Ever since Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer first made the announcement that WBC jr. middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez would be making his return to the ring on September 15th, fans and media alike have been speculating about who his opponent may be. At one point or another, James Kirkland, Paul Williams and Victor Ortiz were all given the assignment, but for various reasons, each of them were forced to withdraw from the opportunity. Some, like Cornelius "K9" Bundrage and Marcos Maidana, were rumored to be in the running, while others, like Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Carlos Quintana, and Carlos Molina, were begging for the opportunity. According to sources, however, a dark horse candidate has entered the mix, and there's a very real possibility that former jr. middleweight champion Ricardo "El Matador" Mayorga may win the Canelo sweepstakes.
"Golden Boy was doing a lot of talking with Don over the weekend. From what I hear, Mayorga was the topic of their discussion," a source recently informed us. Indeed, Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya and Hall of Fame promoter Don King were both in attendance this past weekend at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, when IBF jr. middleweight champion Cornelius Bundrage made a successful title defense against former champion Cory Spinks. While there's no denying that both men were seen exchanging words at the event, it's unclear if any of their conversations involved Alvarez, however, our source insists that Mayorga's name was definitely brought up. "I'm telling you, they were definitely talking about Mayorga, and I don't who else they would be thinking about putting him in with. I also heard that CBS might still be in play, so you can draw your own conclusions," our source explained.
De La Hoya himself has maintained that September 15th will be a historic event that fans won't want to miss, which is a bold statement given that most of the previous names mentioned in the running to face Canelo are relatively unknown to casual fans. A name like Mayorga, however, brings instant recognition and some semblance of credibility to the non-diehard fans, as El Matador himself has faced several former world champions, like Miguel Cotto, Fernando Vargas, Cory Spinks, and Vernon Forrest, as well as a number of future Hall of Famers, including Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, and Oscar De La Hoya. Truth be told, he might be the perfect replacement that Golden Boy is looking for; a low-risk opponent that will help promote the event with his machismo and his brash, colorful persona. In fact, he's the type of opponent that would make the move to CBS even better, giving Canelo Alvarez enormous exposure to casual fans who have yet had an opportunity to see him perform.
There are whispers that Mayorga has already started training for a fight that has yet to be announced, so stay tuned as this story develops. Regardless of whoever Canelo does end up fighting, this merry-go-round of opponents may have gotten him more exposure than any of his actual fights.