KEY POINTS

  • Canelo Alvarez could fight in Japan in the spring
  • Canelo and Ryota Murata are in serious talks for a potential bout
  • Canelo is seen as taking lesser competition in the fight against Murata

Canelo Alvarez’s next fight could be staged in Japan as the Mexican superstar is reportedly in negotiations with WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata for a potential bout in the spring.

According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the respective camps of both fighters are “engaged in serious talks” to headline a fight in the land of the rising sun – a wish Alvarez has been vocal about since.

“Representatives for Canelo Alvarez and Ryota Murata are engaged in serious talks to stage a Canelo-Murata fight in Japan in the spring, sources tell @SInow. Murata holds a secondary middleweight title. Canelo has been vocal with his desire to fight in Japan someday,” Mannix wrote.

Mike Coppinger of the Athletic followed up the report, calling the Japanese fighter as the “preferred opponent” for Alvarez who intends to fight in time for Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo weekend.

“Ryota Murata has emerged as the preferred opponent for Canelo Alvarez and DAZN, and talks are progressing between sides for a bout that would be staged May 3 in Japan for a May 2 prime time stream on DAZN in the U.S,” Coppinger posted.

While Murata has an Olympic Gold Medal in his credentials, fighting him would mean Canelo is stepping down to lesser competition, at least from an analyst’s standpoint. Prior to this development, the four-division world champion had been linked to a fight against Billy Joe Saunders and a trilogy with Gennady Golovkin. But it appears he is leaning towards the fulfillment of his desire to fight in Asia.

Although relatively unknown in the general fighting scene, the 34-year-old Murata has proven to be a sure hitter in his homeland who easily draws a sell-out crowd in his fights.

“Murata is one of three candidates being discussed for Canelo’s next fight. But Murata is enormously popular in Japan—a Canelo fight could draw a crowd of 50,000-plus in a Tokyo Dome-like venue,” Mannix added.

Despite being the younger fighter at 29, Canelo is the more experienced one professionally, having boxed in 56 bouts where he won 53 and lost only once. Mannix, on the other hand, has fought in 16 professional cards, winning 14 with an impressive 12 victories via KO.

Canelo Alvarez Canelo Alvarez is now a slight favorite over Gennady Golovkin should they rematch again. In this picture, Alvarez celebrates after defeating Golovkin in their middleweight world championship boxing match at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Sept. 15. 2018. Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports