Junior middleweight world titleholder Canelo Alvarez said on Tuesday that he will campaign as a full-fledged 160-pound middleweight following his showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Alvarez’s comments came during a teleconference with boxing reporters to discuss his showdown with Mexican rival Chavez on May 6 (HBO PPV) — Cinco de Mayo weekend — at the sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez’s declaration should further fuel speculation that he will at long last face three-belt unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) on Sept. 16 in one of the biggest fights boxing has to offer.
It is no secret that even with the Chavez fight at hand that his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, has been in talks with K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s representative, as they try to put together the fight for this fall.
Of course, Alvarez would first have to get past Chavez, whom he will meet at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds to accommodate the bigger Chavez, who has been fighting between 167 and 172 pounds since leaving the middleweight division in 2013.
“Look, I’m not a current world champion at middleweight. I have been in the past, but I’m not now,” Alvarez said through a translator. “And as far as the weight, after this fight, I’m not looking past this fight. I’m focused 100 percent on this fight, but I’m now staying at middleweight. I’ll stay at 160 pounds.”
Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) won the middleweight world title from Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto by decision in November 2015, but faced him at a contract weight of 155 pounds, one over the junior middleweight limit and five below the 160-pound middleweight maximum.
Alvarez’s lone middleweight title defense was also contracted at 155 pounds when he spectacularly knocked out Amir Khan, a welterweight moving up in weight, in the sixth round last May.
In fact, Alvarez has regularly boxed at 154 or 155 pounds and he and his team said he would have to grow into a full-fledged 160-pounder before facing Golovkin.
After the Khan fight, Alvarez vacated his middleweight world title, returned to junior middleweight in September and knocked out England’s Liam Smith in the ninth round to win another 154-pound belt. Alvarez likely will vacate that belt soon given that he won’t defend it against Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs) and then said he will fight at 160 pounds.
Alvarez said he did not view the fight with the bigger Chavez as any kind of preparation for an eventual fight with Golovkin.
“No, not at all,” Alvarez said. “This is just another fight and it’s a very important fight for me, and I’m not focusing on any other fighter but the fight that I have in front of me.”