There is no love lost between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) and Mexican superstar Canelo Alavarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs). Both fighters have stated there is more on the line for this bout Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on HBO PPV then just improving their respective records.
For Chavez Jr., this bout is about living up to the insurmountable pressure of following in the footsteps of his father, a legend in the sport and known to many as the greatest fighter to ever come out of Mexico. Alvarez went on record to admit he shares that sentiment in regards to Chavez Sr. too. Alvarez also believes Chavez Jr. has soiled the reputation the elder Chavez has bled to cement.
For Alvarez the stakes are equally high.
A win gets him closer to a mega fight with the linear Middleweight world champion, Gennady Golovkin. It’s obvious to most fight observers, including the passionate ones from Mexico, that Alvarez has avoided Golovkin for some time now. Another cog in this bout is the weight for the bout.
Alvarez set the catch weight of 164.5 pounds for this fight, which is a huge increase in weight for him. Chavez Jr. must weigh in nearly 10 pounds less than he did in his unanimous-decision victory over Dominik Britsch last December in Monterrey, Mexico.
Although Chavez Jr. had to deplete himself to make the weight and avoid paying a $1 million penalty for every pound he weighed in over the contracted weight, he will still be the larger man in the ring on Saturday night. Both men weighed in at 164 pounds at the weigh in on Friday evening.
Below are three keys to victory for “The Son of the Legend,” Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to defeat Canelo Alvarez.
1. Avoid Canelo’s Body Shots
Canelo Alvarez is a punishing body puncher and has ended many of fights by crippling his opponent with a crushing blow to the kidney, liver or lower abdomen region. What is unknown is what type of shape Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will be in when the bout starts and how will he respond to Canelo’s pressure in the later rounds.
If Canelo is able to get off his body shots and lands them cleanly, then Chavez Jr. will not be long for this bout and inevitably will be knocked out. If Chavez Jr. protects his body and is slow to react to Canelo’s combinations then he will leave himself vulnerable to getting caught with a power shot upstairs which can also end his night in a very disastrous fashion.
Chavez Jr.’s only real hope of avoiding Canelo’s body blows is to use his legs to move around the ring in a way where Canelo will have to over extend just to get close to landing something. This strategy of punching and moving away will cause Canelo to exclusively focus upstairs and abandon trying to catch Chavez Jr. in the body.
Chavez Jr. can then dig in and land his shots and make Canelo pay.
2. Establish the Jab
In Canelo Alvarez’s only professional defeat against Floyd Mayweather and in the bout in which he narrowly defeated Erislandy Lara, Canelo was outboxed by fighters who knew how to land their jabs to keep Canelo confused and off balance.
Chavez Jr. is not the most prolific boxer in the sport, but he is a boxer-puncher and has the ability to stick his long arm in Canelo’s face and set up Chavez’ powerful right hand.
Amir Khan found success against Canelo when he boxed well behind the jab. When Khan became brave and started trading with Canelo that’s when Khan got caught with a devastating right hand, knocking him unconscious.
Chavez Jr. is much stronger than Khan, but would not be served well trading with Canelo. If Chavez Jr. boxes Canelo and establishes his jab and stays with the plan regardless of what he sees in the ring then Chavez Jr. has a shot of hanging in there longer than most experts expect.
3. Be the Bigger Man
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the taller man and has the ability to use that height to his advantage in what will be a difficult bout against a true boxing superstar in Canelo Alvarez.
In most bouts at Junior Middleweight and Middleweight and through catch weights, Canelo is always the bigger man before the bout at the weigh in and more importantly when the first bell rings.
On Saturday night, for the first time in very long time, Canelo’s opponent will be the bigger man. Canelo will fight as a Super Middleweight against a Chavez Jr. who has been campaigning as high as a Light Heavyweight for the past three years.
If Chavez Jr. can behave as the bigger man and keep Canelo at bay with his lanky arms, he will have a chance to out last Canelo and quite possibly hurt him with his big right hand. Canelo is used to being the bully in the ring as he showed fiercely against the likes of Liam Smith, Amir Khan and James Kirkland.
Chavez Jr. is bigger than all three of those men and has the ability to dictate where in the ring the bout will take place in and at which pace and distance. If Chavez Jr. uses the height advantage properly he can tilt the odds to his favor and upset the Canelo steam engine from running over him en route to a September showdown with Gennady Golovkin.