Saul Alvarez: His Next 5 Fights If He Defeats Alfonso Gomez
Though Victor Ortiz's welterweight title defense against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is certainly the main attraction Saturday on HBO PPV, it will not be the only main event to be shown on the live broadcast.
Junior middleweight title-holder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will be defending his junior middleweight belt against former "Contender" star Alfonso Gomez in Los Angeles, 270 miles away from the Ortiz-Mayweather bout in Las Vegas, as part of a rare split-site pay-per-view.
Alvarez is one of the fastest-rising young talents to come out of the sport in years and is quickly becoming a bonafide superstar—evident by already headlining two separate HBO broadcasts this year at only 21-years-old.
But Alfonso Gomez is no pushover.
Most famously known for retiring the late Arturo Gatti in 2007, Gomez is currently on a five-fight win streak and has only lost once in the last seven years. He is a worthy challenger for the young Alvarez.
With odds favoring Alvarez as high as -1200 to win, and -225 to win within the distance, it is a testament to how much respect the boxing world has for this bright fighter affectionately referred to as "Canelo"—Spanish for cinnamon.
So if the odds makers are right and Alvarez gets through this fight successfully, who's next?
Here are five fighters that should be on his radar for the near future.
Vanes Martirosyan, the 2004 U.S. Olympian, is now 30-0 with 19 knockouts.
On June 4, Martirosyan survived a first round knockdown to stop Saul Roman in the seventh round. The bout was a title eliminator which was supposed to earn the winner a shot at Alvarez's belt, but the mandatory challenge has not yet been enforced.
Martirosyan is the least recognizable name on this list, but he has earned his way to deserving a title shot by besting fighters such as Kassim Ouma—a former titlist—and Joe Greene—who he handed his first and only loss to.
It is hard to imagine this not being a crowd-pleasing fight, but I doubt it will ever come to fruition. Alvarez is a star and Martirosyan is not. When you are a star in boxing, rarely do you have to follow the orders of the sanctioning bodies that decide the mandatory challengers.
Still, it is one of the better matches that could be made at 154 pounds.
Paul Williams is a name in boxing. He has won significant fights in three separate weight divisions—welterweight through middleweight—over the last few years and collected a couple titles along the way. He has given a list of memorable and action-packed fights to the fans, never shying from a brawl.
That being said, he looks shot.
Since his classic first fight with current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in December 2009—which he won—he has not looked like the same outstanding fighter we came to know when he dismantled Antonio Margarito in 2007.
And there is a tradition in boxing that has long survived and likely always will—rising young stars look build their names by beating declining former champions.
It is up to Alvarez's handlers to decide how much Williams has left and whether this would still be too tall an order for the 21-year-old. But, if Alvarez could look good against someone of Williams' stature, however fleeting that stature may currently be, it would go a long way in solidifying the new champ's place.
However, this fight would cost a lot of money and Williams would never settle for less than what he is used to making, but it would definitely be fun.
About 13 months ago, Alfredo Angulo was one of the most promising contenders the sport could boast. In a three-month span, Angulo had knocked out former "Prospect of the Year," Joel Julio, and then stopped former titlist Joachim Alcine in the first round.
It appeared a title shot was his until it was discovered he was in the U.S. illegally and his relationship with promoter Gary Shaw soured.
After sitting out of action for over a year, Angulo signed with Golden Boy Promotions—the same promoter as Alvarez—and returned to the ring to easily blowout the overmatched Joseph Gomez in August.
Now, though he still can't fight in the U.S., Golden Boy is keeping him busy in Mexico, and his return to American television could come as early as November 5 on HBO.
A matchup between Angulo and Alvarez would be massive in Mexico. With Angulo having fought most of his career on American television, there would be plenty of interest in the fight on this side of the border, as well.
Both fighters have power and proven chins. This fight would be a dream fight that many would have a hard time picking a favorite for.
If there is one single fight the people handling Saul Alvarez should be building up to, it is a showdown with Miguel Cotto.
Is Saul Alvarez ready for Miguel Cotto right now? Absolutely not.
But, as long as neither fighter loses in the near future, it would be a huge fight. And of all the major names in boxing that Alvarez could make a lot of money with, he would have the best chance of winning with Cotto.
Some people have speculated that Floyd Mayweather,Jr. or Manny Pacquiao may eventually fight Alvarez, as it surely comes with a massive payday, even though Alvarez is still green. He would surely make more money fighting Mayweather or Pacquiao, but both of those would be an incomparably harder fight than one against Cotto.
And if Cotto can exact revenge on rival Antonio Margarito later this year, the Puerto Rico versus Mexico rivalry angle will already be in place.
Cotto is almost universally top ranked at 154 pounds. If Alvarez wants that spot, this is the fight that he will eventually have to take.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
At the moment, Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. are Mexican boxing's two most beloved sons. And for the most part, the Mexican fans are torn down the middle as to which fighter they would support if the two ever met.
Chavez, Jr. is the son of arguably the greatest Mexican fighter of all time, but many feel his road to the top has been too easily paved and that he has yet to actually prove himself. Many doubt his credibility as a titlist.
But for every doubter, the kid has a band of loyal supporters.
After winning an empty title this summer that was shamefully stripped from the real middleweight champion, Sergio Martinez, there has been a debate as to whose title means more between Chavez, Jr.'s and Alvarez's—Alvarez won his by beating a welterweight that wasn't even ranked in the top ten of his own division.
The easiest way to settle the debate is have them fight.
This is a big money fight, as both fighters have a massive fan base in Mexico. And the sooner the fight gets made, the better. So often, promoters put this kind of match off, hoping to let it marinade and build up, only to have one of the fighters lose and thus devalue the match.
Make the fight now and both fighters will look like winners. It would be an event.