Canelo Alvarez walked into the Los Angeles-based offices of Golden Boy and demanded that his next opponent be top junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara.
"Canelo came in a week ago Monday and sat down with us and basically said that what he wants is that he wants to fight Lara. We actually had a list of big names which we went through and he just didn't want to hear about anything else. He wants Lara," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
"The reasoning being is that Canelo feels that a lot of people still don't give him the credit due. They think that he would be afraid of fighting Lara, and everybody is saying that Lara is very dangerous, and that he's a very difficult style for Canelo. They're saying that he will never fight Lara."
Alvarez may yet get his wish.
A Showtime Pay Per View-televised clash between Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts) and Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) could soon be announced for July 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Shaefer told RingTV.com on Tuesday.
"Negotiations are ongoing and I think we are getting closer and closer. I think that we have worked out a framework and a final deal structure, that is now with Canelo to be approved, and with Lara to be approved," said Schaefer.
"We talked a bit about the dates and we talked about the venues and so on, and we agreed that the date would be July 12 on Showtime Pay Per View, and that it would be from the MGM Grand. I hope that within the next 24 hours that we will have a sign off from both fighters and that we can announce this fight."
A 23-year-old Mexican star, Alvarez has sandwiched victories over previously unbeaten Austin Trout by unanimous decision and Alfred Angulo by 10th-round knockout around a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather that dethroned him as RING and WBC 154-pound champion last September.
Before facing Mayweather, Angulo and Trout, whom he dropped in the seventh-round last April, Alvarez had been criticized for largely taking on undersized competition such as Josesito Lopez and Alfonso Gomez, and for facing past-their-prime fighters such as former welterweight beltholders Shane Mosley, Carlos Baldomir, and Kermit Cintron.
"I think that all of those people who have criticized Canelo in the past for having hand-picked his opponents will see that Canelo has decided to fight Lara to shut them all up," said Schaefer of Alvarez, who knocked out Lopez, Gomez, Baldomir and Cintron, and unanimously decisioned Mosley.
"Canelo reminded us during the meeting that the same people said the same thing about Austin Trout. Canelo is not afraid of anybody, and he will always seek the best possible fights against the best possible opponents. Right now, one of the best possible opponents is Erislandy Lara, and he didn't want to hear any other names. Canelo wanted us to get it done."
Unlike Mayweather, Trout and Angulo had mostly contested as a junior middleweight. Trout had unanimously decisioned Miguel Cotto in December 2012 before falling to Alvarez, and Angulo had floored Lara in the fourth and ninth rounds of a 10th-round knockout loss last June.
After beating Angulo, Lara dominated Trout, flooring and nearly stopping him in the 11th round of a unanimous decision in a clash of southpaws in December, and called Alvarez "a baby" for not fighting him.
"It would be a much-anticipated fight in the 154-pound weight class, and I believe that is the strongest matchup that you can make at 154 pounds. It is the fight at 154 not involving Floyd Mayweather," said Schaefer.
"I think that you have to give it to Canelo for wanting this fight and for pushing for this fight, but he's a young and very determined man who wants to test himself against the best, which you saw with Austin Trout and again with Floyd Mayweather. Now, we're going to see it with Erislandy Lara."