The old time boxing trainers and managers often said that a fighter did not become a viable contender for a world championship until after they suffered their first loss. While that may sound like an oxymoron, the reasoning was that fighters who could rebound from their first loss would show the ability to overcome adversity. In today’s boxing world, that notion is at odds with the premium placed on undefeated records. Perhaps because of that premium, many fighters do not recover from their first loss and never reach the lofty expectations that proceeded their first professional defeat. Names like Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy come to mind. It is more rare for a fighter to thrive after their first defeat but remember, the future hall of famer Juan Manuel Marquez lost his first professional fight and went on to have an amazing career.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez now faces the crossroads caused by losing his first professional fight. It will be worth watching to see if he returns to win championships or if his first loss causes him to lose confidence and never return to world class status.
The specifics of Canelo’s defeat could play a role in how he returns. Physically, Canelo should be fine as he did not appear to suffer any injuries in his defeat. Mentally though, it must weigh on the 23 year old’s mind that Floyd Mayweather completely dominated him on Saturday night. In fact, Mayweather did everything but stop Canelo. A similar defeat to Marco Antonio Barrera caused Naseem Hamed to retire.
Because Canelo was beaten so thoroughly and because his youth places time on his side, some may think that he will return against journeymen-type foes in an effort to get some wins and his confidence back. That apparently is not the plan as his promoter, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, said Saturday night that he will return in a title fight. That sounds about right because Showtime will not pay good money for Canelo to box opponents with no chance to win. So who is Canelo likely to face? Here are the suspects, from most likely to not.
Alfredo Angulo: The former titlist is also coming off of a loss. He is an incredibly exciting fighter who has been in numerous great television fights. So how is this a title fight? As explained yesterday, Mayweather is most likely headed back to welterweight and will vacate the WBC and WBA titles he won from Canelo. That means Canelo will likely be allowed to fight for the vacant title. Because Canelo is an economic draw, it also means a good payday for sanctioning body whose title he fights for. As such, they will likely let him pick his opponent.
Peter Quillin: With all the talk of Canelo’s weight this past week, it is becoming obvious that Canelo will not be at 154 pounds for much longer. If he makes the move to middleweight now, a fight with WBO titlist Peter Quillin is a natural.
Carlos Molina: The newly crowned IBF junior middleweight titlist won the title on Saturday’s “The One” pay per view card by defeating Ishe Smith in a terrible fight. Showtime may not be too thrilled about putting him in a televised main event. He also presents a tricky stlylistic challenge for Canelo.
Austin Trout: A rematch with Trout could be a for a vacant 154 pound title. However, their first fight was very close and Canelo may not want to give Trout a chance for redemption.
Erislandy Lara: There is no chance Canelo faces this southpaw, defensive minded Cuban tactician with good punching power. NO CHANCE.