That shot across the bow from the one and only Saul Canelo Alvarez hit the net yesterday by way of ESNews. The face of the sport has some choice words to say about fighters waiting on him for an opportunity to fight instead of fighting each other. After the suggestion, he stated, “I'm busy this year.” Yes, the undisputed super-middleweight champion is busy this year as he recently signed a lucrative two-fight deal with DAZN, which can potentially lead to three fights worth up to 150 million dollars.
These past few weeks reminded me of a time when another star of the sport had fans eagerly anticipating his next move, and that was when Lebron hosted the ESPN segment “The decision.” It's where he famously said that he would take his talents to South Beach. For weeks, rumors were flying around that Canelo was going to take the offer from Al Haymon for Charlo then Benavidez, which would be worth up to 100 million. Then the DAZN rumors of Bivol and GGG swirled, and those plans ended up being what Canelo decided to choose.
People are saying that Canelo is ducking the young lions over at PBC, but his decision has layers to it, which all point towards business. Canelo Alvarez is a nine-figure brand and has billion-dollar companies he either works with or is invested in him. Fighting Jermall Charlo, who currently has a pending court date, probably doesn't fit with the people behind Canelo. You must consider that they would have to put their company's investment on a poster with someone with some pending legal issues. It just doesn't make business sense.
What about Benavidez? He lost the title twice without losing it in the ring. I know the past is the past but is it worth the risk for some companies? These fortune five hundred companies are more into sure things and taking less risk. Bivol is a champion at light heavyweight with no history of issues in and out of the ring. That helps those companies process the opponent a little better.
Then there's Gennadiy Golovkin, who has been waiting for the third fight that “no one wants to see.” Guess what? Plenty of people want to see that third fight and the majority of those people aren't boxing fans. Do you know why? There is a proven track record between the two fighters, both in their careers and against each other. You know what you're getting from GGG in a fight against Canelo, even at the age of forty. It will be next-level boxing skills and highly contested. People still remember and talk about their first two fights, which were a commercial success. Keep in mind GGG also has fortune five hundred companies back him, so it makes business sense. No one wants to hear me say that these Canelo moves are about business, but when you are the sport's top star, that's just what it is.
So, peeking around the curve, who gets that third fight against Canelo if he goes in December? There are two options. One is John Ryder, who recently beat Daniel Jacobs. That fight would check the box of Canelo being part of an event in the U.K. with minimal risk involved. By then, Canelo would have earned that right. The other option would be for him to fight the winner of Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. If Canelo goes with the latter, you have to start involving him in that conversation of the greatest Mexican fighter of all time. That type of run, if successful, will undoubtedly earn Canelo another Fighter of the Year trophy.
Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury this year?
The recent events in Ukraine have pushed athletes from that country to participate in their army and defend their grounds against an invasion. Unified Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk (19-0) has recently mentioned that he is solely focused on supporting his country and not on the heavyweight crown. With Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte scheduled in April, I don't think it is out of the realm of possibility that we get Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua this summer. Let's face it; they don't need any belts for it to be the biggest fight in the U.K. If the events in Ukraine last longer than expected, keep an eye out for Fury vs. Joshua this summer.
Is Devin Haney back in the running for Kambosos?
Vasiliy Lomachenko has also joined his fellow countrymen, which means he may not be available to fight Kambosos in June. So do we see Devin Haney vs. George Kambosos? I hate to say it, but I don't think it happens. We will probably see Kambosos fight a tune-up and then see him face Ryan Garcia. Looking at yesterday's presser, the EVP (Joe Markowski) for DAZN was in attendance, and you're not going to have him come out for a presser unless you are with a needle mover, and that's Ryan. This is all set up for a Garcia vs. Kambosos fight in the fall, so don't be surprised when it happens.
My Three Cents
It's been a while since “Around The Curve” has made its way onto the site, but there have been many things happening behind the scenes that are constantly changing. On a quick note, if Errol Spence Jr. beats Ugas in April, will you be surprised if the Crawford fight gets announced at the post-fight interview? I won't be, as the fight has been discussed in private for months now. Until next time, stay tuned for the Summer Slam edition of Around the Curve.