By Sean Jones: Errol Spence Jr. says he would move up to 160 to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in his next fight if the match is offered to him after his title defense this Saturday night against Lamont Peterson.
Spence points out that Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KOs) is not that big of a fighter, so he doesn’t see the size being a problem for him to move up to middleweight to face him. Canelo is listed at 5’9”, but he’s probably no more than 5’8”. He’s very short for the middleweight division.
Canelo is expected to face IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) in a rematch on May 5. If Canelo wins that fight, Spence says he’d like to fight him. Indeed, Spence thinks Canelo WILL win against Triple G in their second fight, as long as he doesn’t tank in the last half of the fight like he did in their super-fight on September 16 last year. Spence is predicting a win for Canelo over GGG. Spence is basing his predicting on Canelo NOT fading in the last 6 rounds against Golovkin.
“I could do that,” said Spence to IFL TV, when asked if he would be willing to move up to middleweight to take on Canelo Alvarez. ”Canelo’s not a big guy. He’s probably about your size. He’s not that big,” said Spence.
Well, it would be up to Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy if they’d be interested in making a fight against the 27-year-old Spence. The weight difference wouldn’t be an issue, as Spence rehydrates to the low 170s for his fights at welterweight. Spence is basically a junior middleweight that melts down to fight at 147 against welterweights.
Until recently, Canelo was thought to be rehydrating to 175 for his fights at middleweight. But against Golovkin, Canelo looked like he was in the low 180s, possibly 185. Canelo doesn’t have his weight checked by HBO Boxing on the night of his fights, so it’s impossible to tell for sure how much he weighed for his fight against Golovkin last September. All we know is Canelo looked heavier than Golovkin, and he gassed out badly after round 3. Carrying all that extra weight really hurt Canelo in that fight. Canelo will likely choose to be heavy for the rematch with Triple G, because he wasn’t run over by him in their previous fight. That might be the biggest fear that Canelo has.
Golovkin can use his natural size and power advantage to crush Canelo if he doesn’t bulk up once again. But even if Canelo does bulk up, he’s likely to gas out after 3 rounds, and be forced to run from Triple G like he did last time from rounds 4 to 10. Canelo appeared to lose all those rounds, as well as the 2nd and the 11th. I had Golovkin winning 9 rounds to 3. Canelo gassed too badly to deserve a win.
”I think so,” said Spence in commenting on whether he thinks Canelo will be Golovkin in their rematch. ”He looked like he got tired in that fight with Triple G. He got tired in the 6th or 7th round. If he [Canelo] stays sharp in the second half of the fight, he could beat him [Golovkin]. I like Canelo,” said Spence in predicting that Canelo will beat Golovkin in the rematch if he doesn’t gas out in the last 6 rounds.
There are too many ifs involved in Spence’s prediction of Canelo beating Golovkin. If Canelo doesn’t gas out, he’ll have a good chance of beating Golovkin. If Canelo can stand and fight Golovkin for 12 rounds instead of running, then he might win. It’s up to Canelo to prove that he can stand and fight Golovkin next time. I don’t think he can.
As far as Canelo facing Spence in 2018, I think it’s unlikely to happen. Golden Boy is going to look to make a third fight between Canelo and Golovkin in September. Since Canelo only fights 2 times per year, he’ll only be fighting GGG in 2018. In 2019, Canelo vs. Spence is possible if Golden Boy doesn’t go after WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders if he’s still champion by then. There are a lot of tough fights for Canelo in the middleweight division. Golden Boy might like the idea of matching against a welterweight like Spence, because he’s not as big as some of the guys like Jermall Charlo, Saunders, Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Those are tough, rugged middleweights with decent size and excellent punching power.
Saunders, 5’11”, isn’t a big puncher, but he’s big a very good boxer, who is hard to pin down. Saunders would be a potentially frustrating fight for Canelo. It might prove to be a mistake for Golden Boy Promotions if they try matching Canelo against Saunders. I wouldn’t make that move if I was one of the Golden Boy top brass. There’s very little upset for Canelo in fighting Saunders, and a lot of downside to that fight. Canelo could either lose or look bad in winning. Either way, it’s not a good deal for Canelo. He’s better off fighting guys that he can crush with his size or befuddle with his boxing skills. There aren’t many of the top fighters at 160 that Canelo can do that to. I think Canelo can beat Ryota Murata, but that’s the only easy mark for Canelo as far as top fighters in the middleweight division. It might be a smart move by Golden Boy to match Canelo against Spence if they can make that fight in 2018 or 2019.
Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) will be making his first title defense of his IBF welterweight strap this Saturday night on January 20 against challenger Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The fight will be televised on Showtime Boxing. This is an important bout for Spence, who is being built up as the next star for the 147-lb. division. Spence has nothing on his plate scheduled for after the Peterson fight this year. If Canelo and Golden Boy want to face Spence on May 5 or in September, they can put that fight together. It’s better now for Canelo to fight Spence than it will be later after he bulks up to make his move to 154 and 160.