Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was said to be in negotiations with uninspiring opponents until Tuesday, when he announced he’ll fight England’s former junior-welterweight world champion Amir Khan on May 7.
The HBO pay-per-view bout will be fought at a 155-pound catch-weight limit for the World Boxing Council middleweight belt that Mexico’s Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 knockouts) won by unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in November.
The new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is among the sites in consideration.
The matchmaking is stunning given that Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) fights for powerful boxing manager Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, is suing Haymon for $300 million, contending he’s trying to monopolize boxing and violating a federal law that forbids a manager from functioning jointly as a promoter.
PBC has staged more than 50 cards since on NBC, CBS, ESPN and Fox and some cable networks since its March debut, including Khan’s victory over former 140-pound champion Chris Algieri in May.
Haymon and HBO have been strained for three years.
Tim Smith, a spokesman for Haymon, said, “Al was involved in negotiations with Khan’s people throughout … to make the deal. This is why it’s beneficial for these [fighters] to be free agents [not linked to promotional contracts], to go get the best possible deals they can, to make the most money he can for himself.”
A month after a judge ruled Haymon would likely have to provide sensitive documents in discovery and perhaps provide a deposition in a similar lawsuit brought against him by rival promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., the Khan-Alvarez deal pours some water on the suggestion in the lawsuit that Haymon won’t do business with De La Hoya and Arum.
A PBC official unauthorized to comment publicly on the lawsuit said, “If the point is that Al stops these guys from making fights with those guys, what do you think [this says]? This model has been set up -- this is why it was constructed -- to not deprive fighters of the chance to make the most money for themselves.”
Alvarez stands as the most popular active fighter following the September retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr., but the possibility of him choosing Gabriel Rosado or Willie Monroe was upsetting to many fans after Alvarez opted to delay an anticipated showdown with Gennady Golovkin until the fall.
“As the middleweight champion of the world, I will take on the best fighters in the sport,” Alvarez said in a statement released by Golden Boy Promotions. “Amir … is in the prime of his career.”
Khan, who was jilted in his efforts to fight Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, trains in the Bay Area under Virgil Hunter, who trains unbeaten light-heavyweight Andre Ward and is moving up in weight substantially to fight Alvarez.
“My goal is to always fight the biggest names and the best fighters. That is why I’m excited for this fight,” Khan said. “I know I have the speed and ability to beat [Alvarez] and will give my fans what they deserve on May 7.”