It's been more than a week since WBC junior middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez of Mexico tweeted that his May 4 opponent would be WBA 154-pound counterpart Austin "No Doubt" Trout of Las Cruces. And though there was no official confirmation from Canelo's Golden Boy Promotions, there was no reason to question whether Alvarez vs. Trout would become a reality.
It features two young, undefeated titlists (Alvarez is 41-0-1 with 30 knockouts; Trout is 26-0, 14 KOs) with contrasting boxer-puncher styles and a compelling backstory: Trout beat Canelo's brother, Rigoberto, to win his title two years ago. The matchup makes perfect sense, especially since Alvarez needs a worthy opponent to catapult him into an anticipated September superfight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
However, eight days later -- and even after Golden Boy announced Mayweather would be fighting Robert Guerrero in a fight that would headline the May 4 card -- Trout is still waiting for official word from Canelo. Which makes some boxing people wonder whether Golden Boy is looking for yet another hand-picked opponent to pad the record of a fighter who has been expertly promoted and superbly protected over the last two years.
Trout trainer Louie Burke first heard reports of an Alvarez-Trout fight three weeks ago.
It's been a frustrating waiting game since then.
"I wish Golden Boy would make up their mind and put this thing to bed so we can start getting ready," said Burke, the architect of Trout's breakout December upset victory over Miguel Cotto at New York's Madison Square Garden. "There are a lot of excited people in El Paso and Las Cruces, and a lot of people going to the event if it happens. But, I have to tell them all the same thing: there has been no confirmation from Golden Boy. My understanding is that Canelo jumped the gun on it. It could be possible that there are other opponents being considered."
Those other opponents are reportedly Mexican power puncher Alfredo Angulo and his former conqueror, knockout artist James Kirkland of Austin. After being knocked out by Kirkland in November 2011, and then detained for seven months because of visa issues, Angulo has gone 2-0 (2 knockouts) against meek opposition. Kirkland has fought once since his upset of Angulo and it wasn't pretty. He barely got by pesky Carlos Molina on a DQ.
That was almost a year ago.
Clearly, neither Angulo nor Kirkland carry the clout of Trout, who overcame long odds and established himself as one of boxing's future stars with the Cotto victory. He would easily be Canelo's most accomplished and skilled opponent.
Golden Boy's strategy with Canelo has been one of least resistance. They have capitalized on his red-headed looks and enormous popularity in Mexico, while pitting him against so-so competition. Between Canelo and lightweight Adrien Broner, Golden Boy has redefined the art of matchmaking-to-avoid-losing. Canelo and Broner are both world champions and two of the hottest fighters in boxing. Yet, neither has fought anyone capable of actually beating them.
Sure, Canelo has bested Cotto and Hatton, just not that Cotto and Hatton. He outlasted Cotto's brother Jose in May 2010 (TKO 9), and Hatton's brother, Matthew, in March 2011 (W 12). Other than a May 2012 decision over a fighter 20 years older than himself (Shane Mosley), Alvarez's résumé is pretty nondescript.
Like Burke, the boxing world is frustrated. It's more than time for Canelo to step up to the plate and prove himself. And it's time for his promoter to stop coddling him and finally see if their thoroughbred is worth the hype.
Matthew Aguilar may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org