Boxing matchmaking is a lot like chess; you can see what possible fights could be made two or three fights in advance. No Sparring takes a look at the outcomes to the upcoming Canelo Alvarez vs Erislandy Lara mega fight.

It’s not often anymore we get to see fight’s of this magnitude. Boxing fans were spoiled in 2013 with remarkable matchmaking. That’s already been seen on the decline as Richard Schaefer is out at Golden Boy and Top Rank is running out of options with their small stable of fighters. Simply put, Canelo/Lara is a classic #1 vs #2 faceoff in the light middleweight division and may be one of the last few good fights we see until the Cold War officially ends.

In part II of this article No Sparring will look at the immediate future for Canelo Alvarez beyond Erislandy Lara.

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Canelo has become the biggest boxing star today in Mexico. After scoring an impressive 40+ wins over a mostly Mexican class or stepping stone opponents, the young athlete began looking towards the American market.

For Canelo, his reputation as the young gun with impressive speed and power preceded him. Many had heard his name as Oscar De La Hoya went on about him as the next great star. With a backer like Oscar, you knew the limelight was close by.

With an empire to build Canelo began with veteran Kermit Cintron in November of 2011. Cintron, a rugged and well experienced fighter would give Canelo the fight he needed to be recognized as a legitimate contender. Canelo did just what he wanted to do and won by TKO in the 5th round.

The next test would be by far the biggest of Canelo’s young career. He would appear on the Floyd Mayweather undercard in what was set to be a grooming mechanism for a future fight with Mayweather himself. Sugar Shane Mosely would give Canelo Alvarez a full 12rd fight and the now marquee name on his resume to be considered a true champion.

Critics argued that Mosely was over the hill and hardly a threat to the much younger and stronger Alvarez.  Alvarez heeded the calls and went about selecting the toughest opponent available in the division: Paul Williams. Unfortunately for Williams, a tragic motorcycle accident would leave him paralyzed and the fight was called off.

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Victor Ortiz was now the man of choice to give Canelo a run for his money. Ortiz had been in the ring with Mayweather before and was the victim of a straight one-two while his hands were down. He lost by KO as a result. All Ortiz had to do to secure the fight against Canelo was get by Josesito Lopez who was considered a warm-up fight. Lopez would go on to break Ortiz’s jaw and win the fight. Now two marquee names had been taken out of contention for Canelo Alvarez.

Needing an opponent, Canelo chose Josesito Lopez. Lopez is a much smaller fighter and had never fought at 154lbs before. He was barely making 147lbs against Ortiz and is probably better suited at 140lbs. Canelo man handled him and won the fight easily with another 5th rd TKO.

Again looking for a big time opponent to build his name Canelo set his sights on Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto. Watching in attendence at Madison Square Garden, Canelo saw Cotto beaten decisively by the tall and lanky Austin Trout; another opponent taken from contention. Canelo would go on to face and defeat Trout in front of a packed house at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

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Canelo lost to Mayweather the following September in the most successful selling fight in boxing history. It’s the opinion of this writer that Canelo was put in that fight a year too early. He hadn’t faced the level of competition necessary to build the experience for the type of fight Mayweather gave him. Granted you can’t knock Canelo for taking the fight because it did wonders for his name value in America and so far he’s yet to say no to an opponent.

Canelo rebounded last March with a solid performance against the tough Alfredo Angulo. Angulo gave Canelo a good fight. Canelo was able to face a real contender in the division and one of proper size and experience. After seemingly two years of careful grooming, Canelo is taking on the biggest and best boxing has to offer.

This point could not be more true as he offered Erislandry Lara the fight for July 12th in Las Vegas. No Sparring has ranked Lara #1 in the division, just ahead of Canelo. With the likes of Oscar de la Hoya advising against the fight, Canelo went ahead and took it anyway.

A win can solidify Canelo’s position as a true contender in the light middleweight division and would make him the number one rated boxer there as well. Canelo is a rare bread of fighter who looks to fight often and defend that honor, which is why he’s scheduled to fight again in November.

The opponent list of potential matchups is long while the possibiliies are exciting to imagine. The leading contender on the Canelo wishlist will once again be Miguel Cotto who is coming of a career defining win last June against undisputed middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Cotto offers Canelo a huge name that could put Canelo into another range of stardom if he were to win that fight. The fact it could possibly take place in Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of boxing is also very intriguing as well, especially if Canelo wants to build a legacy.

Cotto himself has many options. According to Top Rank, don’t expect a Cotto showdown to happen so soon. They’d like to face Canelo on Cinco de Mayo of 2015, a date that is huge for the Mexican culture and would raise mad amounts of money. Boxing has been synonymous with Cinco de Mayo weekend for the last several years and is something of a new tradition.

A unification fight this year against countrymen Carlos Molina would be a major draw for Mexican fans but would do little in terms of excitement for anyone else. That fight remains a possibility as it was earlier in the year before Canelo elected to face Angulo.

Unfortunately outside of Cotto, the biggest names lay north and south of the light middleweight division. Peter Quillin is a Golden Boy fighter who could easily be paired against Canelo. Canelo has stated he doesn’t want to move up from 154lbs so don’t look forward to that matchup unless Quillin is willing to come down in weight.

A rematch could be on the horizon with undisputed champion Floyd Mayweather if Canelo eventually faces and defeats Miguel Cotto. That Cotto matchup could be an unofficial qualifier for such rights.

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Outside of a loss to Lara-which should mean an immediate rematch (although Golden Boy has been weary of providing those to their stars when they lose: see Abner Mares)- Alvarez has few enticing options at 154lbs. Look for names like “Kirkland” and “Andrade” to begin calling out Canelo.

One thing is for sure: Canelo takes on the best. His future is bright and will continue to bring exciting PPV fights for years to come. This upcoming fight against Lara will be a massive hit for boxing fans. Stay tuned for both to make exciting matches as their careers progress unless one is ended in the ring July 12th in Las Vegas. #NoSparring

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