FINDING A REPLACEMENT

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.

JERMALL CHARLO

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.

DANNY JACOBS

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.

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS

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.

DEMETRIUS ANDRADE

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.

SPIKE O’SULLIVAN

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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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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