Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
“Some really good fighters are available to fight Canelo in September and that’s what we are working on now”
Last Updated: 09/07/20 10:06pm
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez “wants to fight the best” and British pair Callum Smith and John Ryder each have a “very good chance” of getting the opportunity to face him, says Golden Boy president Eric Gomez.
The Mexican superstar is considering opponents for September 14 in Las Vegas at a behind-closed-doors venue and “wants the top guys that are available”.
Billy Joe Saunders, who holds the WBO super-middleweight title, withdrew from the running citing a lack of preparation time and Gomez reacted: “Some champions are not available.”
But asked about whether Canelo could face a Brit in Smith or Ryder, promoter Gomez exclusively told Sky Sports: “There is a very good chance. There are a couple of guys we are looking at as a possibility.”
Smith is the unbeaten WBA super-middleweight champion who narrowly beat Ryder last year.
But Gomez acknowledged that a US-based opponent would be “easier”, adding: “We don’t have to deal with any visa restrictions that have been imposed by the government. If there is someone already here in the US? That helps.
“It is more difficult now because of the restrictions. The borders are not all open so it isn’t easy to bring some fighters to the US.
“It all depends on the negotiations. We are not living in the world that we lived in last year. Canelo will be taking a significant pay-cut.
“It depends on the negotiations.
“Anybody willing to come to the table and be reasonable, he will fight.
“We are not discarding any of the top guys.”
Sergiy Derevyanchenko and David Lemieux, both ex-opponents of Gennadiy Golovkin, are also options for Canelo’s next fight.
“The top-ranked guys and a few champions that are out there,” is how Gomez described the short-list of possibilities.
He added: “If you look at Canelo’s career, he has always wanted to fight the best and it’s no different here, he still wants to fight the best.
“But some really good fighters are available to fight Canelo in September and that’s what we are working on now.
“We’re talking to him and presenting different ideas for him to be able to fight in September.
“The big concern that he has is the protocols. If he fights in September, there will be no fans. We are in communication with him and soon he will make a decision – does he want to fight without fans or wait until there is some sort of normalcy again?
“Canelo is a young man in his prime years and he wants to take advantage of the fact that he can still fight at a high level. To take a year off would be very damaging in his prime. That is the motivation.
“He wants to keep proving that he is the best fighter in the world.”
After Saunders withdrew himself, Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher told Sky Sports: “It’s supposed to have been a two-horse race, wasn’t it? Now he’s pulling himself out of it, Canelo has got no excuse now, but to fight Callum Smith.
“If that date and opportunity is put to Callum Smith, he’s ready to go.”
Ryder told Sky Sports: “There’s a few names in the hat. Hopefully my name is at the top and it gets picked out.
“Listen, he’s looking for an opponent, and I know the money is not there for these big shows. It’s a chance in a lifetime, I’m up for it.”
Ryder’s trainer Tony Sims told Sky Sports: “I know that Canelo and Eddy Reynoso, his trainer, watched the Callum Smith-John Ryder fight and Eddy Reynoso tweeted straight afterwards that he had John winning the fight by a few rounds.
“He actually put out there that John should be the world champion, so they know all about John Ryder anyway.
“Canelo is obviously the world’s best. I believe he’s the world’s best pound-for-pound, especially at the minute. He’s a great fighter.”
Canelo has held major belts in four divisions, most recently knocking out WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.