At one point in time, super-middleweight champions Billy Joe Saunders and Gennadiy Golovkin seemed nailed on to land a Canelo fight in 2020.
A pandemic and uncertainty over the future have since shifted the sands against the two stars as Canelo scouts potentially new opposition.
GGG and Saunders have now given way to reports Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Anthony Dirrell and Ryota Murata are now ahead in the pecking order.
Derevyanchenko was hoping to land a rematch with Golovkin himself before the IBF then ordered the Kazakh puncher to face his own mandatory.
As Golovkin prepares for Kamil Szeremeta, a fight which has to take place next, that basically rules the three-time WBN Fighter of the Year out of the running for 2020.
Saunders, who had penciled in Canelo for May 2 and agreed on the contract, has fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome. The Brit got himself into trouble on social media.
A suspension laid down by the British Boxing Board of Control, coupled by Golden Boy Promotions not expecting fireworks if the fought, has possibly knocked Saunders further down the list.
Derevyanchenko is free as a bird. Likewise is Murata. Whilst Dirrell is a latecomer to the party. All three are solid names for Canelo to pitch across to his DAZN executives post-virus.
Murata, on geography alone, holds the upper hand. The Japanese star could lobby for the clash to take place in his home country.
Due to COVID-19 and the state of play around the world, Japan, or somewhere in the Middle East would certainly be good options for either.
Landing that all-important Canelo fight is a must for any fighter under the cruiserweight limit at the moment. It’s the 2020 equivalent to securing a fight with Floyd Mayweather back in the day.
Ask Sergey Kovalev, the last man to face Canelo. The Russian didn’t even allow himself a full training camp after beating Anthony Yarde.
‘Krusher’ rushed head-on into the Mexican. He paid the price with a stoppage loss.
As Saunders contemplates losing his biggest career pay-day, Derevyanchenko, Dirrell, or Murata may soon be able to start counting their cash.
The date would be September 14. The venue, who knows?
Fans being present may dictate those finer points.
Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay