will be a $74 million gate at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That’s also where Floyd faced Oscar and later Canelo. If you figure in 3 million buys at $99, plus the sponsorships, the gate, the foreign rights and the closed circuit cash, you can see that a $400 million gross isn’t a far-fetched estimate.
Distributors normally get about half of the PPV money. This time, the Journal reports, they’ll have to settle for less, perhaps 40 percent. There are two networks to take care of – HBO and Showtime. They’ll do a joint telecast.
Undefeated Floyd has remained the betting favorite, slipping from about 3-1 to 2-1 as Pacquiao, a super-quick southpaw, attracts more support.
That’s another record that will be broken – the betting handle. If all the cash wagered offshore and with illegal bookies were legal and channeled through the Internal Revenue Service, we could inject some serious money into federal coffers.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.