by: José A Maldonado, MFA
Much has been made about Canelo’s next opponent simply because, well, he doesn’t have one. Paul Williams’ career is over after a motorcycle accident, James Kirkland priced himself out of a fight, and Victor Ortiz’ broken jaw ended all talks (literally) of an Alvarez bout. So that leaves Canelo with no dance partner on the super important Mexican Independence Day weekend. He wants to outdo Chávez-Martínez, which will purportedly take place on the same day as an Alvarez fight. Question is: who will Alvarez choose to do so? (Note: you will notice that I did not add Miguel Cotto to the list; this is simply because, quite frankly, I don’t think he’s interested. . .yet).
Alfredo Angulo (20-2-17 KOs)
Make no doubt about it: Angulo is the dark horse pick here, but don’t forget that before his loss to James Kirkland in Cancún there had been talks of an Angulo-Alvarez showdown. Despite his penchant for making exciting fights (see: Kirkland, James), he is also known for demanding undue amounts of money, as he did when offered a contract for a Sergio Martínez fight plus an additional HBO fight, win or lose, for $750,000. Angulo turned down the offer because he wanted $1 million, way too much for a fighter of his caliber and reputation at that point in his career. His loss to Kirkland, nonetheless, may have brought him back to earth, and with Golden Boy jockeying for a good show to compete with the proposed Julio César Chávez Jr.-Sergio Martínez, the hard hitting Mexican native just may get a nod for an all-Mexico event on Mexican Independence Day weekend.
Erislandy Lara (16-1-1-11 KOs)
I hesitate to place Lara on this list simply because he is too good, and Golden Boy has been reluctant to mention him in the Canelo talks. Golden Boy is well aware of Lara’s skills since a) they promote him and b) they were ringside when he picked apart Paul Williams, the fighter Alvarez had initially been slated to face before a tragic motorcycle accident left The Punisher paralyzed. Lara only has 18 bouts, but at 29 years old and with hundreds of amateur fights, Lara is ready to take on the red headed youngster. Lara’s chances, therefore, all hinge upon his performance this weekend when he takes on Freddy Hernández on Showtime’s card from Indio, California. This puts Lara in a tough spot: for one, should he absolutely obliterate Hernández as many are expecting him to do, Golden Boy may not give him a call; but if he has a bad fight, he’ll lose his chance to face Canelo since many fans may not want to watch him after a poor showing. If he can put on a good fight and show Golden Boy a few chinks in the armor, however, he may just have a chance for a big September pay day.
Austin Trout (25-0-14 KOs)
This discussion may not even be taking place had it not been for Trout’s less-than-stellar performance on June 2nd against Delvin Rodríguez. Though he came away with the victory it was a sleep-inducing bout, both fighters content with circling each other and posing before occasionally engaging. In the fight it didn’t look like Trout was fighting for a chance at a huge payday, so now he finds his name on a list rather than on a contract. The Las Cruces, New Mexico native is a southpaw with an awkward style and good movement, so he could give Alvarez a lot of trouble. This, along with the fact that he doesn’t have much of a name in the general public, may strike him from getting the fight; plus very recently Golden Boy claimed they wouldn’t choose Trout because he demanded VADA testing, but with boxing being boxing, you never know.
Cory Spinks (39-6-11 KOs)
Cory Spinks seems to be on the outside looking in. It appears that Alvarez’ camp has gone through every 154-pounder in their search for an opponent except for the former world champ from St. Louis. The fact of the matter is, Spinks is seen as a bit of a jinx in boxing circles for several reasons: he doesn’t generate much publicity with his slick but what many call boring style; he’s on a 3-3 stretch; he’s lost his last couple of biggest fights; and the 34-year old been known to balloon up to 200 pounds between fights. This weekend, though, he somehow secured a rematch against Bundrage despite being dominated and knocked out in the 5th round in his hometown in their initial encounter. If Spinks can put on a stirring performance in a last hurrah effort for his career, he just might fight himself into the Canelo sweepstakes.
Cornelius Bundrage (31-4-18 KOs)
Golden Boy won the purse bid for the Bundrage-Spinks II fight and convinced Showtime to air it. This may be reading too much into it, but it could be that this is part of a larger scheme for Golden Boy to get Canelo’s next opponent some publicity. At the very least, they’re keeping their options open. So in steps “K9” Bundrage, a tough Detroit native who has beaten the likes of Cory Spinks, Kassim Ouma, and Sechew Powell. Another win over Spinks may put him in the Alvarez mix, but quite honestly, he would be in way over his head. Losses to quality but not top level guys including Grady Brewer, Steve Forbes, and Joel Julio do not bode well for Bundrage should he step into the ring against a star-in-the-making like Alvarez.