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What's Next for Canelo Alvarez? Top Opponents and Options

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Following the first loss of his career, what's next for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez? The 23-year-old Mexican superstar is certainly still an attraction, and there's no shame in losing to, or even being entirely outclassed by, Floyd Mayweather - he's made a career of doing it to top fighters.

If anything, this loss should serve as a learning experience for Canelo Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs), a firsthand lesson from the sport's preeminent master. At his age, and with his talent, size and charisma, there's surely a career's worth of big fights ahead of him. And surely, any Canelo fight will be big business, but what, and who, are his top potential options and opponents right now?

1. Miguel Cotto

Miguel Cotto is set to face Delvin Rodriguez in October. It's a good match, but one that he should be favored to win, particularly if he has plans of pursuing another run to the top of the division. A Canelo vs. Cotto fight has always been an attractive option, but it was scuttled when Austin Trout defeated Cotto in December 2012. With each man in need of a big win, this fight is a no-brainer now though. Fans will gobble it up, and the winner is right back at the top of the Junior Middleweight scene.

2. Carlos Molina

Carlos Molina picked up a title with an ugly win over Ishe Smith on the Mayweather vs. Canelo undercard. It was a long-awaited opportunity for Molina, and while his team may relish the idea of a few soft touches as title defenses, no other fight would bring him near the money as a Canelo fight would. For Canelo, it's an immediate chance to pick up another title strap.

3. Jesus Soto-Karass

Soto-Karass is always up for a rumble against a favored fighter. While he has looked at his best at Welterweight as of late, if Canelo Alvarez comes calling, you pick up the phone. This is a fan's fight, it would be a barn-burner for as long as it lasted, and Soto-Karass is a more than reasonable match-up for a comebacking Canelo.

4. Cornelius Bundrage

" K9" Bundrage is a solid enough opponent that nobody would blink an eye at Canelo choosing him as an opponent following a defeat. He recently held the IBF Junior Middleweight strap before losing it to Smith, who lost it to Molina (above). At the same time, Canelo would be expected to storm past Bundrage. This is the route to go if Team Canelo is focused first and foremost on rebuilding the youngster's confidence and mojo without taking on an absolute no-hoper.

5. Vanes Matrirosyan

Whether Martirosyan wins or loses against Demetrius Andrade, he's a smart option. If he wins, all the better, as he'd have a title strap around his waist, and he'd jump up higher on this list as a result. Even if not though, he's a tough guy and he'd make for a good scrap, but he's certainly there to be hit, an ideal trait for Canelo, and a trait Martirosyan shares with much of the rest of this list as well. On the other hand, Team Canelo would be wise to avoid the slick, lanky Andrade, who has "trouble" stamped all over his forehead as for as Canelo is concerned.

Jake Emen runs the boxing news website, where you can find breaking news stories, interviews, rankings and more. You can also follow Jake and on Twitter,@ProBoxingFans.

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