Canelo Alvarez is the mandatory challenger for Saunders

December 22, 2016

By CJ Russell

It’s going to be really interesting to see what Canelo Alvarez does in 2017.

Alvarez’s tentative plan has been to fight either two or three times next year, depending on the status of his hand injury that he sustained when fighting Liam Smith earlier this year.  It’s looking like he is going to wait until May to fight, according to Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez.

“We haven’t decided yet what we want to do,” Gomez told ESPN. “We’ll make a decision after the holidays. It’s looking more and more like we’re going to wait for Canelo’s next fight until May. We don’t want to take any chances with his hand. You have to be careful. We want to make sure it’s 100 percent. The doctor hasn’t given him clearance yet. He’ll go see the doctor after Christmas.”

So if Alvarez doesn’t fight at the beginning of the year, his next fight would be in May on Cinco de Mayo weekend.  One fight that has been heavily rumored for that date is against him and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.  Chavez however has said that he wants 25-35% of the revenue, which I think is totally insane.  Chavez hasn’t done anything recently to warrant getting that kind of split with Alvarez.  This fight could be so lucrative given the two fighter’s popularity in Mexico that Golden Boy might agree to something like that anyway, so we’ll see what happens.

The other fighter that has probably been mentioned the most for Canelo’s May fight (before his possible September showdown with Gennady Golovkin) is Billy Joe Saunders, who holds  the WBO middleweight belt.  That fight is a no-brainer for Canelo, since he would be able to bring a belt to the table against GGG and it would presumably be a really easy fight.

Now, the WBO has named Canelo the mandatory challenger for Saunders’ belt.  This comes as a slight surprise, as Canelo isn’t the #1 contender (Avtandil Khurtsidze is) and holds their junior middleweight belt, but the WBO explained their reasoning, saying. that Canelo is a “crowd favorite, with more than 52,000 fans present in his recent bout against Liam Smith in Dallas. He is the top pay-per-view fighter on HBO, [and] his presence has given that category a renewed interest in boxing. At this moment, [he] will give boxing the maximum required exposure.”

What do you want to see Canelo do in May?  Would you rather see the Mexican showdown between he and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or take on middleweight beltholder Billy Joe Saunders?