Boxing: The 5 most likely guys to stand in for Canelo against GGG

Boxing: The 5 most likely guys to stand in for Canelo against GGG
Gennady Golovkin will not be fighting Canelo on Cinco de Mayo. So who will it be? Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is officially off. With two weeks to go until his hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Canelo officially withdrew from the megafight yesterday, ending whatever slim hope remained of getting the two in the ring on Cinco de Mayo. But the show must go on for GGG and his team. Just hours after the fight cancellation, Golovkin announced via twitter that he would still fight on May 5 in Las Vegas. GGG promoter Tom Loeffler has told reporters that the bout will probably move to the smaller MGM Grand Garden Arena across the street from the T-Mobile Center, scheduled site of Canelo/Golovkin 2. But who will Golovkin fight with just a month’s worth of notice? Let’s take a look at some of the likely candidates.


26-0, 20 KO

Why it should happen: Though not the big name Alvarez brings, most boxing purists believe Charlo brings the toughest test at middleweight to Golovkin outside of Canelo. This brash Houston native is a big talker in person and online. Jermall, along with his twin brother Jermell, have developed a wrestling heel like personna that would be easy to promote, even on short notice. Charlo made a name for himself at junior middleweight, where he won the IBF championship in 2016. He’s looked even better after moving up to middleweight, knocking out both challengers he’s faced. Charlo is WBC interim middleweight champion, so this fight would fill a mandatory defense necessary for Golovkin. Charlo is scheduled to fight a mandatory defense of his interim belt on April 21, so he should be in shape and ready to go; all he would need to do is withdraw from that fight.

Why it may not happen: Charlo is represented by boxing advisor Al Haymon, who does most of his work with Showtime. Golovkin fights exclusively on HBO and this fight has been promoted by HBO, having been scheduled for HBO pay per view. Haymon has occasionally done business with HBO fighters, but the negotiations usually take longer to come together than the shortened timeframe the two sides will have to get this fight ready.


33-2, 29 KO

Why it should happen: Jacobs has only lost one fight since 2010, and it was to Golovkin. The two had a spirited bout March of last year in which Golovkin won by scores of 115-112 (twice) and 114-113. After surviving an early knockdown Jacobs took Golovkin into what were the deepest waters of his career. Jacobs has been clamoring for a rematch ever since. Jacobs is signed with HBO, so the framework for a deal would be easy to make.

Why it may not happen: Despite being close, the first Jacobs fight wasn’t particularly interesting. The two fought too many close rounds, but the style matchup wasn’t particularly fan-friendly and running this one back just doesn’t seem necessary.


26-0, 12 KO

Why it should happen: The slick, 28 year old southpaw holds the WBO middleweight championship belt; the only major middleweight belt not in Golovkin’s possession.GGG has repeatedly says he wants “all the belts” and that seemed to be his main goal until the payday of the Canelo fights came calling. True unified champions are rare, and this would be a nice storyline to sell. Saunders looked dazzling in an absolute washing of David Lemieux in December, so he’s earned the bout. Saunders is also a big talker, so he may be able to sell a few pay-per-views on short notice.

Why it may not happen: Saunders was supposed to fight next weekend in England, but a hand injury postponed the fight til mid-June. It seems unlikely to me that Saunders would want to push up is fight date by six weeks when returning from a hand injury. Golovkin would also probably rather avoid a slick southpaw fighter after spending his entire training camp preparing for a right handed puncher. These two seem destined to fight eventually, but the timing just doesn’t seem right for May.


25-0, 16 KO

Why it should happen: Andrade is one of the most gifted boxers in the division. He has a history of knockouts, and his long, rangy style is difficult for opponents to crack. No one is more excited than Andrade about the process of replacing Canelo on the card; he’s discussed it extensively on twitter and with multiple boxing writers.

Why it may not happen: Though Andrade has big-time talent, no one outside of boxing diehards know who he is. His career has been horribly mismanaged by his promoters, and bouts of inactivity have killed all the momentum his big wins have had. Like Saunders he’s also a southpaw, which Golovkin would be best-served to avoid on short notice.


27-2 19 KO

Why it should happen: It shouldn’t. A fighter like O’Sullivan has no business being in the ring with Golovkin. But as soon as Canelo withdrew, Spike became the favorite leaked by boxing writers online. He’s a relative unknown and would gladly take the fight on short notice. He also is a brawler, which would create a fan-friendly style on television.

Why it may not happen: Selling a pay-per-view matchup in which the challenger has no quality wins in his career would be a marketing disaster. O’Sullivan has faced two notable fighters in his career in Chris Eubank and Billy Joe Saunders. He lost to Eubank by knockout and was nearly shutout by Saunders. No one in the United States knows O’Sullivan. Though Spike is moderately entertaining to watch, he’s essentially a homeless man’s version of Golovkin. GGG would end the fight in a hurry, leaving fans wondering why they spent $75 on such a one-sided matchup.

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Astros on the hunt. Composite Getty Image.

With the Astros' surge from 10 games out of first place to within two games of Seattle, catching and going past the Mariners has naturally become the top objective. It's no given to happen but it's right there. In the final series ahead of the All-Star break, while the Mariners are in the midst of four games with the lowly Angels, the last two World Series champions renew (un)pleasantries at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros enter the weekend five games ahead of the Rangers. They lead the season series with the reigning champs four wins to three. While the Astros can't quite finish off the Arlingtonians by sweeping them in this three game set, shoving them eight games back (even further back of Seattle and the current Wild Card teams) and clinching the tiebreaker would seem close to a death blow. Taking two out of three would be fine for the Astros. If the Rangers win the series, they are clearly still in the American League West and Wild Card races coming out of the All-Star break.

Last year the Rangers had the best offense in the AL. So far in 2024 they rank a mediocre eighth in runs per game. Nathaniel Lowe is the lone Ranger (get it?!?) regular playing as well as he did last season. Corey Seager has been fine but not at the MVP runner-up level of last year. Marcus Semien is notably down, as is 2023 ALCS Astros-obliterater Adolis Garcia. Stud 2023 rookie Josh Jung has been out with a broken wrist since ex-Astro Phil Maton hit him with a pitch in the fourth game of this season, though fill-in third baseman Josh Smith has been the Rangers' best player. 21-year-old late season phenom Evan Carter largely stunk the first two months this season and has been out since late May with a back injury. Repeating is hard, never harder than it is now. Hence no Major League Baseball has done it since the Yankees won three straight World Series 1998-2000.

Chasing down the Division at a crazy clip

From the abyss of their 7-19 start, the Astros sweep over the Marlins clinched a winning record at the break with them at 49-44. Heading into the Texas matchup the Astros have won at a .627 clip since they were 7-19. A full season of .627 ball wins 101 games. If the Astros win at a .627 rate the rest of the way they'll finish with 92 wins, almost certainly enough to secure a postseason slot and likely enough to win the West. Expecting .627 the rest of the way is ambitious.

With it fairly clear that Lance McCullers is highly unlikely to contribute anything after his latest recovery setback, and Luis Garcia a major question mark, what Justin Verlander has left in 2024 grows more important. With the way the Astros often dissemble or poorly forecast when discussing injuries, for all we know Verlander could be cooked. Inside three weeks to the trade deadline, General Manager Dana Brown can't be thinking a back end of the rotation comprised of Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss should be good enough. The Astros have 66 games to play after the All-Star break, including separate stretches with games on 18 and 16 consecutive days.

All-Star MIAs

Viewership for Tuesday's All-Star game at Globe Life Field in Arlington will be pretty, pretty, pretty low in Houston. One, All-Star Game ratings are pitiful every year compared to where they used to be. Two, the Astros could be down to zero representatives at Tuesday's showcase. Kyle Tucker was rightfully named a reserve but had no shot at playing as he continues the loooong recovery from a bone bruise (or worse) suffered June 3. Being named an All-Star for a ninth time was enough for Jose Altuve. He opts out of spending unnecessary time in Texas Rangers territory citing a sore wrist. This despite Altuve playing four games in a row since sitting out the day after he was plunked and highly likely to play in all three games versus the Rangers this weekend. Yordan Alvarez exiting Wednesday's rout of the Marlins with hip discomfort and then missing Thursday's game seem clear reasons for him to skip, though he has indicated thus far he intends to take part. Yordan is the most essential lineup component to the Astros' hopes of making an eighth straight playoff appearance.

Ronel Blanco should have made the American League squad on performance, but pretty obviously his 10 game illegal substance use suspension was held against him. As it works out, Blanco will pitch Sunday in the last game before the break which would render him unavailable for the All-Star Game anyway. Blanco is eligible to pitch, but given the career high-shattering innings workload Blanco is headed for, no way the Astros want him on the mound Tuesday. Just last year the Astros kept Framber Valdez from pitching in the game.

While waiting, and waiting, and waiting on Tucker's return, the Astros have also been waiting on Chas McCormick to get back to something even faintly resembling the hitter he was last year. McCormick routinely looks lost at the plate. He has four hits (all singles) in his last 32 at bats with his season OPS pitiful at .572. During the break the Astros should seriously weigh sending McCormick to AAA Sugar Land and giving Pedro Leon a try in a job share with Joey Loperfido.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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