3 opponents for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez other than James Kirkland

Saul AlvarezSince the tragic motorcycle accident that appears to have paralyzed Paul “The Punisher” Williams, one of this generation’s most exciting fighters, the handlers of rising superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have been searching for the ideal September 15th replacement in order to produce a mega fight that not only brings in the dollars but also establishes Alvarez as a true 154lb champion.

While it seems as though Golden Boy Promotions has already chosen to go with one of their worthy fighters in James Kirkland (31-1, 27KOs), who may or may not be suffering from a serious shoulder injury come fight time, the three fighters below represent matchups that are also worthy of consideration and might produce more money and more excitement if marketed correctly.

In evaluating fighters for Alvarez for the September 15th card, one must weigh his lack of experience against top-level 154lb fighters against the potential financial and legacy-building rewards of a win or loss against the fighters on this list. That is why, for example, Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) is number one while Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6KOs) and Erislandy Lara (16-1-1, 11KOs) do not even appear on this list. Simply put, Cotto will bring the most to the table in all respects while Lara and Molina present huge risks that do not offer any of the financial or career-building rewards.

And, finally, the list: Three opponents for Alvarez other than Kirkland

1. Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30KOs)

On the weekend that celebrates Mexico’s Independence, I can think of no greater matchup than that of Mexico’s biggest star against Puerto Rico’s living legend. While Cotto’s skillset and experience are far beyond that of the young Alvarez and Cotto would definitely be favored, if Alvarez is the prospect that many of us, including myself, think he is, he should put up a good showing and might even sneak by with a close and controversial decision. While Cotto looked impressive in his loss to Floyd “Money” Mayweather (43-0, 26KOs), Alvarez deserves serious consideration for pulling off a close fight or a decision victory for the simple fact that Cotto is not really a true 154lb fighter. Despite the marketing that was done in the lead-up to his mega fight with Mayweather, Cotto has beaten only one true 154lb fighter in the grossly light-handed Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8KOS). Considering the money and the stardom that could be gained from a win, loss, or draw and considering that everyone agrees that Alvarez is a beatable fighter, I think it would be wise to cash-in go for Cotto if he’ll take it. In fact, I think you could make it an all Mexican vs. Puerto Rican card by pitting Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17KOs) against Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23KOs) and Chris Arreola (35-2, 30KOs), who is a Dan Goosen fighter like Paul Williams so there shouldn’t be any conflicts, against Fres Oquendo (34-7, 22KOs) in what would certainly rival the Pay-Per-View buys of any Mayweather or Pacquiao card.

2. Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23KOs)

While a matchup with the slick southpaw from Puerto Rico could be risky and doesn’t present all of the rewards of a Cotto fight, a victory over Quintana, which seems likely considering Quintana’s difficulties in taking clean shots and handling good pressure fighters, should establish Alvarez as a legitimate champion at 154lb while earning him another title and invaluable experience against a crafty southpaw. In addition, the Mexican vs. Puerto Rican theme could also help sell this matchup.

3. Vanes Martirosyan (32-0, 20KOs)

Of the fights available to Alvarez, I think the Martirosyan matchup is the least appealing because he lacks the big name and hasn’t really defeated anyone of quality nor has he shown a willingness to take on anyone of quality with the exception of Alvarez to show that he deserves this opportunity on what could be one of boxing’s biggest nights of 2012. Having said that, he has been calling out Alvarez and he has “earned” his ranking with the WBC as their number one contender. If rankings meant anything to the WBC, Martirosyan would be the one to get this shot.

*If the winner of Cornelius Bundradge (31-4, 18KOs) vs. Cory Spinks (39-6, 11KOs) on June 30th were able and willing to fight, I would love to see him instead of Martirosyan at number three.

Sam Geraci is a sports writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at SGeraci@TheSportsBlitz.com

Top 5 fighters for Floyd Mayweather other than Pacquiao

Floyd MayweatherAfter Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s crowd-pleasing Cinco de Mayo victory over 154lb champion Miguel Cotto, fans and sportswriters have been calling for a clash between Mayweather and Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, the other top pound-for-pound fighter of the world.

The problem with this fight happening, however, is everything. The fighters have yet to come to terms on purse splits, drug testing, location, glove size, and promotional control.

In addition to the disagreements on the logistics of the event, both fighters face serious issues outside of the negotiations of the fight that could delay both of them from taking on a top fighter after June of 2012.

For Mayweather, an 87-day jail sentence for misdemeanor domestic violence awaits on June 1, 2012, and he is still entangled in a defamation lawsuit that Pacquiao filed in response to Mayweather’s allegations that Pacquiao used performance enhancing drugs.

For Pacquiao, his greatest challenge to the Mayweather fight comes in overcoming the hungry and undefeated Timothy Bradley in their June 9, 2012 fight. In addition to the Bradley fight, while not yet facing legal charges, Pacquiao must resolve allegations of tax evasion in his native, Philippines, and, as always, Pacquiao is also facing criticism in the Philippines for his performance as a congressman.

So, if this mega fight doesn’t happen, then what’s left for Mayweather?

Top Five Fighters for Mayweather:

1) Sergio Martinez (160lbs; 49-2-2, KOs 28)
Martinez is clearly the third best fighter in the world, and he hasn’t really lost a fight since 2000. His size, speed, southpaw stance, and dynamic punching power should create Mayweather’s most fan-friendly and challenging fight to date. At 154lbs, a fight between Mayweather and Martinez is the best fight out there (even better than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao).

2) Erislandy Lara (154lbs; 16-1-1, KOs 11)
While Lara is the least known fighter on this list, in two years, he might be known as the best. Lara is an accomplished Cuban amateur whose southpaw stance, height, and reach should create a major challenge for Mayweather. His dominating performance over Paul Williams, which was incorrectly scored a loss, and his draw with Carlos Molina earned him this spot.

3) Winner of Andre Berto (147lbs; 28-1, KOs 22) vs. Victor Oritz (147lbs; 29-3-2, KOs 22) on June 23, 2012
Both of these guys possess big names, big punches, and fast hands that could make for an explosive and entertaining matchup with Mayweather. In addition, the sour taste left after the Mayweather vs. Ortiz fight might warrant a rematch for Ortiz if he can defeat Berto convincingly.

4) Saul Alvarez (154lbs; 40-0-1, KOs 29)
After dominating a faded and oversized Shane Mosley on the Mayweather vs. Cotto undercard, Alvarez has clearly established himself as a crossover pay-per-view star. While Alvarez might be too inexperienced to defeat Mayweather, his larger size, plodding style, thudding punches, and what appears to be a genuine desire to be great might make for a competitive matchup that would be a huge pay-per-view sell. Moreover, another victory over a fighter like James Kirkland while Mayweather is incarcerated would make this matchup and even bigger sell.

5) Paul Williams (154lbs; 41-2, KOs 27)
Before his devastating knockout loss to Sergio Martinez in their second fight, Williams was probably the most avoided fighter in the game, and the fighter most fans wanted to see challenge Mayweather. While Williams might be on the backside of his career after one of the most controversial wins in history over Erislandy Lara, Williams’s history of impressive wins, 6’1″ frame, 79″ reach, toughness, and ability to throw punches for every second of every round earn him a spot on this list.

*Bradley jumps to number two on this list if he defeats Pacquiao.

Sam Geraci is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at SGeraci@TheSportsBlitz.com