Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya says that one of the reasons why the 24-year-old former WBA/WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez moved to HBO was because he didn’t want to be second to anybody in fighting on Showtime. With Canelo’s situation in fighting on Showtime, he was badly overshadowed by the more popular and much more accomplished Floyd Mayweather Jr.
That situation wasn’t going to go away until Mayweather finished out his contract with Showtime, because he was simply a more talented fighter than the red-haired Canelo. That fact was borne out when the two fighters faced each other last year in September and Mayweather made Canelo look bad in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision.
Had Canelo stayed with Showtime, he would have had to stay the No.2 fighter on their network until Mayweather retired from the sport at some point in the future. But with Canelo now moving to HBO, who only have the aging 35-year-old Manny Pacquiao and WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin for Canelo to compete with in terms of popularity, Canelo has a chance of becoming HBO’s No.1 fighter in the near future. Canelo still won’t be the No.1 guy because Pacquiao is clearly a more popular fighter than him, but there’s a chance that he can take the No.1 spot as soon as Pacquiao retires or if he starts losing on a regular basis as he ages more.
“I have to do what Canelo asks me to do,” De La Hoya said to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “I’m not going to jeopardize my relationship with Canelo. The biggest factor for him was being second to nobody. So that’s what I did — I made the deal with HBO, where he won’t be second. You’re dealing with someone who is 24 years old. He’s a superstar in Mexico and realizes his potential in the States. He has another 10 years to go, and he wants to capitalize as much as he can.”
De La Hoya is going to need to match Canelo carefully if he wants to mold him into HBO’s No.1 moneymaker because he doesn’t appear to have great talent. He’s a good fighter with an exciting fighting style, but he’s already been exposed by Mayweather, and he looked mediocre against Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara. If De La Hoya makes the mistake of matching Canelo against Golovkin, he could see Canelo get exposed yet again.
Canelo might be able to beat the aging Miguel Cotto, but that’s not a big deal because he’s already been beaten a number of times. Right now, Cotto is being made to look better than he is with the careful matchmaking that’s being done for him by putting him in with older guys like Delvin Rodriguez and Sergio Martinez, but Cotto is basically the same fighter that Trout and Mayweather beat in 2012. Canelo might be able to beat Cotto, but it’s going to be a tough fight.
A victory over Cotto will only prove that Canelo is one of the top fighters at 160, but the top guy. He’ll have to face Golovkin to take that title, and if he avoids the fight then he’s going to look bad. But if he faces Golovin, we’re likely going to see Canelo beaten. That could hurt his chances of being HBO’s number one guy in the future. For that reason, I think De La Hoya will have Canelo avoid Golovkin until the Kazakhstan fighter is old enough to where Canelo will have a better chance against him.