Canelo Alvarez’s next fight, possibly at AT&T Stadium, would be a global experiment

Mac Engel
·2 min read

As America cautiously, or not cautiously, tries to re-open, sports promoters eye a return to bigger arenas, bigger crowds, and bigger paydays.

Specifically, everyone in sports wants AT&T Stadium back in play at more than 30 percent capacity.

And super middleweight boxer Canelo Alvarez of Mexico has made fighting in Texas a priority.

Alvarez is scheduled to fight Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday, May 8, three days after Cinco de Mayo. According to people familiar with the negotiations, Arlington is in the lead to host a fight that would unify the WBC, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine World title belts.

Setting the boxing aside, a Canelo fight in Arlington so close to the holiday would serve as a global experiment.

Are we ready for an event where 50,000 people try to pour into a venue?

A Canelo fight at AT&T Stadium over “Cinco de Mayo weekend” would have the potential to post the biggest attendance figure at a sporting event in the world since the COVID closures began this time one year ago.

Other potential locations for the bout include Las Vegas and Houston, but none of the likely venues in those cities could hold the number of people that AT&T Stadium could.

With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week repealing all state mask-mandate protocols, and saying businesses are allowed to open at 100 percent capacity, Arlington would be the leader to host the biggest events.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would most certainly embrace a big event back at his palace. And if any single boxer can fill a large venue, it’s Canelo.

With the retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez is arguably the biggest name in boxing. With legions of loyal fans from his native Mexico following him to his fights, he’s the boxing equivalent of The Grateful Dead.

As such, he’s tried to fight in Texas to accommodate his fans.

He knocked out Liam Smith at AT&T Stadium in 2016 in front of more than 50,000 fans. Canelo knocked out James Kirkland in front of more than 30,000 at Minute Maid Park in Houston in 2015.

Canelo easily won his last fight, on Feb. 27, against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim in Miami.

AT&T Stadium was one of the few venues to host boxing matches with fans since the pandemic struck. Errol Spence of DeSoto defeated Danny Garcia at AT&T Stadium in December.

Event planners estimate the event drew 16,000, well under the mark a boxer of Spence’s caliber would typically draw, especially when stepping in the ring in his hometown.

Canelo will fight, in May, in front of fans. The question now is where.

AT&T Stadium. Arlington, Texas. Businesses operating at 100 percent. It fits all the criteria. You can check all the boxes.

If it happens, it will have international implications far beyond the unification of a few title belts.