Unified middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez on Wednesday announced he will not fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend in September, a time when he usually boxes. However, he will fight for a second time in 2019.
“Canelo will fight again later this year, and we’re working through everything right now,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN.
Gomez shot down rumors that Alvarez was postponing his next date because of his issues with his left knee, which has given him trouble, including during training for the title unification fight he won by unanimous decision against Daniel Jacobs on May 4.
“The knee is not an issue,” Gomez said.
Earlier Wednesday, Golden Boy issued a statement from Alvarez, boxing’s biggest star, saying he would forgo a Sept. 14 fight because of difficulties in finding an acceptable opponent.
“As a Mexican, it’s a responsibility and an honor to represent my country in both May and September,” Alvarez said in a statement. “Those are my dates. However, as a world champion in multiple weight classes, I also have the responsibility of delivering the most exciting and competitive fights possible. That’s why Golden Boy and my team have decided to postpone the date in order to do right by my fans by promoting the best fight possible and with the best opponent possible.”
Alvarez, who also holds a secondary belt in the super middleweight division, is going into the third fight of his 11-fight, five-year, $365 million deal with sports streaming service DAZN, which expected Alvarez to face former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin this fall for the third time.
Golovkin signed a three-year, six-fight, nine-figure deal with DAZN mainly to ensure he would get another crack at Alvarez following two controversial decisions against him — a draw and a loss.
However, though Golovkin wanted the third fight in the fall, Alvarez wasn’t interested. Golden Boy and DAZN have been at a stalemate over that issue.
“We continue to work toward putting together a compelling annual schedule for fight fans,” John Skipper, DAZN’s executive chairman, said as part of a statement to ESPN. “It would be premature to comment on our plans until we finalize the remaining cornerstones of the 2019 calendar.”
DAZN approved only one other opponent — light heavyweight world titlist Sergey Kovalev — for Alvarez’s next fight, and the sides were negotiating. However, Main Events promoter Kathy Duva, who represents Kovalev, told ESPN last week that they were far apart on money and running out of time to make a step-aside deal with Anthony Yarde, Kovalev’s mandatory challenger in a fight that is overdue.
“For weeks, I’ve been concerned that this just wasn’t going to happen in September,” Duva told ESPN’s Steve Kim on Wednesday about a potential Kovalev-Alvarez fight that month. “There were too many issues, too many problems. There just wasn’t enough time.”
Duva said all communication about that potential fight against Alvarez came to a halt last week.
“The numbers were beginning to get realistic,” Duva said. “Then, suddenly, there was no communication. It was all just cut off. Something was wrong.”
Kovalev will go forward with the fight against England’s Yarde on Aug. 24 in his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. Should Kovalev win, he could defend against Alvarez in the fall, when there would be more money for his side because there would not have to be any step-aside payments made to the Yarde camp.
Golovkin also remains without an opponent for the fall and could face Sergiy Derevyanchenko, one of Alvarez’s mandatory opponents. But with a purse bid looming for that bout next week, Alvarez is likely to vacate the IBF belt, which would position Derevyanchenko to face Golovkin, who used to hold that title and is the next fighter in line to fight for it.
The 28-year-old Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) has fought on the weekend of Mexican Independence Day each of the past three years and has fought on that weekend nine times in his professional career.