• Middleweight

Alvarez schedules three fights in 2014

Dan Rafael
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Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. last month © AP
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Former unified junior middleweight champion Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, aiming to put his lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. behind him, has told ESPN that he will fight three times in 2014.

"I'm very happy. I'm 'resting' but I go to the gym regularly and I am always training. I am very happy to be getting back in the ring," Alvarez said through a translator.

Alvarez met on Monday with Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer at the company offices in Los Angeles to go over the plan for next year.

"We locked in three dates with the pay-per-view industry," Schaefer said, naming March 8, July 26 and November 22 as the dates on which Alvarez will fight. "Canelo said he is excited to fight three times next year. He said he doesn't want any vacation, just to fight and work hard."

Alvarez added: "I came to Golden Boy and told them I want three fights next year. We talked about a lot of different things and we agreed on three dates. I wanted to have the dates set up and start working. I want to have three fights next year and I will work hard preparing for all of them."

The first thing Schaefer said he is working on is locking in a venue and an opponent for March 8. He named three potential locations, all places where Alvarez, Mexico's most popular active fighter, has drawn well: Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Antonio.

Schaefer also named three potential opponents, although tough negotiations would have to take place with all of them, especially because Golden Boy does not promote them: middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, former junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto and junior middleweight titlist Carlos Molina, who claimed his belt on the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard on September 14.

"We have different names in mind," Schaefer said. "Those are three of them. We are looking at different opponents. I'd anticipate in the next few weeks we will have an opponent locked in. We want to make the biggest possible fights."

Alvarez, 23, lost a majority decision - although most viewed the fight as one-sided - to Mayweather at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last month in the richest fight in boxing history.

Because of Alvarez's popularity with Latino fans, he was hugely responsible for the event's success. It sold 2.2 million pay-per-view buys, the second-most in history, but raked in a record $150 million in domestic pay-per-view revenue. Both figures could grow by the time a full accounting of the event is complete. Among other records the fight set was for the biggest live gate in boxing history, generating $20,003,150 from the sold-out crowd of 16,146.

That's why, despite the one-sided defeat, Schaefer has no qualms about putting Alvarez back on pay-per-view.

"I have zero doubt that next to Floyd Mayweather, Canelo is the biggest name in the sport from a draw point of view," Schaefer said. "To see Canelo committing to three fights next year is exciting to me as a promoter and as a boxing fan. He wanted to set his schedule. We know he brings a lot to the table."

Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) said he did not have a preference on the opponent but was happy to move on from his disappointing performance against Mayweather.

"It bothers me that he won that fight, but my career has a lot of future still. I still want to be one of the best in the world and I need to fight a lot next year," Alvarez said. "The Mayweather fight is behind me."

As for the potential opponent, Alvarez said, "I have no preference. All three of the opponents [Schaefer named] are good opponents. We will be discussing who we will fight on March 8 and hope to announce it in two or three weeks.

"For me, my career is most important. I have a big career still ahead. I want to leave a legacy. That is more important than the money. First my legacy and then everything else is extra for me."

Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), of Argentina, is recovering from knee surgery and likely would not be ready for a March fight, but Schaefer said he plans to talk to his promoter, Lou DiBella, to gauge their interest. The specific weight also would be an issue, as Alvarez fights at 154 pounds and Martinez at 160, meaning Alvarez might seek a catch weight if the fight is possible.

"Canelo is going to fight three times next year, so if Sergio can't be ready for March, there are still two other dates for the fight," Schaefer said.

Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), who has a good relationship with Golden Boy, is a free agent and has gone back and forth between rivals Golden Boy and Top Rank for his past few fights. However, he has said he wanted to continue working with Top Rank.

Schaefer said he has already talked to Cotto attorney Gaby Penagaricano, and said he would meet with him and Cotto "in the near future," adding that if he made a deal with Cotto, Top Rank could not be involved.

"We all know how huge a Canelo-Cotto fight would be, Mexico versus Puerto Rico, two great fighters, two popular fighters," Schaefer said. "That's the beauty of Miguel being a free agent. He can pick the best deal for himself."

In the wake of Cotto's resounding third-round knockout of Delvin Rodriguez on October 5, he and Top Rank have talked about the possibility of his moving up to middleweight to challenge Martinez in June on National Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend in New York. Cotto is interested because he would have a chance to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win a world title in four weight classes. But a fight with Alvarez probably would generate more money.

Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs), of Chicago, is the easiest fight to make, but also the smallest in terms of popular appeal. However, it would give Alvarez a chance to win another world title. Molina is promoted by Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, but Showtime, who work with Golden Boy and would put on the pay-per-view, have an option on his next fight based on his victory against Ishe Smith to win the 154-pound belt on September 14.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com
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