Golden Boy signs Alvarez
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya was practically giddy with the news: His company had just signed super prospect Saul "Canelo" Alvarez to a multi-fight contract during a news conference in the welterweight's hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday.
"I really think today is a historical day for Golden Boy," De La Hoya told ESPN.com just before leaving Mexico to fly back to Los Angeles. "We believe Saul is going to be a star. He's already a big attraction here in Mexico and we're going to do everything we can to help him become a champion and a star in the United States."
Alvarez (30-0-1, 22 KOs) is just 19 but turned pro at 15 with no amateur experience. Although he already has 31 fights, he is still a prospect, but one with tremendous potential. He was one of ESPN.com's top 25 prospects to watch for in 2010.
De La Hoya said Alvarez has another 10 fights that were never reported to official boxing recordkeeper Fight Fax and that Golden Boy would seek documentation of those bouts to have them added to his record.
"I want to show everyone that I will be a world champion and that I'm ready to fight the best fighters in the world," Alvarez said. "The opportunity to work with Golden Boy is definitely one that I could not pass up as I feel it will help me achieve my goal of reaching my full potential as a fighter and becoming a huge success in boxing."
Alvarez has been fighting regularly on Mexican television giant Televisa and drawing large crowds because of his aggressive, crowd-pleasing style and his distinctive red hair and freckles.
Golden Boy promoted two of Alvarez's fights before signing him, including one in Mexico that drew a sellout crowd of about 6,000.
"And we had another 1,000 waiting to get in," De La Hoya said. "He's also done fights in big places where he's drawn 12,000. The kid is really becoming a star. We think he can be a really big one, but what matters is that he's a real fighter. He can fight, aside from being charismatic. People identify him wherever he goes because of his look -- red hair and freckles, which his not what Mexicans usually look like. But he can fight, he has a chin, he can punch and he's smart. I think he's the whole package."
Golden Boy's plan for Alvarez is for him to fight in Mexico in an already-scheduled March 6 fight before bringing him to the United States for fights in May, September and December.
De La Hoya said the spring fight would come May 1 on the undercard of the proposed Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather Jr. welterweight title fight.
"He has a fight in March in Mexico and then the plan is to put him on that big card on May 1 if we can get the [Mosley-Mayweather] fight finalized," De La Hoya said.
Golden Boy landed Alvarez -- who Tuto Zabala Jr. claims to have a contract with -- while Zabala and Golden Boy rival Top Rank were in talks to do a co-promotional deal, which would have commenced with Alvarez fighting on the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey HBO PPV undercard on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where Top Rank believed he would draw many Mexican fans.
However, Golden Boy closed the deal, and De La Hoya sounded awfully pleased to beat Top Rank.
"The people in control are [manager] Jose Reynoso and now we are his exclusive promoter," De La Hoya said. "Anybody can say they promote him or want to promote him, but the fact of the matter is we signed him and we have a contract and a deal."
Said Reynoso: "We have been working with Golden Boy Promotions for many years going back to the days when they promoted Oscar 'Chololo' Larios and we are very happy that Saul Alvarez's career will be guided by this influential company."
De La Hoya said he's been working to sign Alvarez since Golden Boy promoted his 2008 fight against Larry Mosley.
"He feels comfortable with us," De La Hoya said. "I've been working on this for a while. I've been very impressed with him since I first saw him fight."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.