Bob Arum 'ready to do that fight'
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez -- natural future opponents and major stars in Mexico -- both won fights this month on highly rated HBO shows.
There is talk, especially in Mexico, about an eventual match between the two, though it is viewed as unlikely for the time being because each can make big money against a slew of other opponents while their rivalry brews and they become more known in the United States.
But Top Rank's Bob Arum, Chavez's promoter, insisted he would make the fight right now if Golden Boy was interested in a co-promotion.
"We'd scrap any plans for Chavez to fight Canelo immediately," Arum told ESPN.com. "(Trainer) Freddie (Roach) wants that fight, the kid wants that fight, we're ready. We just need a willingness on Canelo's part to do it. We're ready to do that fight. But I don't think they want the fight."
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Chavez, 25, outpointed Sebastian Zbik on June 4 to claim a middleweight belt, and Alvarez stopped Ryan Rhodes in the 12th round June 18 in his first junior middleweight title defense.
Arum said if the match happened, Chavez (43-0-1, 30 KOs) would not be able to go down to 154 pounds, where Alvarez holds his title.
"Maybe at 158," Arum said. "And then Canelo could keep his belt if he lost."
Arum spent the past couple of years keeping his featherweight stars, Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa, apart while trying to build a pay-per-view fight between them. But Lopez got knocked out in April and killed any chance of the fight for now.
So how is matching Chavez and Alvarez (37-0-1, 27 KOs) now any different when it could become a massive blockbuster down the road, as he had hoped for Lopez and Gamboa?
"Neither guy looks to me to be a great fighter and either guy could lose on the way there," Arum said of Chavez and Alvarez. "Gamboa and Lopez were elite, great fighters. If (a loss) happened there, it could certainly happen with Canelo and Chavez, who are not elite fighters."
Elite or not, Alvarez, just 20, is Mexico's most popular fighter. According to the WBC, Alvarez's bout against Rhodes in Guadalajara drew a viewing audience of approximately 36 million people to Mexican network Televisa.
Few believe Chavez-Alvarez is going to happen, though, at least this year. Golden Boy, Alvarez's promoter, is planning a fight for him Sept. 17 as part of a split-site HBO PPV card along with Floyd Mayweather's return to the ring to challenge welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz.
Arum also is planning Chavez's next move. He had hoped to have him defend his title Sept. 24 on HBO -- before Roach goes to the Philippines to train Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 12 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez.
That date was not available, so Arum said HBO has committed to putting him on Nov. 19.
But Arum also said Chavez may first take a September fight in Mexico. He said Fernando Beltran, Arum's longtime partner promoting Chavez, is looking for a state or city government in Mexico to subsidize the fight "because there'd be no television outlet (that pays significant money) in the U.S. except on our (low budget) Fox Deportes series 'Top Rank Live.' "
Although the sanctioning body belts often mean little to boxing fans, they still have a lot of meaning to most fighters, especially Chavez. In a ceremony in Mexico City this week, he was presented with his new belt.
"I am very proud to be the first Mexican to win a WBC world middleweight title," Chavez said. "I remember going with my dad to this very same ceremony when he won his title and I was very proud of him. Today is my turn."
Chavez, of course, is the son of Hall of Famer and all-time Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who won multiple world titles in three weight classes.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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