Junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez campaigned hard -- against the wishes of some his handlers -- for a unification fight against Austin “No Doubt” Trout.
All along the hang up in announcing the fight was not Alvarez’s unwillingness to fight Trout. He wanted the fight badly and Trout wanted to fight Alvarez too. The issue was the date.
It finally got made on Wednesday with Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer announcing that it would take place on April 20 at the Alamodome in San Antonio and headline a Showtime-televised card.
“I am very happy with my fight,” Alvarez told ESPN.com. “Austin Trout is a great fighter and I will give what people want -- a great battle and a great night for all.”
It’s a great fight, one of the most interesting of the year. But it was supposed to be the co-feature on the May 4 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero Showtime PPV card.
That didn’t happen only because, according to Golden Boy, Mayweather refused to sign a contract agreeing to fight Alvarez in his next fight, as long as they both won on May 4.
Mayweather-Alvarez is a mega fight if it happens. Having them both on the same May 4 card against excellent opponents with the specter of a fall showdown would have made the card enormous.
Mayweather-Guerrero will be a big pay-per-view even without Alvarez but you know what? With him on the card, had it been against Trout (26-0, 14 KOs) or somebody else, would have made it gigantic, as in hundreds of thousands of buys over 1 million, in my opinion.
But Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) wouldn’t agree to fight Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs), at least contractually before May 4. Mayweather supposedly said he would but wouldn’t put his signature to it. Alvarez rightfully felt that without a written guarantee there was no reason for him to lend his name, star power and economic muscle to Mayweather’s pay-per-view. Alvarez-Trout will get its own multi-million dollar license fee from Showtime and do its own seven-figure gate. It is better than an undercard fight.
Don’t get me wrong -- had Alvarez-Trout been on May 4, I’d have been as happy as anyone. It would have been great for boxing fans to get that caliber fight on an undercard of a $70 pay-per-view.
But I never really thought it would happen. Too good to be true because I never thought Mayweather would agree to fight Alvarez at this point.
Maybe Mayweather will beat Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) and maybe Alvarez will beat Trout (both are legitimately tough fights on paper) and they will still fight in the fall. But without that guarantee, Alvarez basically said to hell with Mayweather and I don’t blame him.
Why should he just take Mayweather’s word that he will fight him next? Why, with all those guaranteed fights on his new six-fight deal with Showtime PPV, would Mayweather fight perhaps the toughest opponent in the second fight of the deal and possibly mess up the rest of those huge money guarantees?
Anyone who knows anything about network multi-fight deals knows that typically the biggest money fight -- when there is usually the most risk involved -– comes at the end of the deal after as much money has been sucked out of the deal as can be sucked.
Besides, we’ve already seen how Mayweather moved the goal posts in his drawn out talks for a Manny Pacquiao fight. First it was drug testing (which he still harps on in interviews even though Pacquiao long agreed to it). When that got solved it was a date or venue that didn’t work for Mayweather. Then he refused a percentage split, only wanting to pay Pacquiao a set fee, which he knew was a non-starter. It was always going to be something and probably will with Alvarez too if he beats Trout.
Alvarez, the 22-year-old Mexican star, always preferred being on his own show anyway but was willing to go on Mayweather’s undercard as long as he knew he had him next. He didn’t get that guarantee and so he will move on with his own card.
“Mayweather has no word to support what he says. The contract was already within the terms and just was missing the signature,” Alvarez said. “He said yes, but nothing happened at the end. Floyd never signed anything. But in spite of all that I am happy with my fight and my own date. This is what I wanted from the beginning.
“I have no need for Mayweather to impose conditions because I can have my own fans, my own event and my own history. I'm tired of being accessible to fight him, since he never was real in what he was talking. The truth is he does not want to fight me. I will continue doing my own history.”