On Saturday, May 6, 2017, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) effortlessly won a unanimous-decision victory over former Middleweight champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs).
The fight took place in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,5010 people at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event also aired live on HBO Pay-Per-View and was labelled as the battle for Mexico’s true boxing champion. The clash however lacked the true competition of any great fight, let alone a great ‘Mexican style’ showdown.
This was simply a one-sided beat down… So what did we learn from this card?
1. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Is a Dud!
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., now 31 years old, has seen his best days. At the top of his career he beat the likes of Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee, but since losing to Sergio Martinez in 2012, his career has been a fast sinking ship.
Chavez Jr. has, at times, shown the great potential and promise, but never much lived up to it.
The hope of boxing fans was that Chavez Jr. would see seize this opportunity and finally unleash his inner greatness against Canelo Alvarez. Chavez Jr. however failed to unleash much of anything. In fact, in 12 rounds of boxing action, Chavez Jr. managed to average 25 punches thrown per round, and only connected for an average of six punches per round.
In comparison, Canelo threw an average of 50 punches per round and connected on an average of 19 punches per round. That’s a greater than 3:1 ratio of Canelo punches compared to Chavez punches.
Unfortunately, all of the lead up images of Chavez Jr. and Canelo in training camp and the intense HBO Face Off episode were as entertaining as the matchup ever became.
Chavez Jr. is the son of true Mexican boxing legend, however, his own legacy is simply a dud.
2. Women’s Boxing Is Making “HERstory”
The women of the world have dubbed the female moments in history “HERstory.” The play on words mixes the pronoun “her” and the word “history” to make it a female-centric phrase.
Women’s boxing in the past year has knocked down several barriers and on Saturday night, more HERstory was made. This time by female boxer, Marlen Esparza (2-0), who has been no stranger to grand accomplishments.
In the 2012, Esparza was the first American woman to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics in the first year that women’s boxing was an Olympic event, in which she captured a bronze medal.
Saturday on the undercard of Canelo vs. Chavez Jr., Esparza opted for three-minute rounds instead of the standard two for professional women boxers. This bout was the first female bout in Nevada boxing history to fight with three minute rounds and it paid off for Esparza as she defeated Samantha Salazar (2-4-1) by unanimous decision in their Flyweight bout at the T-Mobile Arena.
Esparza explained previously that the standard two minute rounds feel short, and make knockouts happen less frequently in women’s bouts as they are not afforded enough time to establish their dominance.
“It’s great to make history being the first woman in Nevada to do three-minute rounds,” said Esparza. “I know it’s been done elsewhere, but tonight it feels really special doing it in this fight. I plan on staying at three minutes and not going back to two minutes, so I know we will need to be strategic about how I train and fight.”
Women’s boxing is continuing to push for more mainstream exposure and with beautiful female fighters like Heather Hardy, Marlen Esparza, Raquel Miller and Amanda Serrano all leading the way with their history making fights in the past year alone. HERstory isn’t ending anytime soon.
3. The Machine Is Back!
Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse returned on Saturday night after a 19-month layoff, following a knockout loss to Viktor Postol, and he looked great. The veteran who was previously thought to be done for proved he is still game against the rugged journeyman, Emmanuel Taylor.
From the opening bell, Matthysse seemed to be too much for Taylor as he out classed him in every facet. Taylor has been a solid opponent, and always been willing to go toe to toe with anyone, but on Saturday night Matthysse was just too much for Taylor to handle.
Taylor survived until the fifth round, when a large left hook put him to the canvas. Taylor was able to beat the count and make it to his feet, his heart was in the right place, but however his eyes remained dazed. Referee Jay Nady waved off the bout and just like that, Matthysse was back.
Matthysse looked solid at 147 pounds and would be a spirited opponent for anyone in the massively talented and highly lucrative Welterweight division.
“This victory motivates me, this is exactly what I needed to come back where I left off,” said Matthysse. “I felt great inside the ring and I felt like I dominated the fight at the pace I wanted. I feel great and I’m ready for what’s next.”
Boxing fans should look forward to seeing more of The Machine.
4. David Lemieux Is in the Middleweight Mix
After a quick and devastating knockout victory over Curtis Stevens on March 11, David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) returned to the ring rapidly to face Marcos Reyes (35-5, 26 KOs) as the co-featured bout of Saturday’s card. Without a doubt, Lemieux is one of boxing’s heaviest punchers, and most exciting fighters to watch.
Lemieux was forced to go the distance with Reyes, but dominated in his unanimous-decision victory. Lemieux seems to have hurt is hand early in the fight, but still attempted to make Reyes feel his power.
Lemieux opened a cut over Reyes’ right eye in the second round which made for some visually gruesome rounds; the cut however was maintained well in the corner, allowing Reyes to continue on. Reyes himself gave it all he had and even got Lemieux against the ropes in the final round.
Throughout the broadcast the mention of a possible Canelo vs. Lemieux fight was made several times. The thought of Lemieux verses any of the top Middleweights is exciting to think about as Lemieux seems to have slugged his way right back to the top of the 160-pound division mix.
5. Canelo vs. Golovkin Is Finally Happening!
Max Kellerman spoke to Canelo Alvarez post fight regarding his victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and who he planned to fight next. At that moment, boxing took a page from WWE and Canelo replied, “Golovkin—you are next my friend.”
The lights cut off, and video a montage of GGG related images began to play on the jumbo tron while GGG made his way to the ring with his ring entrance music filling the arena.
It was Monday Night Raw mixed with the reality of boxing. This may have been a well-planned setup, boxing however is not a game and there are no actors involved. This fight is really happening.
The fight is a done deal for September 16, according to Oscar De La Hoya, who confirmed the date at the post-fight press conference. However, a location is not yet set as they will shop their options for a host venue for this action-packed event.
The fight is being promoted as “Bombs Away,” which is exactly what fans will expect to see as both fighters are two of the best pound-for-pound fighters with explosive fight styles.
The horror that was Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. is already a distant memory as the biggest fight in boxing has been made and we now will look forward to Canelo vs. GGG. It is finally happening!