KEY POINTS

  • Canelo Alvarez is now linked to Japanese fighter Ryota Murata
  • Alvarez and DAZN are considering to hold the match in Japan
  • Canelo's boxing comeback is targeted on September

From out of nowhere, Japanese boxing star Ryota Murata has entered the race for the next villain to Canelo Alvarez’s comeback spectacle. With a fading development as to his showdown against Billy Joe Saunders, the Mexican champion is suddenly linked to the 34-year-old Asian fighter for his reported return to the ring in September.

According to Aragon Garcia of Boxing News 24, the speculated bout is likely to be staged in Murata’s home ground as Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN are said to gauge Japan’s market promising in terms of reach for their projected returns.

“Canelo-Murata is a fight that could prove to be much more critical for Canelo than if he were to face Saunders, who offers very little in return. Murata could be the key to Canelo and DAZN opening up the lucrative market in Japan,” Garcia wrote.

“With a population of 126 million, Japan has a massive amount of Murata fans, who watch him perform each time he fights. These aren’t necessarily hardcore boxing fans in Japan.”

At first thought, no one would ever contemplate the chance of Canelo taking on a less professionally experienced fighter while still at the peak of his career. But judging the factors presented on the rumor table, it seems a fight against Murata could be feasible after all.

With Alvarez desperate to seize more global attention, Murata may have just found his best chance to carve his own legacy by fighting a household name in the sport.

 “He (Canelo) wants to fight abroad. We have discussed with him fighting in Japan, a homecoming in Mexico, and the U.K. He has considered all of those options. Before he retires, he will fight abroad,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told Sky Sports, via Garcia.

"It’s about his brand. He wants to become a more international star, not just fighting in the U.S., And he wants to become an even bigger star than he is now. He has fans all over the world, and he wants to build on that.”

The hint is already served, and the Japanese could be up for the challenge more than ever. He even said in an interview with Fighthub last year: “I want to fight against him without Mexican beef.”

Confidence and excitement would definitely give Murata the extra boost needed should he face a juggernaut that is Canelo. But although he has an outstanding knockout rate, the Japanese middleweight will still be expected to enter the bout as a huge underdog against the three-division champion, who is miles ahead in terms of total professional fights and total victories.

Canelo Alvarez Canelo Alvarez will be dropping down to 160 pounds again. In this picture, Alvarez celebrates after technical knockout of Rocky Fielding in their WBA Super Middleweight title bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Dec. 15, 2018. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images