Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) will compete in this year’s annual bout on Cinco De Mayo weekend. Saturday night, May 6, Canelo and Chavez Jr. are fighting at a catch weight of 164.5 pounds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A fight between Canelo and Chavez Jr. has long been discussed. This is much more than just another prize fight–this is a battle between two proud fighters representing two different distinct regions of Mexico, putting their reputations on the line.
Though Chavez Jr. is the clear betting underdog going into Saturday night’s fight, the dominant Canelo will face a stiff test in Chavez Jr., a heavy hitter who is willing to go toe-toe-toe with him.
Tale of the Tape
|Canelo Alvarez||Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.|
|Record||48-1-1, 34 KOs||50-2-1, 32 KOs|
|Weight||164.5 lbs.||164.5 lbs.|
|Hometown||Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico||Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico|
Looking at the Tale of the Tape, Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. seem to be very similar in a majority of the categories. Both Canelo and Chavez Jr. have impressive records with only a few blemishes. Even though they both have stellar records, Canelo has been fighting more consistently.
Until this eight-month layoff leading up to Saturday night’s fight, he has never gone more than six months without fighting since his pro debut in 2005. Canelo has also been fighting a higher level of competition–he has faced the best of the best and only came up short once against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
While Canelo has been tested more, in regards to size, Chavez Jr. will have the advantage. Chavez Jr. is the bigger man as he typically fights as a Super Middleweight and has even jumped up to fight as a Light Heavyweight. Chavez Jr. also has advantages in height and reach.
It will be interesting to see how Canelo adapts to being the smaller man.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. not that long ago was the center of ridicule in the boxing world. He was often being labeled as a party boy and many boxing fans doubted his training ethic. Chavez Jr. was accused by many of living off his father’s legendary name. Many thought he would hang up his gloves after his loss to Andrzej Fonfara and before the announcement of this Cinco De Mayo weekend fight, Chavez Jr. was written off by much of the boxing community.
“It may have crossed my mind at some point, obviously after the Fonfara fight and the [Marcos] Reyes fight. Those were two fights where I don’t think that I had the same amount of passion that I needed to have. But this fight is a lot different. This fight has created a lot of passion in me, a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that that’s the difference in this. Excited about this fight, and I think that you’re going to see a different Julio that’s excited,” said Chavez during a conference call with reporters.
Even though there was always a small rivalry between the two fighters, it has continually escalated leading up to the Cinco De Mayo showdown. Chavez Jr. hasn’t been shy in criticizing Canelo Alvarez’s past opponents–claiming many of them were far past their prime.
“The rivalry between me and Chavez has always existed, but even more so since the fight has moved forward. The comments that he’s made, some of the things he has said in the media, have not sat well. And that motivates me—to train even harder, to really prepare well for this fight. It’s extra fuel,” said Alvarez.
“There’s a lot of emotion—a lot of emotion for this fight, which is trouble for Chavez. I’ve never seen him [Canelo] like this. He’s training with anger, but it’s a controlled anger. He really wants to punish Chavez. I don’t know what he did or said to Canelo, but they just don’t like each other,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo’s promoter (via Bleacher Report).
Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. is highly anticipated for a number of reasons–they are competing to become THE fighting pride of Mexico, this fight is long overdue and it is absolutely make or break for both men. These Mexican warriors are more motivated than ever to come out victorious.
Strengths for Each Fighter
Canelo Alvarez is an extremely powerful puncher. Canelo does a great job of wearing down his opponents and finishing them off.
Canelo has a relatively high knockout percentage at 68 percent and has finished his last two opponents, Amir Khan and Liam Smith, in rather brutal fashion.
Paired with his heavy hands, Canelo is a very accurate puncher which contributes to why he is so dangerous.
Canelo isn’t widely praised for his speed and while he throws less, he makes his shots count.
Canelo is an extremely poised fighter with control that most fighters do not possess–he does not let his emotions get the best of him. Even though Canelo is a young fighter, you wouldn’t guess it.
Younger fighters often get caught up in trying to do something spectacular and in turn, leave themselves vulnerable. Canelo’s poise really sets himself apart from a lot of great fighters.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is an excellent pressure fighter who often makes his fights very physical.
He is skilled at pounding and grinding his opponents at short range which allows him to land devastating short hooks and uppercuts much like his father.
His smothering style frequently poses to be too much for his opponents.
One of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s biggest strengths is his sturdy chin. The combination of Chavez Jr.’s strong chin and size, it will be hard for Canelo to knock him down.
Weaknesses for Each Fighter
Though Canelo Alvarez is superb at working the ring, he often fights rather flat footed. Because Canelo fights at 154-pounds or heavier, footwork or lack thereof isn’t necessarily a major issue for him.
But his lack of awareness of his footwork occasionally leaves him off balance, which could be detrimental. Being off balance leaves him susceptible to being knocked down, not even because he gets hurt but simply because he gets caught off guard.
While he has made significant improvements in his head movement especially in recent fights, Canelo does have some holes in his defense.
Canelo frequently leaves himself open after throwing hooks. After throwing his left hand, there are also times when he lets his hand linger at his waist which leaves him vulnerable to a counter overhand right.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Lack of Discipline:
Anyone who has followed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s career would say his biggest weakness is his lack of discipline or lack of preparation.
Though it seems that this hasn’t been the case leading up to this Cinco De Mayo bout against Canelo Alvarez, only time will tell.
Less High-Level Competition:
It is no secret that Chavez Jr. has not fought the level of competition that Canelo has, especially recently.
Chavez Jr. has never been in the ring with someone as polished as Canelo and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to this step up in competition.
The Winner and Why
For once, Canelo Alvarez will be entering the ring as the smaller fighter which is typically an advantage that he possess over his opponents when the bell rings.
Though Canelo will enter into new territory with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. being the heavier and taller fighter Saturday night, it is still unlikely that this factor will affect the outcome of the fight.
Though it is doubtful that we will experience another dramatic affair like last weekend’s bout between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, this fight has all of the makings for a war. It is likely that this bout will start out slow as both fighters look to get a feel for each other, but it will be Canelo who takes the early rounds.
This early lead should continue to mount as Canelo finds his groove and inflicts his accurate, harsh punches on the body of Chavez Jr. as he looks to stay inside and bully Canelo.
Canelo is the fresher and smarter fighter, which will lead him to victory Saturday night at the sold out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While it isn’t probable that Canelo will be able to drop the durable Chavez Jr., this fight will either end in a unanimous-decision victory for Canelo or it could be stopped by the referee, corner, or possibly even the words “no mas” from Chavez Jr. himself.