Canelo Alvarez has become a staple fighting on both Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day Weekends.
After fighting three consecutive years on the latter holiday, boxing’s biggest superstar will be sitting on the sidelines come September after Golden Boy Promotions announced Wednesday that it has made a strategic decision to forgo its typical fight in the fall. Alvarez’s next fight now will take place later in 2019.
“The decision was made in an effort to secure the right opponent and to do justice to the level of promotion required for a boxing star of his magnitude,” Golden Boy Promotions said in a statement.
“As a Mexican, it’s a responsibility and an honor to represent my country in both May and September,” said Alvarez. “Those are my dates. However, as a world champion in multiple weight classes, I also have the responsibility of delivering the most exciting and competitive fights possible.”
Golden Boy was in monthlong negotiations with a handful of fighters but eventually missed the mark on making a deal for the most notable star in its stable.
Among the handful of opponents who were chiefly discussed was Gennady Golovkin, whom Alvarez would have met for a third time after fighting to a draw the first time and beating him the second via disputed decision. The other possible counterpart was a wild card in Russian light heavyweight champion Sergei Kovalev, as Alvarez looked to move up two weight classes and become a champion in a fourth division.
Golden Boy reportedly offered Main Event, Kovalev’s promoter, $4 million on July 1 and later upped the potential purse to $6 million on Monday. Daniel Jacobs, Alvarez’s last opponent in May, received in excess of $12 million for his fight, and Kovalev’s camp was looking for a more handsome offer.
DAZN, the digital streaming platform that signed Alvarez to an unprecedented 10-fight, $365-million deal in 2018, reportedly only green-lit two opponents for Alvarez to face: Golovkin in a trilogy, or Kovalev.
Golden Boy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday’s announcement , but in an interview on July 2 with The Times, Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy, said they were considering clashes in the 160, 168 and 175 divisions for their throwback fighter. He said then that only Golovkin would benefit should a potential trilogy take place.
“Canelo wants to make history and fight the best guys and prove that he can be an all-around fighter at any weight class,” Gomez said. “He’s still young where it doesn’t hurt him [to change weight]. When you’re older, it can be tougher.”
During the buildup of the Alvarez-Jacobs fight in April, Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya hinted that he’d consider the heavier Kovalev as an opponent, but a deal could never be reached.
Kovalev, a wrecking ball knockout machine, is past his prime at 37 years old yet still is a recognizable name; he has a 3-3 record over his last six fights. He would have had brought a significant size advantage into the ring.
Although both parties had been in ongoing contract negotiations, a matchup between Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 knockouts) and Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 knockouts) was announced for Aug. 24 in Russia on Friday. If that mandatory fight was scrapped, Yarde and his promoter Frank Warren would have to be compensated as well.
Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 knockouts), who will celebrate his 29th birthday on Thursday, cherry-picked a second-tier version of a WBA super middleweight belt when he beat an overmatched Rocky Fielding in December and, in the process, became the ninth Mexican to hold world titles in three divisions.
He was looking to find a fresh face other than Golovkin after beating Jacobs at 160, and gain 15 pounds while doing so.
Ultimately, the sand in the hourglass expired, and he’ll now have to wait a few months longer to make a potential attempt at another career milestone.
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for USA Today and the Guardian.