Canelo Alvarez vs. Ryota Murata in talks for May 2 in Japan

By Tim Compton - 01/23/2020 - Comments

Ryota Murata has replaced Billy Joe Saunders as the likely opponent for Saul Canelo Alvarez to fight next on May 2 on DAZN in Japan. Although the fight won’t interest many U.S fans, it would be HUGE in Japan, as Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) is a big star in that country.

@SIChrisMannix broke the story of Canelo in talks with Murata for his next fight.

Canelo fighting WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Murata could potentially help DAZN bring in numbers in Japan. So you could see it as a win-win for DAZN, while at the same time opening up a new market for Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs). It would a good business level fight for Canelo and potentially DAZN.

According to @MikeCoppinger, the Canelo vs. Murata fight would take place on May 3 in Japan, but it would be shown live on May 2 in the U.S. Tokyo, Japan is 14 hours ahead of New York.

Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo haven’t entirely given up on the idea of a unification fight against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 14 KOs) for May 2. He’s still an option for the May 2 fight for the 29-year-old Alvarez, as is WBA Super World champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs).

While the hardcore boxing fans in the U.S would prefer to see Canelo fight the likes of Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade, the casual fans don’t know who either of those two guys are any more than they know who Murata is.

There’s no real benefit for Canelo to pick Andrade or Charlo over Murata, since they’re not big enough names to make a massive difference. Canelo stands to gain a lot more from fighting Murata in Japan on May the 3rd than he does by competing in the States on May 2 against one of those fighters.

As for Gennadiy Golovkin, he’s defending his IBF middleweight title in April against mandatory Kamil Szeremeta. Golovin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) wants to hold onto his IBF belt, and he needs to get this fight out of the way before a possible trilogy fight with Canelo can take place in September or December. DAZN obviously wants to see Canelo and Golovkin fight a third time, but it could be even better for the streaming platform for the Mexican star to face Murata in May.

The audience that Canelo will seen by in Japan will be staggering. We’re talking millions of viewers in the country will be watching the fight, not because of Canelo, but rather the highly popular 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata. Canelo would be along for the ride, and would benefit as the opponent. DAZN, of course, would be able to bring in subscribers in Japan, and that would be a positive. Again, it’s not a fight that would interest American boxing fans, but DAZN and Canelo would be getting a good deal in taking the fight with the twice beaten Murata.

It wouldn’t be a tough fight for Canelo compared to his past matches against Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs. Murata, although heavy-handed, he’s slow, robotic and easy to hit. He’s already been beaten twice by fringe level middleweights in Rob Brant and Hassan N’Dam.