The current golden boy of Golden Boy Promotions is actually a redhead, but boxing fans know him as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Fresh off his convincing win over an aged but very game Shane Mosley on Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas, Alvarez is headed back to Sin City on that other (and more significant) Mexican independence holiday, September 16 weekend, to fight Paul “The Punisher” Williams on Sept. 15 at the MGM Grand.
While Alvarez publicly stated after the Mosley fight that he felt ready for either Miguel Cotto or Floyd Mayweather, who also fought May 5, his handlers apparently want to continue to let the 21-year-old light middleweight from Mexico progress at a slower pace.
Alvarez is 40-0-1, but in Williams could face a difficult test in a career of scant few challenging bouts for the star from Jalisco. Williams, 30, is in his prime and has a lot of experience in big fights. Alvarez’s WBC light middleweight championship is on the line in September, and Williams lost a bout for that title on Nov. 20, 2010, when he was knocked out by Sergio Martinez.
Since then, Williams has been looking for a big break, a fight and a victory that will put him back into the highest echelon of fighters in his weight class. Williams has credentials – two fights with Martinez (he won the first meeting), a win over Ronald “Winky” Wright in Vegas in 2009 and a unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito in 2007 at welterweight.
Williams will have advantages in height and reach over Alvarez. Williams is 6-foot-1 with a 79-inch reach, and he’s a southpaw. Alvarez is 5-9 with a 71-inch reach.
There’s a lot of motivation for Williams to pull the upset against Alvarez, who needs to win fights like this to prove he is ready for the likes of Mayweather or Cotto.
Williams’ camp said in reports that the opportunity to face Canelo is something it was looking for. But Williams should be careful of what he wishes for – Alvarez is a buzz saw who dominates fights with strong interior work and has the lunch-pail mentality and fan base to go very far as a professional.
That seems to be why Golden Boy wanted him on a Mexican Independence Day Vegas fight card as the headliner. He’ll draw a huge crowd and the pay-per-view numbers should be strong.
Boxing on Cinco de Mayo and 16 de septiembre is now an American tradition built on Mexican holiday observances.
Another Golden Boy fighter, featherweight Daniel Ponce de Leon, is also coming off a win in Las Vegas during Cinco de Mayo weekend and is reportedly part of the co-main event of the Alvarez-Williams fight. Ponce de Leon earned himself a shot at fellow Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez’s WBC featherweight championship.
Gonzalez has won 11 of his past 12 fights via KO or TKO and has defended his title four times.