CHAVEZ JR vs CANELO — It’s no secret that Golden Boy Promotions has been eyeing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as the next opponent for their cash cow Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. By all appearances, the all-Mexican showdown, which many speculated was headed to AT&T Stadium in Texas, will instead come to fruition in Las Vegas. At Friday’s meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, a representative of Golden Boy Promotions will formally request the date of May 6, the Saturday of Cinco de Mayo weekend, for an HBO show at the T-Mobile Arena. Requests of this sort are invariably rubber-stamped.
A former world middleweight titlist and the son of a true boxing legend, the 30-year-old Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs) weighed 168 pounds when he returned to the ring after a 17-month hiatus in December, scoring a 10-round unanimous decision over German import Dominik Britsch at Monterrey, Mexico. He will presumably need to shed eight pounds for Canelo (albeit there’s been talk of a 165-pound catchweight) and one surmises that won’t be all that easy. Chavez last competed as a true middleweight in 2012 when he came up short against Argentina’s Sergio Martinez, losing a 12-round unanimous decision.
Chavez and Martinez met at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. After the bout, Chavez tested positive for marijuana. This didn’t sit well with the Nevada State Athletic Commission which slapped him with a $900,000 fine and a 9-month suspension. This penalty struck many as draconian (after all, marijuana isn’t an athletic-performance-enhancer), but the commission felt justified in coming down hard on Chavez since he was a repeat offender. He had tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic banned in Nevada, after his 2009 fight with Troy Rowland. (Chavez’s attorneys went to court and succeeded in getting the fine reduced to $100,000.)
Ironically, marijuana talk is also on the docket on Friday’s NYSAC meeting. The commission will consider a proposal to remove it from the list of banned substances. This would be consistent with Nevada’s new marijuana law. In November, the voters approved a measure that legalized the recreational use of marijuana by individuals 21 years of age and over. There are now eight states on the recreational marijuana map — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – plus the District of Columbia.
It goes without saying that Canelo Alvarez vs. JCC Jr. is not the match that fight fans are thirsting to see. The match with the wow factor pits Canelo (48-1-1, 34 KOs) against Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs). Alvarez is currently boxing’s biggest PPV star, but he would be chalked the underdog vs. Triple-G.
In a recent appearance with co-hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman on ESPN’s “First Take,” Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, promised that GGG-Canelo would transpire before the end of the year, assuming that both win their next bouts. Time will tell.
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