This Saturday, on the 6th May 2017 we see two Mexican fighters come together on an extremely important day for their culture. It’s the Cinco De Mayo weekend, also known as Mexican independence day.
We will see boxing’s biggest name as 26-year-old, three-time world champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 48-1-1 (34ko’s) will be taking on 30-year-old former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr 50-2-1 (32ko’s) over in America in an all Mexican showdown.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is the son of former six-time world boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez, one of the all time Mexican greats who retired with a record of 107-6-2 (86ko’s) with a career spanning from 1980-2005.
The faces of Chavez Jr and his younger brother Omar Chavez have long been in the face of the media, with their father often taking them into the ring before and after his fights with questions always surrounding when the second coming of the family heritage would be. Chavez Jr would then go on to have his first professional fight aged 17.
Also growing up at the same time as Chavez Jr in Mexico was another future world champion and star in the making as Canelo Alvarez was establishing himself as one of the sports brightest prospects, making his professional debut in 2005, aged just 15.
Canelo was born into a family of 7 brothers and 1 sister and is the youngest. his older brother Ramon Alvarez has actually faced Chavez Jr’s young brother Omar Chavez in 2014, beating him by unanimous decision over in Chiapas, Mexico.
In 2011, aged just 20 Canelo became a superstar with a unanimous decision victory, picking up the vacant WBC World Super Welterweight title against Matthew Hatton, the younger brother of hall of fame boxer and 3 weight world champion Ricky Hatton.
In the same year Julio Cesar Chavez Jr aged 24 earned his first world title with a record of 42-0, and successfully captured the WBC World middleweight title against an unbeaten Sebastian Zbik who at the time had a record of 30-0.
Despite being two Mexican world champions and only being a weight division apart, a super fight between the two seemed to be growing more distant and distant as both men couldn’t cement a place in a certain weight division, with both of their bodies fluctuating in and out of different weights.
On September the 15th 2012, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr entered the ring with a record of 46-0 against fearsome Argentinian world champion Sergio Martinez, 49-2-2 at the time and put his WBC World Middleweight title on the line. Chavez Jr suffered his first professional loss and also lost his world title belt.
In 2013 an undefeated Canelo Alvarez with a record of 42-0 and just aged 23, entered the MGM Grand to face undefeated boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr, now retired with a record of 49-0. The pair accumulated the third highest pay per view buying numbers in boxing history with 2.25 million people paying to watch the fight.
As both fighters continued their path to once again become a world champion, their careers were going in different routes. Canelo went on to secure three back to back wins and earned himself a world title shot in 2015 against the Puerto Rican boxing legend Miguel Cotto.
Canelo was successful in stepping up weight class and became the new WBC World Middleweight Title aged just 24 with a close victory over one of boxing’s most valuable and marketable fighters.
Whilst Canelo had become a two weight world champion, in the same year Chavez Jr was battling issues in and outside of the ring. He had stepped up two weight divisions to Light Heavyweight to face Polish fighter Andrzej Fonfara and suffered his first knockout defeat in the 9th round.
Chavez Jr has been unable to make-weight numerous times in his career, and after swearing he would buckle down and take his career more seriously, he continued to upset his fan base and take his career lightly. He failed two drugs tests and also has a history of smoking marijuana.
Suffering two drug bans and taking a few layoffs from the sport, the main issue in Chavez Jr’s career is finding a weight he can comfortably make, and also finding the motivation to take his career seriously.
Chavez Jr has missed weight against Marco Reyes, 4 pounds over weight against Brian Vera, Chavez then missed weight against Fonfara and then went on to face Robert Garcia. He stated “I think 168lbs is a good weight class for me” Chavez said this a few days before he missed weight again.
It was announced earlier this year that an all Mexican showdown between the two fighters would be happening on the Cinco De Mayo weekend!
After what seemed to be troubled negotiations between the two sides, they finally came to an agreement that the pair would face at a horrifically stupid catchweight of 164.5lbs, we also need to bare in mind that Chavez Jr hasn’t been that light since 2010.
Canelo Alvarez is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, who as it stands at the moment are up there with the top boxing promotional companies in the world. The CEO of Golden Boy Promotions is former boxing world champion and hall of fame fighter Oscar De La Hoya, who actually knocked out Chavez Jr’s dad Chavez Sr back in 1996, Chavez Sr entered the bout with a record of 96-1-1 and it was the first time he had ever been knocked out.
The negotiations between the two appear to have been completely one-sided, and with the Chavez family bowing down to all of the Golden Boy demands. Chavez Jr has stated that Canelo’s side will not allow him to have any of his fighters on their card, and he will also be fined $1million for every pound he is overweight.
Chavez Jr also stated the reason negotiations were taking so long is because the pair could not settle on the financials, with Canelo wanting more than five times Chavez Jr’s purse. Unsure of the final agreement regarding to purses, but the fight was announced earlier this year.
Prior to this fight, Canelo Alvarez has been in the limelight for the wrong reasons as he spent all of 2016 being criticized for his choice of opponents. He bought Amir Khan up two weight divisions to fight him at middleweight, knocking him out in one of the punches of the year in the seventh round.
Whilst Canelo was the WBC Middleweight champion, the undefeated Kazakh middleweight king, IBF, WBA & IBO champion Gennady Golovkin was chasing a blockbuster showdown with him.
After knocking out Amir Khan, Canelo then took to the microphone and invited Golovkin into the ring to call him out. When asked about a potential fight with GGG, Canelo replied with, “Us Mexican’s don’t fuck around” and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya told Golovkin they can expect the negotiations to start the morning after.
Much to nobody’s surprise, Canelo done one of the most shameful things a fighter could do, and vacated the belt in order to duck the fight with Golovkin, and decided he would move down in weight. This was the beginning of a hoard of Canelo fans turning their back on him, and for valid reasons!
Canelo is one of the most powerful and marketable fighters in the world. He is the face of boxing, and nobody quite comes close to him in outside of Anthony Joshua. Canelo often fights at a weight class extremely lower than he should be, and gets around it by ensuring in the fights that he has, he will be allowed to re-hydrate to any weight he wishes.
For those who aren’t aware of how that works, the day before the fight is scheduled to happen the two fighters have to weigh in to make sure they are within the weight limit agreed. Most fighters will starve their body of food and drink prior to the fight, and dehydrate themselves to make the weight limit easier.
After the weigh in and up to the fight, the fighters will spend their time rehydrating and putting the weight back on, providing they are within the weight limits the day before. If you were to take any normal fighter, they would normally weigh in within their weight category, and re-hydrate roughly an extra 10 pounds over night.
Canelo however will fight at a weight division such as 154lbs, and then will hydrate to a rumored weight of anywhere in the region of 175lbs. To put that into perspective, the difference in between the two weights is exactly the same as a Super Welterweight facing off with a Light Heavyweight.
Not only is it bad for the sport of boxing, it is also extremely dangerous for someone of that size advantage to be throwing bombs at a fighter that is ultimately a much smaller fighter, as we saw when he fought Khan, and again when he knocked out Liam Smith.
Another issue boxing fans aren’t happy with is the drug testing scenario. All boxers submit compulsory samples to drug testing authorities and some are undoubtedly stricter than others however the rumors surround Canelo are potentially harmful to boxing.
Fans have often questioned the way Canelo’s weight can fluctuate so easily without him seeming to encounter issues that most fighters would face. He has not enrolled for the VADA drug testing program, and chooses to enroll with drug testing programs that are extremely lenient, and are chosen by Golden Boy Promotions.
Canelo’s last fight was against Super Welterweight fighter Liam Smith in Texas, held at the AT&T stadium which can hold a capacity of over 100,000 people. Golden Boy Promotions said the reason they chose this stadium was because of the size of the capacity, and they would be selling every ticket.
As the fight drew closer it turned out Golden Boy Promotions were selling tickets for as low as $10 and then they were even giving them away for free. Mexican & American fans also stated they didn’t actually know who Liam Smith was and were unsure why a fight of that magnitude would be held in a stadium that big.
Canelo looked the bigger man by a country mile as he came into the fight, his back and shoulders looking huge compared to the smaller Liam Smith and eventually Canelo broke his opponent down by landing viscous body shots. It was then revealed in Texas there are very little, if no drug testing rules in the state and many believed that it was the reason Canelo was fighting over there, and this would be his last fight down at 154lbs as he was struggling to stay that low.
As negotiations with Gennady Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler continued, it was revealed that the two reasons Canelo and Golovkin did not meet in the ring was down to the weight, and the purses.
Golovkin’s side weren’t asking anything unreasonable regarding to the weight, all they asked is the weight limit would be 160lbs. Now for those who don’t know, the middleweight limit is 160lbs and that was the weight that Canelo picked up the WBC belt at, beating Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan.
Canelo then said he wouldn’t fight Golovkin at 160lbs, which is the legitimate middleweight limit, and he wanted a catchweight of 155lbs, meaning he wanted to drain Golovkin down and ensure him a tough time making the weight. This doesn’t make sense to any boxing fan and GGG stuck to his guns and continued to fight at his weight class.
Then Golden Boy Promotions sent Tom Loeffler a purse offer which concluded a flat fee of $10million which is by far Golovkin’s biggest payday, however the fight would generate astronomical amounts of money and that would be a small percentage for Golovkin to take.
Canelo then stated the reason he didn’t want to face Golovkin up at 160lbs is was because he needed time to grow at the weight and he wasn’t ready to fight at that category, despite winning a world title and defending it at that weight prior.
So taking all of this into consideration, its puzzling to the mind as to why Canelo would vacate a title because his body wasn’t ready to fight at 160lbs despite being a world champion at that weight, and re-hydrating to 175lbs, but he would then go and sign to face Chavez Jr, a man known to miss weight and come in heavy at a weight of 164.5lbs.
Photo Credit – (@latinpost.com)
With all of this coming to light over the last year, Canelo’s fan base has dropped considerably and he has not only faced criticism from fans, but also many boxing critics have been on his back and voiced opinions of how poorly they think Golden Boy Promotions have guided his career.
Canelo will enter the fight as a 2/13 favourite and is expected to win quite comfortably. If Canelo wins there is now no possible way he can continue to avoid fighting Golovkin and it should set up a mega fight for them both in September.
However it Chavez Jr wins there is an immediate rematch clause in place put forward by Golden Boy Promotions, and the pair must go at it again. It has not yet been confirmed where about’s the fight will be held, but you can guarantee enough Mexican fans will be all over it, and it will probably to quite good pay per view numbers which Golden Boy will use when negotiating their fight in the future.
Photo Credit – (@HBOboxing)
Admittedly I was extremely disappointed when the fight was announced. There was no way I thought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr would make 164.5lbs and if he did, he would come in looking like a skeleton and would be blasted out of there by a very well conditioned Canelo Alvarez.
However, how wrong could I have been. Chavez Jr hired hall of fame trainer Nacho Beristain and took his training camp to high altitudes of Mexico and completely dedicated himself to this fight. Rumors have out of Chavez camp that he was making extreme progress and the weight was flying off, although it was hard to believe.
Nacho Beristain is a completely no nonsense coach who will not allow Chavez Jr to fall back into his usual bad habits. Photos surfaced the internet of Chavez looking extremely cut and in shape, which many have been surprised with. Knowing that Chavez is likely to make-weight comfortably, this completely changes everything.
Photo Credit – (@Twitter)
An overweight Chavez killing himself to make-weight would have been an awful waste of everyone’s time. But an in shape, healthy, dedicated and motivated former WBC world champion is a different animal altogether.
Many believe Golden Boy Promotions usual antics could finally hit a huge stumbling block. They have opted to take easy and big money fights for a while now even though Canelo has some seriously big options he could be taking. Chavez Jr was expected to be another routine money match-up, but boxing fans are no longer so sure.
Photo Credit – (@Canelo)
This is going to be huge if Chavez Jr can pull of the upset!