Saul Alvarez, left, and Alfonso Gomez, right, flank Floyd Mayweather Jr.… (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images )
Los Angeles fight fans who don't travel to Las Vegas for Saturday's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz fight for the World Boxing Council welterweight title can watch it on big-screen television screens inside Staples Center, after they watch the young fighter from Mexico being packaged as the sport's next star.
World super-welterweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (37-0-1, 27 knockouts) will make his second title defense at Staples, against Alfonso Gomez (23-4-2, 12 KOs), best known for his participation in "The Contender" reality-television boxing series.
Alvarez, 21, has impressed his protective handlers, Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, by dominating his foes this year, the smaller Matthew Hatton at Honda Center and journeyman Ryan Rhodes in Mexico.
Yet, criticism by Gomez — "I do feel he's put work into win his fights, but his road has been paved a little bit" — sticks.
Gomez indeed may be the latest speed bump, given the matchup's inequity in power punching. Alvarez has flashed a hard right hand since debuting on a pay-per-view card in May 2010.
In a prior media tour, Alvarez called Gomez "a dog that doesn't bark or bite."
Gomez, 30, lost in his only world title shot — against Miguel Cotto — in 2008. He's rallied with five consecutive victories, and claims triumphs over Arturo Gatti and Jesus Soto-Karass.
Golden Boy officials promise "all options are on the table" should Alvarez dismiss Gomez, including the pursuit of a date against world champions Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Cotto, should he defeat Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3 in New York.
"I've told them I want the best," Alvarez said. "I think they know when it's my time to fight the best."
Tickets range from $50 to $300, and the Staples card will include a concert commemorating Mexican Independence Day by bands Los Tucanes de Tijuana and El Gran Silencio.