December was elimination month, as Austin Trout became the second straight loss for pay-per-view and gate draw Miguel Cotto, while Juan Manuel Marquez killed the most lucrative fight in boxing history with an awesome, one-punch knockout shot of Manny Pacquiao. Though the boxing world is excited for the victories, in particular Marquez, who captured redemption as well as victory to most, we must now look to the next super fights that the world will care about. It took only from the time the pools of Corona left the cups of excited fans Saturday and hit the floor of the MGM Arena for people to start suggesting Saul Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather.
Clearly the fight makes sense, as Floyd has made his name off fighting Mexican fighters with fan bases. Canelo is clearly that. He was brought up the right way, undercard fights that showed his skill, gradually moving to HBO headliner, and then taking out a few names on their way out of the business in impressive fashion, all in front of Southern California, Vegas, and Mexican crowds. He has a unique look, and has a pleasing boxing style to both casual audiences and the most critical boxing perfectionist, landing awesome video game like combos at times and receiving shots enough to make things interesting. Floyd, of course, brings Floyd, who is the constant showman on the 24/7 show, has uncanny boxing acumen and defensive skills, and will be coming to the ring armed with a zero in the loss column. He's the unchallenged pound-for-pound king thanks to Marquez. It is an easy fight to suggest, and the Twitter world approved of it as the next big fight to make for the sport.
Despite all the obvious advantages of making that fight, if I were Golden Boy, I would hold off, and here is why. First of all, if my opponent needs me more than I need them, I have all the advantages. Austin Trout brings nothing to the table for Alvarez, but he has a belt and he wants to fight Canelo because he has a name. Floyd Mayweather brings an audience, but what does that audience look like. He has often made big fights by bringing in guys who were big draws themselves. Hatton, Oscar, even Ortiz was very popular when they met. Now to his credit, he also fought Mosely and was clearly the main draw of those two, but overall, his recent record suggest that he needs a dance partner who will bring something to the table. I will add to my previous point with similar wording. What 'will' Floyd's audience look like. The barbershops across the nation have begun the "See, Floyd would have beaten Manny" talks. Yet soon they will give way to disinterest in the combatant, as most watched his pay-per-views to see him successfully fulfill his end of the Super Fight by staying undefeated. The super fight is dead now, so to watch in hopes he sustains the fight on his end is useless. He will now be left with casual boxing fans, who may or may not buy his pay-per-views.Though he's been more exciting of late, his style has never been the reason why people watch him. There is only one way to ensure fans will tune in and that is by fighting someone people think can beat him, and that someone, needs to be a draw.
With the above mentioned, to me, it makes the most sense for Canelo to wait both financially and professionally. We heard some of the rumored suggested splits for the Floyd/Pacman fight. What makes Canelo think he is going to get a better offer? Golden Boy would be wiser to watch Floyd fight both his proposed 2013 bouts, as they are probably offering the opponent from their stable anyway, then see what the support looks like for the undefeated Mayweather now. If they see a drop in interest, pay-per-view and gate, their cut goes up, and they can defend their stance by telling Floyd to go fight someone else, as they have the guaranteed draw of the two.
Professionally, it makes sense for Canelo to wait as well. Lets not forget, even though he has built a fan base, his last five wins are over 140-pounder Josesito Lopez, an old Shane Mosely, Kermit Cintron, and Englishmen Ryan Rhodes and Matthew Hatton. No one is calling that group elite at 154. He could use two or three fights to test his skill against more elite guys in the division. Cornelius Bundrage is a solid name. He may not offer an audience, but as the most successful member of The Contender show, he would offer something promotional on paper and he is a nice step up from Lopez, who unlike K9, was not a true 154-pounder. Next I would go Gabriel Rosado, who looked damn good against Charles Whittaker and is another ranked guy at the division. I would finish the year with Austin Trout, who is a boxer first and would prepare Saul for a Floyd fight in 2014 (yes, I know he's no Floyd, but still). By the time those events work themselves out, I think it would be of greater benefit for Alvarez. Remember, he is only 22 years old. He has plenty of time for super fights, and as skilled as Floyd is, he does not. Father time is undefeated in boxing.
PS: I hate that I was right about the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight never happening until one or both guys were no longer relevant. I'm curious to know what Floyd thought as he watched hundreds of millions go away in one punch. Also, I'm curious to know what Sergio Martinez's fan base will look like on his return. For whatever reason, I still see him as a B-side who will never draw without the right opponent. I'd love it if Floyd fought him, but that's not realistic.