An all-out Mexican affair is in the fight calendar, with fan-friendly warriors Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr set to collide on May 6. But how good is this HBO PPV matchup? And, more importantly, is it worth getting excited about to the point of reaching into your PPV jar? Let’s break this thing down Pros and Cons style:
- Chavez Jr, son of Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, has been under the magnifying glass since turning pro. Critics have been preying on Jr heavily, and their tongues are locked and loaded for this fight. Chavez isn’t without his faults, sure, but he’s a proven battler who’s been steadily rebuilding his career following a shock Retirement loss to Andrzej Fonfara in 2015. The Canelo fight, with a Las Vegas stage and sellout crowd in tow, basically spells ‘redemption’. And if Chavez rises to the occasion, this could be an exciting clash. He’s big, and notably the tallest (6’ 1” – 5’ 9”) guy Canelo will have faced.
- Well, I’ve totally contradicted myself on this in the Cons below, but hey, all this weight draining/rehydration business is fickle at best. Who’ll be the bigger man on the night? Canelo, who’s never weighed in over 155 lbs? Or Chavez, who’s peaked at 172? It seems like Chavez is the naturally larger in this battle of boxers who are familiar with boiling down and ballooning inside 24 hrs. If Chavez can make those extra pounds work for him, he could be a threat.
- This is a stretch, but the fact that this is an all-Mexican meeting could help produce a memorable, even classic matchup. Boxing has a rich history of churning out scintillating Mexican wars, with Francisco Vargas vs Orlando Salido being one of the more recent, and we could be in for another thriller, aided by a packed-to-the-rafters Mexican crowd. Here’s hoping.
- Canelo’s dance partner is another guy not named Gennady Golovkin. Boo. No one was really expecting to see GGG’s face on the poster here, fair enough. But since this is a PPV event (following September’s Liam Smith PPV no one requested), is the Chavez Jr fight really worth digging into your pockets for? Chavez is a gritty, gnarly warrior, but he’s the bona fide B-side in this encounter, without question.
- The last time Chavez fought close to 164.5 lbs was in March 2015 (Brian Vera). Since then he’s weighed in at 172 (Andrzej Fonfara), 171 (Marcos Reyes) and 168 (Dominik Britsch), which rings a few alarm bells. Chavez, at 6’ 1”, has long looked out of place due to his size, certainly during his 2009 – 2012 Middleweight campaign. There’s a chance that Chavez could rehydrate and be a beast on fight night, but I think Canelo, who’s 4-years-younger with a career-high weight of 155, is better at playing the yo-yo weight game. Canelo should be the ‘healthier’, stronger man, especially since he’ll be the one bulking up considerably, happily gaining 9 lbs. Chavez, meanwhile, will be calorie-counting.
- How great is Chavez at world level, and are any demons still following him since the Andrzej Fonfara defeat two years ago? I don’t knock anyone for ‘quitting’ in one of sport’s hardest games, but it’s perfectly reasonable to have doubts about Chavez’s hunger going forward. Furthermore, his record isn’t all that impressive for a guy that’s 50-2-1. Chavez’s biggest wins have come against fan-favourite spoiler Andy Lee (2012) and solid veteran Marco Antonio Rubio (2012), but his other defeat was a lopsided decision to elite Sergio Martinez (2012).
How do you see Canelo vs Chavez Jr panning out? What kind of threat does Chavez represent? And will you be emptying your PPV jar to tune in?