By Sean Jones: The World Boxing Organization has pushed Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to the No.1 spot for their middleweight rankings for November. With the new ranking, the 27-year-old Canelo is now poised to challenge the winner of the Billy Joe Saunders vs. David Lemieux fight, which takes place next month on December 16.
Saunders will be defending his WBO 160 lb. title against his mandatory challenger Lemieux.
This was likely Golden Boy’s plan all along to get Canelo the fight against the Saunders-Lemieux winner. It never seemed probable that Canelo would take the immediate rematch with Golovkin.
The way that Canelo struggled against Golovkin in their fight last September, he clearly needs to go in another direction rather than jump straight into a second fight against Triple G. The rematch would be just like the first fight, but more one-sided with Golovkin pressuring Canelo even more, and outworking him for 3 minutes of each round.
It doesn’t matter that Saunders will have gotten his second WBO ordered mandatory defense out of the way by fighting Lemieux. Saunders would still likely go for the idea of fighting Canelo Alvarez if he beats Lemieux. The WBO recently ordered Saunders to make back to back mandatory defenses of his 160 lb. title due to his inactivity since winning the belt in 2015.
Saunders got one of those mandatories out of the way in his last fight against Willie Monroe. Saunders is now getting the second mandatory out of the way against David Lemieux on December 16. The winner of the Saunders vs. Lemieux fight will happily fight Canelo Alvarez as a voluntary defense on May 5, due to the huge amount of money that can be made off of that fight on HBO pay-per-view.
Last month in October, Canelo wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the top 15 in the WBO’s rankings at 160. Now all of a sudden, Canelo (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has been pushed all the way to the No1 spot by the WBO at middleweight. That obviously isn’t an accident. The WBO is clearly putting Canelo in position to fight the winner of the Saunders vs. Lemieux fight.
The top ranking that Canelo now has with the WBO at middleweight, it gives Golden Boy Promotions every excuse they need to match the red-headed star against the winner of the December 16th Saunders-Lemieux fight, if that’s something that they’re interested in doing.
If Golden Boy matches Canelo against the Saunders vs. Lemieux fight, then it would take place on Cinco de Mayo on May 5 next year. In turn, IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin would need to wait until September 2018 for him to get his rematch with Canelo.
Fighting the Lemieux-Saunders winner would allow Canelo to get a confidence booster, an easy payday, and the WBO title that he can use to negotiate an even sweeter deal for the Golovkin rematch in September of next year.
If Canelo fights the winner of the Saunders-Lemieux fight on May 5, then the World Boxing Council might turn around and order Golovkin to face his WBC mandatory challenger Jermall Charlo in the meantime. The only reason the WBC is waiting on ordering the Golovkin-Charlo fight is because they wanted to keep out of the way of the Canelo vs. GGG rematch on May 5. There won’t be any reason for the WBC to hold off making the Golovkin vs. Charlo fight if Canelo goes in a different direction by fighting Lemieux or Saunders next.