If you listen to the BOXING 4 FREE podcast, you’ll recall that when this fight was first announced I was quick to lambaste it and it’s promoter, Oscar de la Hoya. Not to say that those criticisms were not without merit (Or comedy-sometimes I amaze even myself) but in the time since that initial announcement to today, I’ve found myself really looking to this fight.
On one side, you’ve got Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. A man with a boxing pedigree most younger fighter would dream to have, who had to battle the reputation of his legendary father as well as the reputation that his own bad habits had marred his career. A former middleweight titlist, sometimes his two losses seem to overshadow his fifty victories over some very credible opponents. A victory here could wipe away all the mistakes of his past and show that he hasn’t squandered all the potential he showed in years past.
On the other side, you have Saul Canelo Alvarez, the man who usurped Julio’s desired rank as not only the biggest star in Mexican boxing but becoming perhaps the biggest star in all of boxing. A former junior-middleweight & middleweight champion, some argue that while his resume is impressive, he hasn’t always sought the most challenging opponents and often making contractual obligations in his favor when it comes to making weight to defend his titles. A victory over the larger Chavez could show that he is ready to take on other opponents whom he had been accused in the past of intentionally avoiding.
From the beginning, I knew that this was going to be difficult for Julio. Not only has he been notorious for his difficulty making weight but this fight was sanctioned to take place at 164.5lbs, making it the lightest weight he’ll be fighting at in almost five years. When I saw him at the weigh-in he looked a bit gaunt & his arms looked particularly lanky.
Despite his promoter previously saying that Canelo is really a junior-middleweight, this fight seems tailor-made for Canelo to make his big splash into the real middleweight division (Leave your catch-weights at home, kiddies) and to eventually set up a fight with the recognized middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin.
I think Canelo will actually take a page out of Manny Pacquiao‘s book when he fought Oscar de la Hoya and continually use in and out movement to land hard shots against Chavez, busting up his face. And despite my criticisms of him, I know that Canelo is talented and he will put the pressure on Chavez, who will try his best but it just won’t be enough. I see Canelo winning a wide decision of 118-110 and hopefully, he will call out Triple G afterwards to set up a mega fight for September or October.
But don’t be too surprised if afterwards we hear that Canelo is suddenly having difficulty getting down to 160 pounds. I wouldn’t count Oscar de la Hoya out from doing that.