It is of no secret that Golden Boy Promotions is looking at Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as one of their future stars. Already a huge star in his native Mexico, late last year word leaked that Oscar De La Hoya and his crew were planning somewhat of an American invasion this year for the 20-year welterweight, with Los Angeles and Las Vegas the early locales of choice.
Alvarez was initially slated to appear on a May 7th event at the MGM Grand but would later shift his focus to a March showcase at the Nokia Center in Los Angeles when the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley WBO welterweight championship bout snagged the same date and venue. The two names that were mentioned as opponents for ‘Canelo’ were that of WBA champion Vyacheslav Senchenko and rugged brute Matthew Hatton, known best for being the brother of former junior welterweight champion Ricky.
Senchenko’s name instantly caught my eye because he had made a few headlines due to his association with Freddie Roach and the trainer’s Wild Card Boxing Club. The Ukrainian came to train at the facility last summer for a routine title defense in August and our good buddy Rashad Holloway claims to have taken him to school on more than a few occasions while in sparring.
Senchenko soon became an afterthought, however, when it was reported that he and his people had priced themselves out of a fight with Alvarez, although reports are slightly conflicting. Hatton now appears all but set to fill the void and when assessing his future opposition Alvarez spoke with definite respect.
Newsflash: HBO’s Larry Merchant breaks down Bradley-Alexander
“I know he’s a very strong opponent and has a lot of experience,” Alvarez said in BoxingScene article by Jhonny Gonzalez. “I’ve had the opportunity to see him fight several times and he knows how to move well around the ring. To fight these kind of opponents makes me very happy because you learn a lot from these kind of fighters.”
You can admire that kind of talk from Alvarez, who has shown himself to be wise beyond his years both in and out of the ring. But while Hatton is definitely a willing combatant, the disparity in talent between the two men is striking. If Alvarez comes into the contest focused and primed I can’t help but seeing him breaking down the crude Manchester native for either a late-round stoppage or clear decision.
Last month I talked to HBO analyst Larry Merchant about Alvarez’s future and he seemed to be excited when thinking of the possibilities, even pointing to a possible showdown with Pacquiao later in the year if both men continue winning. While that thinking may be slightly premature you can’t deny that Alvarez is a very complete fighter all the way around.
I am actually reminded of a young Miguel Cotto when I look at Alvarez. He may not have the fastest hands or one-punch power but he wears his opponents down with a slow and debilitating attack while fighting from a calculated stance. It will be fun watching his story unfold in the coming years and his first appearance in Los Angeles should be a raucous affair.
HBO Larry’s Merchant wants Alvarez-Pacquiao in late 2011
Showtime’s Al Bernstein a big believer in Nonito Donaire
Brandon Rios speaks on Donaire-Montiel, Margarito, and more
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com