3 Fighters For Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Other Than James Kirkland
By Sam Geraci, Doghouse Boxing (June 1, 2012) Photo © German Villasenor, Doghouse Boxing

Saul Alvarez

Since the tragic motorcycle accident that appears to have paralyzed Paul “The Punisher” Williams, one of this generation’s most exciting fighters, the handlers of rising superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have been searching for the ideal September 15th replacement in order to produce a mega fight that not only brings in the dollars but also establishes Alvarez as a true 154lb champion.

While it seems as though Golden Boy Promotions has already chosen to go with one of their worthy fighters in James Kirkland (31-1, 27KOs), who may or may not be suffering from a serious shoulder injury come fight time, the three fighters below represent matchups that are also worthy of consideration and might produce more money and more excitement if marketed correctly.  

In evaluating fighters for Alvarez for the September 15th card, one must weigh his lack of experience against top-level 154lb fighters against the potential financial and legacy-building rewards of a win or loss against the fighters on this list. That is why, for example, Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) is number one while Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6KOs) and Erislandy Lara (16-1-1, 11KOs) do not even appear on this list. Simply put, Cotto will bring the most to the table in all respects while Lara and Molina present huge risks that do not offer any of the financial or career-building rewards.  

And, finally, the list: Three Fighters for Alvarez other than Kirkland

1. Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30KOs)

On the weekend that celebrates Mexico’s Independence, I can think of no greater matchup than that of Mexico’s biggest star against Puerto Rico’s living legend. While Cotto’s skillset and experience are far beyond that of the young Alvarez and Cotto would definitely be favored, if Alvarez is the prospect that many of us, including myself, think he is, he should put up a good showing and might even sneak by with a close and controversial decision. While Cotto looked impressive in his loss to Floyd “Money” Mayweather (43-0, 26KOs), Alvarez deserves serious consideration for pulling off a close fight or a decision victory for the simple fact that Cotto is not really a true 154lb fighter. Despite the marketing that was done in the lead-up to his mega fight with Mayweather, Cotto has beaten only one true 154lb fighter in the grossly light-handed Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8KOS). Considering the money and the stardom that could be gained from a win, loss, or draw and considering that everyone agrees that Alvarez is a beatable fighter, I think it would be wise to cash-in go for Cotto if he’ll take it. In fact, I think you could make it an all Mexican vs. Puerto Rican card by pitting Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17KOs) against Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23KOs) and Chris Arreola (35-2, 30KOs), who is a Dan Goosen fighter like Paul Williams so there shouldn’t be any conflicts, against Fres Oquendo (34-7, 22KOs) in what would certainly rival the Pay-Per-View buys of any Mayweather or Pacquiao card.

2. Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23KOs)

While a matchup with the slick southpaw from Puerto Rico could be risky and doesn’t present all of the rewards of a Cotto fight, a victory over Quintana, which seems likely considering Quintana’s difficulties in taking clean shots and handling good pressure fighters, should establish Alvarez as a legitimate champion at 154lb while earning him another title and invaluable experience against a crafty southpaw. In addition, the Mexican vs. Puerto Rican theme could also help sell this matchup.

3. Vanes Martirosyan (32-0, 20KOs)

Of the fights available to Alvarez, I think the Martirosyan matchup is the least appealing because he lacks the big name and hasn’t really defeated anyone of quality nor has he shown a willingness to take on anyone of quality with the exception of Alvarez to show that he deserves this opportunity on what could be one of boxing’s biggest nights of 2012. Having said that, he has been calling out Alvarez and he has “earned” his ranking with the WBC as their number one contender. If rankings meant anything to the WBC, Martirosyan would be the one to get this shot.

*If the winner of Cornelius Bundradge (31-4, 18KOs) vs. Cory Spinks (39-6, 11KOs) on June 30th were able and willing to fight, I would love to see him instead of Martirosyan at number three.

E-mail Sam with Questions or comments at: samjgeraci@gmail.com.

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