Not everyone can be an international superstar.
But Saul “Canelo” Alvarez might just be.
Already a superstar in Mexico and a star in the US, Canelo looks to test both his skills and his selling power in his return to action following his high profile loss to Mayweather Jr against Alfredo Angulo this Saturday night.
Marcos Maidana has been here before.
In June 2009, Golden Boy were throwing their full promotional weight behind a young fighter. Victor Ortiz was 24-1-1 with the loss being a slightly controversial DQ and the draw being a technical decision with less than a round boxed. He had fast, heavy hands having stopped 19 of his opponents and he’d picked up some notable wins… blasting out former world champion Carlos Maussa in a round and the then still fairly well regarded Mike Arnaoutis. More then that he was handsome and personable with more than a hint of Oscar De La Hoya himself about him. Golden Boy expected big things from the young man as he prepared to box for his first world title against a little known Argentinian who had lost his last bout.
Then this happened.
Adrien Broner is not in exactly the same position Victor Ortiz was. While Ortiz was a contender with the hope of going further, Broner is already a three weight world champion with notable wins over Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jason Litzau, Vicente Escobedo, Antonio DeMarco and Paulie Malignaggi. But Broner is a young man who Golden Boy promotions (and in extension, Showtime) have put a lot of effort into hyping and are looking to as someone who can carry the company forward in years to come. And now, much like Ortiz, Broner finds himself standing opposite an menacing Argentinian power puncher who wants to make a mockery of such ambitions.
Can he do it?
Not so very long ago it was received wisdom in boxing circles that a boxer based outside of Germany never went to Germany voluntarily. If the champion was there and you wanted a title shot then you were forced to eventually but otherwise, whatever the money, it wasn’t worth it. As the old phrase goes, you had to knock out the home fighter to get a draw. If you did go to Germany to box you went there expecting to lose but hopefully with a nice payday for your troubles. Which all seemingly makes it rather strange that Darren Barker would make his first defence of his IBF Middleweight Title against Felix Sturm in Stuttgart? After all, isn’t one of the benefits of being champion that you don’t have to go to places like Germany and risk home-town decisions to the local fighter?
These times, they are a’changing…
So why is Darren Barker, having finally fulfilled his dream of winning a world title, having finally got the reward he wanted after years of toil, willing to risk it by going to Germany?
First off, the money point still remains. Both Barker and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been open out this; they were offered a lot of cash to box in Germany. Considering the price that boxing extracts from those who take part, I don’t think any of us can be too dismissive of a boxer taking the highest paying option. Barker may only be 31 but he’s already had to put his career on hold twice due to serious injuries and with that in mind I’m not going to complain about him feathering his nest.
Secondly, while Germany’s reputation may be infamous, how true is it? And how true is it in relation to Felix Sturm?