CANELO vs CHAVEZ JR —- It was recently announced by Golden Boy Promotions that Canelo Alvarez 48-1-1 (34) will fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 50-2-1 (32) in a catch weight 12-round bout with a maximum weight of 164.5 pounds. It will take place on May 6, Cinco de Mayo weekend, on HBO PPV, with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Arlington, Texas in the running as the host city. Alvarez, at one time was the lineal middleweight champ, despite never fighting above 155 pounds. Chavez held a piece of the middleweight title before struggling to get down to the maximum limit of 160. Ironically, Canelo has never fought as a full-fledged middleweight, and Chavez hasn’t been under 167.5 in his last five bouts. It’s also been documented that Julio has struggled to weigh-in under the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
Canelo vs. Chavez is basically a fun fight and the action should be spirited as long as it lasts. Some have said it’s the biggest fight ever between two Mexican fighters, and that’s certainly plausible.
“I’m excited to announce my fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and confirm that I will be prepared, like I’ve been throughout my career, to give a great fight,” Alvarez said. “I want to remind you that when two Mexican fighters face off, a spectacular show is guaranteed.”
Said Chavez: “I dedicate this fight to Mexico; I’m going to win, but my country will too because this is the fight that boxing needs.”
Based on their Latin genes the fight is a natural. Since 2012, Alvarez has been busier, having fought ten times versus some of the biggest names in boxing, including Floyd Mayweather, the only fighter that he didn’t beat. During that same time Chavez fought eight times, winning six along with dropping a decision to Sergio Martinez and getting stopped by Andrzej Fonfara. Canelo has been the more consistent fighter, and in the eyes of most observers, more skilled and disciplined than Chavez. Canelo is serious about boxing and is in it to make his mark and etch out a legacy that will be remembered long after he’s retired. Conversely, Chavez is a fighter who only does it because he’s pretty good at it and it pays him well.
Julio at one time was considered a pretty good puncher who was extremely tough. However, he hasn’t won by stoppage since June of 2012 when he stopped Andy Lee in the seventh round. He was trailing on all three judges’ cards when the bout was halted. He last fought this past December after a 16-month layoff….and was underwhelming in winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Dominik Britsch. And therein lies my question: What is motivating Chavez other than the payday?
Canelo said, “He talks too much about me. He’s talked bad about me and criticized me so many times. I will prove to him in the ring who’s the better man.” Moreover, Canelo is more than likely using this fight to test the water against a bigger and stronger fighter, thus giving him a better read on what’s in store fighting at 160 where Gennady Golovkin awaits, likely his next opponent, assuming GGG beats Daniel Jacobs this coming March. So in the main it would appear that Canelo has more at risk than Chavez, both monetarily and in terms of long-term career goals.
I have no doubt that Chavez will prepare hard for the fight, as much as he’s capable. But I get the feeling that Julio, who will turn 31 next month, just may be looking at this bout as his golden parachute exit fight, setting himself up to party and live the good life for years to come. When listening to and observing Chavez, you never get the sense that being remembered as someone special means much to him. He doesn’t walk, talk or carry himself like a fighter who is driven, or one who feeds off of his critics and strives to prove them wrong. Yes, he’s recently taken a few shots at Alvarez, but it feels like it’s more with the intention of getting the fight and the big purse that goes along with it. I just don’t envision him losing sleep after the fight if he were to lose, as long as he isn’t humiliated.
As fighters, Canelo is equally as tough and is the more skilled technician. He has more ways strategically to win the bout, as long as he’s in great shape, which is almost a given. His one weakness is that he’s not great when he has to do the work – and by that I mean, carry the action to the opponent and then finding openings and creating his own offense. Julio may try to make him press the action, but that’s not who Julio Cesar Chavez is and I doubt he can be truly effective fighting that style. And if he were to find that he was having success fighting in that manner, it would take a physical toll on him and he’d most likely run out of gas. In 13-plus years fighting as a pro, Chavez hasn’t evolved much as a fighter and at this stage it’s not like he can learn anything new.
I see Canelo-Chavez as a fun fight that won’t alter boxing’s landscape unless Julio gets lucky – and with Canelo having the better stamina and a sturdy chin, I don’t see Chavez out-working him or landing a lucky shot. Sure, if he won, he’d be able to parlay the win into another big money bout….but I get the feeling he’s not looking that far down the road. I see the fight as Chavez’s exit from the main stage, while at the same time securing the biggest payday of his career.
The bout makes sense on the part of both fighters. It should be fun to watch, and when it’s over the only thing boxing fans will care about or want to know is – when are Canelo and Golovkin fighting?
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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