Canelo's next opponent? "Saunders was being considered but there are other considerations that we have"
Friday 17 April 2020 13:07, UK
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has held talks about a fight in the UK because the idea of a major stadium main-event is "very attractive to him", according to the president of his promoters Golden Boy.
The acclaimed Mexican has never boxed outside of his home country or the US and has fought classic battles with Floyd Mayweather and Gennadiy Golovkin on Mexico's national holidays but "wants to become a more international star".
"He wants to fight abroad and we have discussed with him fighting in Japan, a homecoming in Mexico, and the UK," Golden Boy president Eric Gomez exclusively told Sky Sports.
"He has considered all of those options and, before he retires, he will fight abroad.
"We were considering the UK. It can happen in the next two years.
"It's about his brand. He wants to become a more international star, not just fighting in the US. He wants to become an even bigger star than he is now. He has fans all over the world and he wants to build on that."
Anthony Joshua's inspiration to fight at New York City's Madison Square Garden was partly due to the atmosphere when he was ringside at that venue to watch Canelo.
But Canelo has also been inspired by Joshua's epic stadium events - the world heavyweight champion has headlined four times at outside stadia including his sensational Wembley win against Wladimir Klitschko.
Asked if Canelo's enthusiasm was to fight at a UK stadium, Gomez said: "Yes it is. That is very attractive to him."
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Canelo was expected to challenge Britain's Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO super-middleweight championship on May 2 in Las Vegas, on Cinco de Mayo, until the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Saunders has since had his licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control for a video posted to social media.
Canelo could still opt for a different opponent in his next fight, Gomez says.
"We never finalised. [Saunders] was being considered but there are other considerations that we have. There is no signed contract.
"It's up in the air. We were very close to finalising details for this fight when [the coronavirus] hit.
"Once we have a clearer picture, we will revisit everything.
"He will be one of the names considered. He is a talented fighter with a great record and he is a champion."
Callum Smith, the undefeated WBA super-middleweight champion, was also in the running for the lucrative opportunity to face Canelo but had seemingly missed out to Saunders.
A trilogy fight with his great rival Golovkin (Canelo won the rematch after a draw in the first meeting) is also an option.
Canelo could still opt to face someone else instead of Saunders. Gomez said: "Possibly. We won't know until we are ready to start business again. It has a lot to do with where the fight will take place and whether we can have fans. We will get down to the nitty gritty when restrictions are lifted."
Asked if Canelo could fight behind closed doors, Gomez said: "We have to consider anything and everything. If we are forced to, we have to consider that. But Canelo is the biggest draw in boxing and many fans get excited to watch him. Any available option, we have to consider it."
Canelo had also been in negotiations to face Ryota Murata in Japan before turning his attention to Saunders.
"There were great sponsors behind it and it was a great business deal," Gomez said about taking Canelo to the Land of the Rising Sun. "Obviously, Murata is one of the top champions at middleweight so that was a consideration as well."
Canelo knocked out Sergey Kovalev in his most recent fight, adding a world light-heavyweight title to his waist. He has won major belts in four divisions but would strengthen his grip over the super-middleweight division by winning Saunders' WBO belt.
He has beaten five Brits already - Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes, Amir Khan, Liam Smith and Rocky Fielding.