It’s been over a week now since Saul Alvarez vacated his WBC middleweight title. In press releases last week, both Canelo and his Golden Boy promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, made the argument that they were dumping the WBC strap because they refused to let the WBC dictate the terms on which they would make a fight with Gennady Golovkin.
De La Hoya and Alvarez are trying to argue that the belt was dropped for business reasons, in order to let them negotiate a better potential fight for themselves. They are correct when they maintain that Canelo is the bigger draw.
But the story is a lot more complicated than that. While Alvarez is the “A-side” fighter here, this is also a case where there is an overwhelming demand to see him fight GGG. Golovkin is basically everybody’s first choice for who they want to see him fight and there is barely even a credible second place.
Golovkin may not have generated the sort of revenue that Canelo has at the box office. But he’s absolutely generated his own chatter and heat. He’s arguably the hottest fighter in the sport, with over 20 straight knockouts.
Golovkin was Canelo’s mandatory for the WBC belt and he’s also the clear-cut No. 1 contender for the lineal middleweight title that Alvarez won against Miguel Cotto last year. By dumping the WBC belt, rather than defending it against Golovkin, Alvarez gives the appearance of ducking GGG.
The WBC responded to Canelo’s snub by simply handing their version of the title to Golovkin, to go with his WBA and IBF belts. So without even fighting, the Kazak slugger now holds three of the four major belts.
Alvarez has largely deserved his status as the sport’s biggest young star. He’s a charismatic fighter who has put on some very entertaining bouts.
But avoiding Golovkin can only be negative for his image. Alvarez is ultimately the best available fight for Golovkin from a money standpoint, but he can make a number of fights at 160 pounds that would continue to build his aura of invincibility, such as against Daniel Jacobs (not a sure win for Golovkin, by the way) or against WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders of England.
Alvarez could make other fights that would be interesting to hardcore fans, like myself. But no matter who he fights and beats at this point, he’ll hear a chorus of fans complaining that he ducked GGG.