Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez have been the recipients of immense criticism since the latter vacated the WBC middleweight title to avoid facing mandatory challenger Gennady Golovkin. Fans who were tortured with a six-year delay for Mayweather-Pacquiao have felt deja-vu with Canelo showing no urgency to make what is unquestionably the biggest fight in boxing.
Today via his HBO blog series, De La Hoya disclosed Canelo’s one-year plan to “build” towards a Golovkin superfight in fall 2017. Phase one begins with Canelo taking WBO light middleweight titlist Liam Smith September 7 live on HBO pay-per-view.
What does Liam Smith provide in term of helping Canelo to get ready for a potential fight with GGG? As a promoter, what do you tell boxing fans that wanted to see Canelo-GGG instead of Canelo-Smith?
Well, first of all, Canelo takes every fight seriously and never looks past anyone. Liam Smith is an undefeated fighter, the WBO Junior Middleweight Champion of the world, has knocked out his last eight opponents and comes from an outstanding boxing family.
As of today, Canelo is a 154-lb fighter. He only fought for a Middleweight championship because fans wanted a fight with Miguel Cotto, and Canelo delivered by winning that fight convincingly.
I have been clear that Canelo will fight Golovkin at 160 pounds and we have a verbal agreement to do it in the fall of 2017. But in the meantime, Canelo is going to build up to being a true middleweight.
The plan is to face Smith – a big, bruising 154-pounder – in September, and if Canelo emerges victorious, to start making his way up to 160 pounds and fight Golovkin on equal turf (in terms of weight).
We envision Canelo doing a third fight in 2016 either at or close to the middleweight limit and then a fight on Cinco De Mayo at 160 before facing Golovkin in the fall.
I know Canelo/Golovkin is the biggest fight to make; the fighters know it’s the biggest fight to make; and the fans know it’s the biggest fight to make. Everyone agreed that a fight for the middleweight championship should take place at the middleweight limit and once Canelo builds up to that weight, the fight will be on.
In the meantime, we are hopeful and confident that Canelo will continue to perform at a level that has led to back-to-back knockouts of the year over James Kirkland and Amir Khan and when his body is ready, GGG should look out.
The HBO Sports special ROAD TO CANELO/SMITH debuts Saturday, September 10 at 12:45 a.m. (ET/PT) immediately following HBO World Championship Boxing.