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Saul Alvarez: Coming of Age in 2013, with or Without Floyd Mayweather

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COMMENTARY | This is going to be the year that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, 22-year-old entrepreneur and WBC junior middleweight champion, comes of age. No more snide remarks about his level of opposition or cracks about the big, protective bear hug the WBC seems to have forced on him for the last several years. This is the year Canelo truly becomes his own man and a legitimate world champion.

Or, at least, that's the plan.

Really, the plan was supposed to kick off last year with Canelo's first major show scheduled in September against what was being billed as his first major opponent. Paul Williams was pegged for the opponent slot, but a tragic motorcycle accident would end the career of "The Punisher." Next, James Kirkland walked away from the proposed bout after a money dispute led to him remembering that his shoulder was still injured. Victor Ortiz was brought in next, only to be upset by underdog Josesito Lopez in a jaw-breaking RTD 9 defeat.

Alvarez would then go on to crush the undersized Lopez in five easy rounds and all was just as it had been before September. Canelo's coming out party would have to wait until 2013.

The new year would bring a new plan. Alvarez would fight Miguel Cotto in the first half of 2013.

Cotto not only has a world class reputation behind him, but also a solid and loyal Puerto Rican fan base that helps beef up live gate numbers and PPV sales. Cotto would be the perfect opponent for a Canelo eager to earn his chops-- Except, the Puerto Rican three-division world champ couldn't beat WBA 154 lb. titlist Austin Trout in December.

Once again, all of Alvarez's plans would have to be scrapped.

Faced with the tricky and dangerous Trout as an opponent, but still looking ahead to bigger and better things, Canelo and his crew decided that they would play chief support to Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero on May 4. According to Team Alvarez, this was all under the condition that a September 14 showdown with Mayweather would be signed and sealed before the publicity tour for the May pay-per-view.

Mayweather, however, wouldn't commit to an Alvarez bout in writing and Alvarez would opt to remove himself from the Cinco de Mayo card in favor of an April 20 headliner gig vs. Trout at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

So, that's the tangled web of destiny that has taken the young champion to this point in time. Nothing has really gone according to plan, but the young star, who owned and managed his own stable of fighters before he could even legally drink a beer, is not your typical 22-year-old.

Alvarez plans on becoming a superstar without a Floyd Mayweather piggyback.

"I have no need for Mayweather to impose conditions," Alvarez recently told the media. "I can have my own fans, my own event and my own history. I'm tired of being accessible to fight him, since he never was real in what he was talking. The truth is he does not want to fight me. I will continue doing my own history."

Alvarez's plans for 2013, according to Golden Boy Director of Public Relations, Ramiro Gonzalez, is to headline the April show at the Alamodome and then move on to a September 14 pay-per-view, regardless of whether Mayweather also plans to fight that day or not. Early candidates for the opponent slot on the PPV are Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto, and Alfredo Angulo.

"Floyd Mayweather Jr. wouldn't agree to fight Canelo Alvarez on September 14," Gonzalez said during a recent teleconference. "But Golden Boy Promotions respects the date as Saul's. The historic event will be the first pay-per-view of his professional career."

But despite the harsh words and obvious ill will, one gets the feeling that all would be forgiven if Mayweather would come back to the table with a signed contract and the promise of an eight-figure payday for the red-headed world champ.

It's clear, though, that Alvarez doesn't seem to think that he needs Mayweather in order to break through to the next level of stardom anymore. He may be right.

Continued victories against legitimate opposition will take him to the portal of super-stardom; The millions upon millions of Mexican and Mexican-American fight fans could very well push him through.


Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.

Sources: Doghouse Boxing, ESPN Deportes

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