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Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez: Why he enjoys negotiation leverage over all middleweights

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Life isn't fair, inside or outside the ring.

Although the WBC has ordered middleweight champions Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin to meet by the end of 2016, Canelo vs GGG may not happen this year.

"I think that fight is already one of the biggest fights in boxing," Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, told ESPN Deportes, via BoxingScene.

"For me it's the fight everyone wants to see, but I think that neither Canelo nor Oscar De La Hoya is going to do it this year despite what they WBC says."

Given both fighters are champions, each side justifiably believes it has leverage. However, one team has a lot more than the other.

The fighter dubbed "GGG" is undefeated, has multiple titles and has widely been considered the division's best for well over a year. Moreover, he's orchestrated over 20 straight knockouts.

... But that's not enough.

Canelo is the much bigger draw.... Case closed.

Fact: Revenue for Canelo versus Fighter X would be much greater than for Golovkin stepping in the ring with the same fighter.

Will Canelo be stripped?
The WBC may or may not enforce it's stipulation that Canelo vs GGG should happen this year.

If the organization strips Canelo of the WBC middleweight title for his unwillingness to face GG, it's their choice and would be an admirable move.

However, donning the 'Green Belt' won't give Golovkin leverage over Alvarez.

In boxing, the fighter who is the bigger draw pulls the strings... And its always been that way.

Titles and wins and losses can only be used as leverage when fighters are comparable in popularity and drawing power.

Leonard vs Hagler
Despite coming off a long layoff and never having fought at middleweight, Sugar Ray Leonard dictated nearly all of the negotiations when he faced middleweight legend Marvin Hagler. He chose the date, glove size, ring size and number of rounds (12 vs 15)

Hagler was popular but Ray was the much larger draw.

Tyson vs Holyfield I
For the first Tyson vs Holyfield bout, Mike's team called all of the shots. In fact, Tyson's purse was more than three times Evander's (35 Mil vs 11 Mil). And even after Holyfield knocked out Tyson, their purses for the second bout were comparable as Evander earned $35 Mil and Mike $30 Mil.

Mayweather vs De La Hoya
Even Floyd Mayweather was forced to cede leverage to Oscar De La Hoya when they fought in 2007. Oscar, who lost the fight, earned over twice as much as the unbeaten Mayweather ($52 Mil vs $25 Mil).

Whether Canelo Alvarez would be favored over Gennady Golovkin is mute. And GGG's titles and knockout streak are mute.

Golovkin vs Lemieux sold only 125,000 PPVs while Canelo's fights against Floyd and Cotto generated 2.2 Million and 900,000 buys respectively. Also, even Canelo vs Alfredo Angulo, a fighter with less juice than Lemieux, generated over twice as many buys (350,000) as Golovkin vs Lemieux (150,000).

Is Golovkin the better fighter? Is he the more exciting? 

.... It doesn't matter for now.

In fact, no other middleweight, even Miguel Cotto at this point, has leverage comparable to Canelo's.

Eventually, of course, Alvarez's stock will drop if the masses believe he's avoiding Golovkin. Until then, he'll dictate the particulars for his bouts.

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