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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Saul Alvarez eyes June title defense

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Just days after 20-year-old Saul "Canelo" Alvarez became the youngest fighter to win a junior middleweight title, he is already looking ahead to his first defense.

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he is holding June 18 open for a pay-per-view card to be headlined by the Mexican sensation, who hopes to fight in his home country.

Alvarez won the title Saturday night when he worked over Matthew Hatton for 12 lopsided rounds at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Schaefer, who met Monday with Alvarez and his team in Los Angeles, said the fight could take place in Guadalajara, where Alvarez lives.

"Canelo wants to be back in June and we have to see what we're going to do, but we are holding that date," Schaefer said. "He's only 20 and he's ready to go again. He's looking forward to staying active."

No opponent has been selected. Schaefer said he has a list of potential opponents he has discussed with Alvarez and his team, but he did not want to make it public. He said he plans to go to New York to discuss the pay-per-view and possible opponents with HBO.

Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KOs), the 2010 ESPN.com prospect of the year, is a major star in Mexico and seems to be on his way to being one in the United States. The fight against Hatton drew an overwhelmingly pro-Alvarez crowd of 11,674, the second-largest fight crowd in Honda Center's history.

Also, the fight drew 1.4 million viewers to HBO, according to the network. HBO said that was the biggest audience for a "Boxing After Dark" main event in two years, since James Kirkland stopped Joel "Love Child" Julio in the sixth round of a junior middleweight fight in March 2009.

Golden Boy also announced -- although it did not provide numbers -- that in Mexico, the fight was Televisa's highest-rated boxing broadcast in three years.

"Last Saturday night was one I'll never forget and I thank all my fans for their support," Alvarez said. "I promise that I will always give them the fights they want to see and that I will proudly represent them and Mexico every time I step in the ring."

If Alvarez is successful June 18, his next bout is targeted for Sept. 17, the weekend of Mexican Independence Day, which is a traditional date for a major Mexican boxing event.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.