Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez is eyeing a super-fight down the line with Mexican star Saul Alvarez, should he get past Miguel Cotto in June. If agreed this would arguably be the second biggest fight that could be made in the entire sport – pitting a legendary champion against the sport’s crossover superstar-in-waiting.
Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez told On The Ropes Boxing Radio that “Maravilla” will go after former 154lb champion Canelo later this year if both progress beyond their upcoming bouts. Sanchez said he believed Martinez is at the stage in his career where he’s only interested in big fights against smaller, profitable opponents. The fight would likely be on November 22 2014 in Los Angeles or San Antonio, as Alvarez has another scheduled PPV date in July, only a month after Cotto-Martinez is slated to take place – over the National Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend in New York City.
While the prolonged negotiations for Cotto-Martinez are ongoing, the major details are largely agreed and the fight is likely to be signed and announced within the next few days. It’s very plausible that the Argentine southpaw and Mexican slugger will be interesting in fighting for several reasons. Martinez only has eyes for legacy-securing and lucrative payday fights against big names as he enters the winter season of his stellar career. Canelo, 15 years his junior, would jump at the chance to put Martinez’s name on his record and land a money-spinning title fight against a fellow South American. For the anointed successor to Floyd Mayweather with PPV dates to fulfil, the fight would tick alot of boxes. Indeed Miguel Cotto, another with ambitions of locking horns with Canelo, turned down a $10m fight with the 23 year old in favour of chasing the much older – arguably more beatable – Maravilla before he rides off into the sunset.
Canelo-Martinez (or should it be Martinez-Canelo?) would be the next best thing to a fantasy Mayweather v Pacquiao era-defining bout – with two legitimate top 10 P4P fighters. For those who’ve watched the likes of Mayweather, Alvarez, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Tim Bradley, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nonito Donaire and Wladmir Klitschko in recent years – I’m sure we can agree, these P4P clashes don’t always live up their pre-fight billing. A catchweight between the 160lb and 154lb limits would likely be in place for this box office fight, with a pot of money large enough to persuade the Argentine fighter to drop a few pounds.
Abel Sanchez’s comments are perhaps prompted by mounting criticism of his fighter GGG (and to a lesser extent Martinez), for not taking overt steps to settle who is the Middleweight number 1 in the ring. Following the iron-fisted Kazakh’s KO wins over Osumanu Adama and Curtis Stevens, Golovkin’s mask of invincibility has slipped slightly. Only this week Andre Ward was rebuking Team GGG for trying to “force feed” fans the narrative that their fighter was now a mainstream star.
Meanwhile according to Sanchez, Irish Middleweight contender Andy Lee is the leading candidate to face Golovkin on April 26 in New York. Lee’s front-runner status is reportedly aided by Martin Murray taking the time to decide whether to challenge Golovkin, or take a Germany rematch with IBF champion Felix Sturm.
I’d expect to see a knockdown or two if we were watching Alvarez trying to wrest the middleweight title from Sergio Martinez – neither have unbeaten records to protect and both are rarely involved in boring fights. Martinez in particular doesn’t shy away from risk-taking and showboating in big fights, and Alvarez would be fighting someone who Mayweather never seriously considered fighting. Canelo getting the nod in a close decision is a very likely outcome, as is Canelo by stoppage should the crowd-pleasing Martinez continue in the same vein as his last outing against Britain’s Martin Murray.
We’re approaching a watershed in the current era, with the Mayweather-Pacquiao-Cotto triumvirate of PPV kings unable to carry the sport’s box office fanbase for much longer. The Klitschko’s, Bernard Hopkins’ and Sergio Martinez’s of the world also are surely eyeing the exit and sketching out their plans post-retirement. Saul Alvarez versus the winner of Cotto-Martinez later this year would be a passing of the torch in many ways, and the young Mexican would be a red-hot favourite against either. This may just be the fight where Martinez’s 39 years and his freewheeling and brash style catch up to him in a very big way – don’t take your eyes off this one.