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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

(Photo © German Villasenor)
(Photo © German Villasenor)

Eventually, Golden Boy Promotions will find someone to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 15th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We know this much; it won’t be Victor Ortiz after his latest Staples Center implosion at the determined hands of Josesito Lopez (who obviously didn’t read the script coming into this past weekend). So it’s gone from Paul Williams to James Kirkland to Ortiz to who-the-hell-knows. But this much is clear; Golden Boy and Showtime are not moving off that date; Top Rank and HBO be damned.
Stephen Espinoza, head of Showtime Sports, said on Saturday night in the aftermath of Lopez’s stunning upset, “We’ll definitely go on with an event, possibility that it could be pay-per-view; most likely it will be either Showtime or possibly free TV.”
And by “free TV,” does that mean CBS, which is under the same corporate umbrella as Showtime?
"Yes, that’s one of the possibilities,” he confirmed to Maxboxing.

The question is, who will get this golden ticket? At the post-fight press conference, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer addressed the media, “I’m going to tell you what I know for sure and then I’m going to tell you what I’m going to be working on. What I know for sure is that ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is the superstar in Mexico. What I know for sure is that ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will be fighting September 15th from the MGM. What we are going to be doing now, next week, is, with the matchmakers and with ‘Canelo’s’ team, we are going to be evaluating different options. Oscar [De la Hoya], [GBP matchmaker] Eric [Gomez], ‘Canelo’ and me, we spoke a bit tonight and we’re looking at three possible names. Obviously, it wouldn’t be prudent for me to name those three names now because I’d like to negotiate with them first before we announce anything and, of course, I want to discuss it with ‘Canelo’s’ team.
“Now what we believe, what Golden Boy believes, we don’t want to do pay-per-views which are not pay-per-view worthy. Because that is taking advantage of the fight fans; that I can promise you we will not do. But having said that, if one of those opponents we’re thinking about can in fact come true, it will be on pay-per-view and it will be a very big pay-per-view. Now if that doesn’t happen, we’re looking at two other options and those fights will be live on Showtime or- hold on to your seats now because it’s true what I’m going to tell on C-B-S,” said Schaefer, who went all Brent Musburger with the assembled media when pulling out his trump card. “‘Canelo’ is the star in Mexico; his fights are on the number one network, Televisa. So how fitting would it be for the biggest star in Mexico, ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to bring back on network TV on September 15th. So we’re going to have some exciting news in the coming days.”
OK, sorting this all out, you’d have to think that the one pay-per-view option Schaefer was referring to was Miguel Cotto, who put up a good fight against Floyd Mayweather in May and is a legitimate attraction. But sources indicate that Cotto, who just earned a career-high payday, isn’t really keen on fighting so soon or acting as the B-side of the equation on another Golden Boy card. The chances of him accepting the fight are slim.
The other options include the likes of Austin Trout, who has a major belt around his waist (the WBA) that Alvarez covets so much, comes at a relatively cheap price and, just as importantly, is advised by the influential Al Haymon. Perhaps James Kirkland will be revisited but he can’t seem to decide if he’s coming or going. Carlos Quintana, while a solid pro who’s coming off a KO victory of Deandre Latimore, is a beige spot on a beige wall. As for Erislandy Lara? C’mon, you know they won’t let the talented Cuban get within 50 feet of Alvarez. Fuggedaboutit.
Regardless, somebody- anybody- willing to make 154 pounds will be tabbed to face Alvarez on the same day that Top Rank will be staging its pay-per-view card featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. facing Sergio Martinez down the street at the Thomas and Mack Center. Yeah, the Golden Boy-Top Rank rivalry is now officially boxing’s version of “Spy vs. Spy,” where you have one sabotage after another. The fighters here are seemingly just mere pawns in this rather twisted chess game now fully involving networks and their corporate entities. But Alvarez is a fighter; he’s just itching to get in there again. “I’ll be ready for September 15th; they’re talking about a few opponents. There’s a few ideas out there,” he said at the post-fight press conference through Eric Gomez, who translated for him. “But I’m going to be ready to fight and we’ll know shortly.”
Getting an opponent for him on this date has been akin to the “Madden Curse” (where NFL players who make the cover of this video game seem jinxed the following year in some way) but Alvarez seems unfazed by the constant shuffling. “No, not at all,” he answered, when asked if this process was frustrating. Schaefer then chimed in, “The good thing is he always wants to fight the biggest names available. I mean, if [Floyd] Mayweather was available, he’d fight Mayweather September 15th.”
To which Alvarez pointed out, “Mayweather’s on vacation,” but made it clear, “I’ll fight anybody.”
And it will be on September 15th, come hell or high water.
So is there a chance that boxing is brought back to CBS on this date with “Canelo” Alvarez? It certainly is an intriguing question but there are some logistical concerns regarding scheduling. Will CBS air a prime-time SEC game (Florida and Tennessee are playing that day but no time has been set for that contest)? And if “Canelo” versus TBA is on prime-time on the East Coast, it’s likely that it would have to be off the air by 11 p.m. for the news. Pay-per-view main events don’t start till about 10-to-15 minutes after 11 p.m., Eastern time.
But hey, there are no rules here. All’s fair in love and the “Cold War.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard quite the venom and anger that was directed at Ortiz as he left the ring to go back to his dressing quarters after his loss to Lopez. The very same fans who cheered for him the previous 45 minutes were now an angry mob when he decided not to fight on with a broken jaw and not satisfy the bloodthirst of the largely Mexican partisans. Yeah, his pass was revoked by the masses on this night.
Honestly, it’s easy to say he should’ve kept going. Then again, it’s not our jaws that were fractured either. And yes, while men like Muhammad Ali fought on with similar disadvantages, is it really fair to compare mere mortals to boxing gods? (Admittedly, I was guilty of making this comparison myself on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the fight on Saturday night on press row.) Being a boxer means having a requisite amount of toughness, the problem many have with Ortiz is that, by boxers’ standards, he’s a little bit too rational. Fans expect fighters to make decisions they themselves would never make. It’s why many worship them when they do. But when they don’t, they will forever get derided.
Perhaps it wasn’t really the condition of his jaw that was Ortiz’s problem but his past (when he waved off his fight with Marcos Maidana- in the very same building- and the farcical circumstances of his aborted bout with Mayweather) that was held against him. His history simply wasn’t going to allow him to get the benefit of the doubt from the masses.
Now I’m hearing from many fans that they never want to see Ortiz ever again. Honestly- and I know I’m in the minority- but I find him to be very entertaining. Yeah, I said it: entertaining. When he fights, something happens. You see the good, the bad and the ugly. He’s boxing version of a train wreck; you simply can’t turn away. Tell me you won’t remember his last three outings against Andre Berto, Mayweather and now Lopez. To me, he’s like that episode of “Three’s Company.” You kinda know the plot and how it’s going to turn out but you’re thoroughly amused by it anyways.
That’s Victor Ortiz.
And forget about his rough background (yeah, that story has been told ad nauseam) but this is a slightly off-center, goofy kid who can literally win or lose against anyone in the world on any given day. Watching him fight (and sometimes unravel right in front of our eyes) is a fascinating look at human emotions and the frailties we all have within us. He shows that having all the intangibles won’t amount to much without any of the intangibles. And yeah, Ortiz has fundamental failings from a technical perspective but his flaws put him in very exciting fights. Do we not want to be entertained?
Ortiz is this close to being an elite fighter but, unfortunately, with his fatal flaw (lack of real constitution and mental strength), he’s probably about a thousand miles away.
But when he’s on, I’m watching. I’m not missing out on what might happen next.
I have to say, I was really impressed by Showtime’s broadcast from top to bottom. The tribute piece to Johnny Tapia was well done and they didn’t make the mistake of overproducing it. It captured the essence of “Mi Vida Loca” perfectly.
And they perfectly captured the thrill of victory and the agony of disbelief in the corners of Lopez and Ortiz as the fight was waved off. Yeah, people like to rip on Gus Johnson but I thought his call of that situation (“WHAT? WHAT?!”) conveyed the emotions of everyone inside the Staples Center and the viewing audience to a tee.
The capper to me was when the cameras followed Ortiz into his dressing room. To see him kneeling down in front of the mirror, looking at himself and reflecting on the latest snafu to his career was revealing. That while he tried to put on his typical, happy-go-lucky spin on the situation with Jim Grey, you got the sense he knew what the fallout would be from this fight.
It was compelling stuff and it was hard not to feel a bit for Ortiz.
“The Riverside Rocky” Josesito Lopez is why we love boxing. Even if he would’ve lost this past weekend, by the middle rounds, he had made a ton of fans...Lucas Matthysse is a wrecking machine and as far as I’m concerned, he’s undefeated...It certainly wasn’t “Runnin’” Rico Ramos versus Efrain Esquivias; it was more like “Rugged,” as he pulled out a tough eight-rounder at the Sportsmans Lodge on Telefutura...Mike Dallas Jr. has steadily improved under the tutelage of Virgil Hunter. He now understands what his ring identity should be and what his strengths are...Once again, on Saturday night, you kept seeing Ortiz with poor foot alignment against and squaring up his opponent, which is why he is such an open target at times. Yeah, I’ll say it; he hasn’t had a real trainer in a long time...Can any sane Lakers fan (I know there are a few out there) really argue with T.J. Simers?:,0,3989752.column...So Kevin Youkilis really did change Sox, huh?...Is it just me or am I the only one thoroughly unimpressed by this year’s contestants on “Kitchen Nightmares”?...I still can’t believe I’m going to Macau...I can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at


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