- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former unified junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez, the 24-year-old Mexican star, will next fight on Dec. 6, Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Thursday.
Although the opponent and venue are not set, De La Hoya said the fight will not be on pay-per-view, a welcome relief for boxing fans, who have had an expensive year if they have been regularly purchasing all the of the pay-per-view cards.
"I am piecing things together for Canelo, connecting the dots, but he's going to fight Dec. 6. That's the definite date," De La Hoya said.
Which network will carry it is a big question. Will it be Showtime, which has been behind Alvarez's last five fights, or HBO, where he had seven fights in a row and eight of nine bouts before that -- until the network's relationship with Golden Boy soured in 2012?
Alvarez is a television free agent. HBO wants him back and the Golden Boy relationship with HBO is on the mend after it made a deal for the Nov. 8 light heavyweight title unification fight between Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev, who is under contract to the network.
"We've been doing all our business with Showtime since a few years ago when we were kicked out from HBO," De La Hoya said. "Yes, we are doing this fight with Hopkins on HBO and it's a great way to start a relationship again, but I also have to take a look the relationship we have with Showtime. It's a very difficult spot, but I am going to do what is best for Canelo's career."
That could mean a return to HBO, where his most significant possible future opponent, middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, fights. That looms as the biggest potential pay-per-view fight in boxing outside of a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight. A Cotto-Alvarez match could be made for next spring or early summer now that Golden Boy and Top Rank, Cotto's promoter, have put their longtime feud to rest and are willing to again make fights with each other.
As for where Alvarez's next fight will take place, De La Hoya said he is working on it.
"We're pushing for San Antonio. Canelo really loves fighting at the Alamodome. He had a wonderful experience there," De La Hoya said.
In April 2013, Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) squared off in a 154-pound title unification fight against Austin Trout at the Alamodome and drew a raucous, sold-out crowd of some 40,000 and won a unanimous decision.
Alvarez lost his next fight to Mayweather last September in Las Vegas in the highest-grossing fight in boxing history. But Alvarez rebounded by winning two fights this year, knocking out Alfredo Angulo in the 10th round in March and taking a split decision against junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara in a nontitle bout in July.
De La Hoya said Alvarez's next opponent would come from the short list comprised of big puncher James Kirkland, former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey or reigning junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade, a 2008 U.S. Olympian.
Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), 30, of Austin, Texas, is coming off a sixth-round knockout of Glen Tapia in a December brawl and would probably make for an action-packed fight with Alvarez.
Clottey (38-4, 22 KOs), 36, a Ghana native living in New York, is coming off a unanimous decision against former titleholder Anthony Mundine in April in Mundine's native Australia. However, he is not a fan friendly fighter or a draw. The Mundine fight was also only Clottey's third since he lost back-to-back bouts to Cotto (2009) and Pacquiao ('10).
Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs), 26, of Providence, Rhode Island, figures to be the most dangerous of the three due to his combination of youth, speed and skills. He successfully defended his belt for the first time by knocking out mandatory challenger Brian Rose of England in the seventh round on June 14 in Brooklyn.
"Clottey looked good against Mundine and we've been talking with Kirkland's representative day in and day out," De La Hoya said. "If Canelo fights Andrade, it's a chance for him to fight for another title if that's what he wants to do. There are options.
"If you think about Canelo, he's a throwback fighter. He fought Mayweather, Trout, Lara. Name another fighter in recent years that's been fighting the toughest guys back to back. Canelo wants to fight the best. This is why people love Canelo. He is willing to fight all comers."
De La Hoya said the final decision will be up to Alvarez but, "As his promoter, I want Canelo to look great and have a fighter in there who will fight him and not run. But it will come down to who we can make the best deal with."
Originally, Alvarez planned to fight on pay-per-view three times this year. The fights with Angulo and Lara both were on Showtime PPV and were profitable, combing to generate about 600,000 buys. But De La Hoya said Alvarez understands it's important for a young fighter to sometimes take a little less money to fight off of pay-per-view in order to broaden his fan base.
"I commend Canelo. He wanted to fight three times on pay-per-view, but Canelo called me directly and said he didn't want to fight on pay-per-view this time," De La Hoya said. "He did good numbers in his last two fights but he wants all boxing fans to be able to see him."