By Rich Mancuso
Canelo Alvarez is not fighting Gennady Golovkin Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas for the middleweight title. That’s a fight boxing fans want, though they are supposed to see two of the best pound-for-pound fighters a year from now. And there is speculation now that fight may not be in the works.
Alvarez will hopefully answer the question after his move down from middleweight against the undefeated and unknown Liam Smith for the WBO super welterweight title. And that is the question, Alvarez surrendering his middleweight title and fighting for something else.
The Mexican superstar will have to answer after the main event on HBO Pay-Per-View. While Golovkin took care of business last week with a fifth round TKO over Kell Brook, and that was not a “Triple-G” great stoppage with the knockout he is known for, there still was no definite date or plan for a mega-fight.
Golovkin will be watching Saturday night, as will the boxing world. The unknown Smith, is not the opponent fight fans want to see, and of course will be looking to stop the Canelo Alvarez express with thousands of Mexican supporters expected in Texas.
But why Smith, and to readjust at a different weight? There are no simple answers, except for one, that Golovkin will continue to wait for the supposed mega fight or is Canelo Alvarez simply not ready to take on a knockout artist as Golovkin is known to be?
Alvarez in his final preparations this week continued the drama. Fighting again at 160 is not definite and if so, there goes the fight with Golovkin. Or is this another mental edge for Alvarez to stay sharp and show more power that he professes before moving back to 160 as a middleweight?
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see in a couple of fights how I feel. I am concentrating on this and we’ll see what comes.”
That is not the response the boxing world wants to hear. They want and anticipate a showdown between the constant debate of who is pound-for-pound the best, or in that category of a top three fighter in the world.
And there is a factor of the unknown, the opponent, Smith, who is supposed to be the fight before the big one against Golovkin.
Alvarez says, “I’m going to say it one more time, they need to worry, they need to try and make something happen but not me.”
He was referring to Golovkin and Brook. But the entire boxing world will be rooting for Alvarez whether they love or hate his style. It’s about marketing and the mega-fight, and the talk about Alvarez-Golovkin has been ongoing the past year.
Alvarez has a promoter who knows something about the boxing game and how it works. Oscar De La Hoya, who heads Golden Boy Boxing can only look at the fight ahead Saturday night that could draw an excess of 60,000 fans. It’s an Alvarez base of fans that will be there and not a fight in Las Vegas.
Possibly, this is also a test to stage a mega-fight with Golovkin at the AT&T venue, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and the owner Jerry Jones has advocated seeing more big fights in his palace.
But De La Hoya is also the promoter that knows about the unexpected. His fighter, a heavy favorite to win, can also go down because of the unknown that has the confidence to spoil all plans for an Alvarez-Golovkin showdown.
“It’s a possibility,” said De La Hoya this week about his fighter losing. “If you have to think the very worse, you have to think in reality. A fighter steps inside the ring he’s going to win or he’s going to lose. If he loses you go back to the drawing board. If he wins, you keep moving forward.”
But the worse case scenario, is a loss for Canelo Alvarez. And then the mega-fight is thrown out the window, and the questions about moving down in weight to 154 become more obvious. The speculation comes to a halt and that Canelo Alvarez avoided that mega-fight.
Of course, Alvarez and De La Hoya are not expecting a bad outcome. And boxing fans will view this fight with Smith, they will because of the unknown and that speculation of a mega-fight.
The matter at hand is this: If Canelo Alvarez goes down to defeat Saturday night, he becomes the question. The decisions made will have to be answered. Most of all the sport of boxing gets another slap in the face.