The official announcement of Canelo Alvarez's fight Dec. 6 had not even happened, and now the fight is already off. Alvarez will be sidelined for about six weeks due to a persistent left ankle injury, Golden Boy Promotions announced Monday night.
On Sept. 29, Alvarez, Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya and HBO Sports president Ken Hershman gathered in Los Angles and announced with fanfare that the network had signed the 24-year-old Mexican superstar to an exclusive, long-term contract -- taking him away from rival Showtime in the process.
The first bout of the agreement was supposed to take place Dec. 6 against former welterweight titleholder Joshua Clottey (38-4, 22 KOs) at Minute Maid Park in Houston, with the bout to air on regular HBO, a significant part of the agreement given that Alvarez's past three fights had been on pay-per-view.
Official announcement of the bout was expected this week.
According to De La Hoya, Alvarez's ankle had been giving him problems since before he faced Alfredo Angulo in March. The ankle began to bother him much more two weeks before he faced Erislandy Lara in his latest fight July 12, but despite the discomfort, he went through with the fight and won by split decision.
Alvarez's ankle acted up again this past week when he was on a six-mile run. The ankle hurt so badly and was so swollen he had to stop in the middle of the workout.
"I just spoke to Canelo, and he said, 'Look, my ankle has been bothering me since the Lara fight, way before the training camp started,' and then he said, 'I just have to get this taken care of. I'd rather do it now because 2015 is going to be huge for me,'" De La Hoya said.
De La Hoya added Alvarez had begun to train a few weeks ago for the December fight, and though the ankle was bothering him, he tried to "tough it out, but he can't bounce on it. He can't run the five or six miles a day he usually does. So he made the decision to take care of it. He finally got it looked at by the doctor, and the good news is that there is nothing broken, nothing torn. He has, like, a muscle strain."
De La Hoya said the doctor recommended he stay off his ankle for about six weeks and go through physical therapy to strengthen it.
"We never officially announced the Dec. 6 fight, and now we have to regroup in the next few days or the next few weeks and see what we're going to do, but we will pursue what Canelo has wanted, and that is to fight on Cinco de Mayo [weekend]."
De La Hoya said he thinks that with Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) done for 2014, his next fight will be May 2, the Saturday before Cinco de Mayo, which is a traditional weekend for a major Mexican fight.
The December fight was always viewed as a stay-busy fight before a possible, mega HBO PPV showdown with middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto, who initially was going to fight Dec. 13 but announced several few weeks ago that he would not fight again until 2015.
"Going right to a Cotto fight is a big possibility," De La Hoya said. "I will be talking to Canelo and his management team in the next couple of days to see what they want to pursue. This is a minor setback. I am more than positive Canelo will have the opportunity to fight live on HBO, even if it's not next. But I hear in Canelo's voice the enthusiasm about fighting on Cinco de Mayo weekend."
Alvarez had been blocked from that date, as well as the major Mexican holiday in September, on Showtime because those are the dates pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been fighting, even when he has not faced a Mexican opponent. Alvarez fought on the September date this past year when he lost a junior middleweight unification fight to Mayweather in the highest grossing fight in boxing history.