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Monday, June 25, 2012
Canelo closing in on Sept. 15 foe

By Dan Rafael

With the Saul "Canelo" Alvarez-Victor Ortiz fight down the drain in the aftermath of Ortiz's ninth-round TKO loss to Josesito Lopez on Saturday, the pressing question in boxing is whom will Alvarez fight Sept. 15?

Golden Boy is seeking its fourth opponent for Alvarez after Ortiz's upset defeat, which came after previous opponents James Kirkland and Paul Williams dropped out.

In the aftermath of the Alvarez-Ortiz fight cratering, Golden Boy and Showtime both said Alvarez would still fight Sept. 15 -- on Mexican Independence Day weekend -- at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. They also said it wouldn't necessarily be on Showtime PPV, leaving the door open for the fight to air on regular Showtime and floating the idea of it being on CBS, Showtime's sister network.

With rivals Top Rank and HBO PPV going with Sergio Martinez against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a much-anticipated middleweight championship fight on the same night from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, it's clear that positioning an Alvarez fight opposite Martinez-Chavez on pay-per-view is suicidal. Besides, I've heard from multiple sources that pay-per-view industry executives have already given Top Rank the all-important primary pay-per-view channel, which would have relegated Alvarez's fight to the secondary PPV channel, which isn't available on all systems and would mean far less marketing and promotion from cable systems.

The only way I can see that changing is if an A-level opponent could be lined up to face Alvarez. There are only two names that fall into that category: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto.

Mayweather is locked up in county jail in Las Vegas for at least another month. The prospect of Mayweather exiting jail and fighting about a month later is zero. I don't consider Mayweather-Alvarez a possibility for this year. Next year? Certainly.

As for Cotto, he is coming off a spirited loss against Mayweather in a terrific fight on May 5. He made a boatload of money and isn't looking to rush back to the ring, especially as the B-side of a promotion as the Puerto Rican fighter matched against a Mexican on the Sept. 15 holiday.

I decided to check with Gaby Peņagaricano, Cotto's attorney and adviser, to see if Cotto might be lured into a September fight. From the sound of things, Alvarez-Cotto isn't in the cards for the September date.

"I have not even discussed the matter with Miguel, as this unexpected event [Ortiz losing] just occurred over the weekend," Peņagaricano said. "We will meet today, but our plan is to fight at the end of the year."

With Cotto almost certainly off the drawing board for Alvarez, I've been told by multiple sources that Alvarez will fight on live Showtime (not pay-per-view). I never thought CBS would seriously pull the trigger and do the fight anyway.

Alvarez's fight on Showtime probably will come against fellow titleholder Austin Trout, who fought on Showtime on June 2 and easily retained his belt against Delvin Rodriguez in a deathly boring fight. Still, at least there is a mild storyline to an Alvarez-Trout fight. Trout easily outpointed Rigoberto Alvarez -- Canelo's brother -- to win a vacant belt in February 2011 in Mexico. I'm told the two camps are far down the road from finalizing the match, though.