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Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Alvarez aims for big dates

By Dan Rafael


Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the former unified junior middleweight titleholder, is Mexico’s biggest active boxing star. He draws significant attention, makes entertaining fights, and sells tickets and pay-per-views.

The two most important fight weekends for a Mexican boxing star are Cinco de Mayo in early May and Mexican Independence Day in mid-September.

Alvarez is anxious to claim them as his own pay-per-view dates. But recently he has been blocked by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has been fighting on those prime dates.

It happened in 2013 when Mayweather fought Robert Guerrero in May, and it has happened again this year. Mayweather faced Argentina’s Marcos Maidana on May 3 and is scheduled to fight again on Sept. 13, probably a rematch with Maidana.

Other than when Mayweather faced Alvarez in September 2013 -- in the highest-grossing fight in boxing history and second-best-selling pay-per-view ever -- Alvarez has had to play second fiddle and fight elsewhere on the calendar for the past two years.

Alvarez wound up facing Austin Trout in a junior middleweight unification fight in April 2013 rather than in May because of Mayweather. And Alvarez didn’t fight in May this year and won't be fighting in September.

Instead, Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) fought Alfredo Angulo in March and will return to face 154-pound titlist Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) in a nontitle bout on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Alvarez’s fall fight probably won’t come until November or December.

Alvarez said he is tired of ceding the important Mexican dates to Mayweather, who is not even fighting Mexican opponents.

“I want to retake those dates and bring them back,” Alvarez said. “Those dates are Mexican dates. They're Mexican independence dates, and yes, for next year I will be fighting, I want to be fighting on those dates.”

Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, said he plans to secure those dates for his company’s most important fighter.

“Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has given me strict orders,” De La Hoya said. “Obviously, he wants to follow in the footsteps of the great champions hailing from Mexico like Julio Cesar Chavez, fighters that have started the tradition of fighting [on] Cinco de Mayo, started the tradition of fighting in September. Canelo now being a star of his own and a big draw and a person who the fans adore, me -- as his promoter -- it is my obligation to do what's best for the fighter.

“So we're obviously focusing 100 percent on Erislandy Lara, and then we will be sitting down with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and plan out his future.”