HBO PPV results: Canelo buries Chavez Jr., sets up Golovkin clash
Once the confetti settled, Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez put his hand on a rope and looked toward the media section after an elaborate announcement of Sept. 16’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin showdown.
What he saw were some shocked faces after the pre-planned ordeal. It featured a commercial, Golovkin walking out to the ring with his theme music and an interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman – who made the question easy for Canelo before he replied, “Triple G” – the magic words that cued the lights.
All this after Canelo didn’t lose a single round to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night. An HBO Pay-Per-View that was billed to be biggest fight in Mexican boxing history turned out to be a one-sided outclassing that didn’t represent the back-and-forth wars etched in their lineage.
After the fourth round, in which Canelo wobbled Chavez with a right to the temple, the anticipation fizzled once Alvarez was able to control Chavez with a jab. Alvarez, 49-1-1 (34), could do whatever he wanted in there and even planted himself against the ropes to let Chavez get off shots or allow them to go toe-to-toe in order to playfully rub shoulders to entice the crowd. A power right would separate the two, once Chavez eked out some punches, but that same right hand was better, once it followed the jab. It was extremely accurate, whether it came as a hook, an uppercut or crossed down the middle.
Chavez, 50-3-1 (32), sustained a swollen right eye by the end of the beating and, after what were overwhelming cheers in his favor before the fight, boos drowned once it ended. The majority of the 20,510 onlookers seemed to have been rooting for the son of the legend and that was also the case at Friday’s weigh-in – in which Chavez celebrated once successfully weighing in under the 164.5 contracted limit – an achievement in itself for the underachieving 31-year-old.
“Canelo beat me. He beat me at the distance. He is a very active fighter. He’s very good and he beat me,” said Chavez. “I wanted to box but he went to the ropes and I just needed to throw more punches. I would’ve attacked more. I would’ve been countered by his punches. (Trainer) Nacho (Beristain) told me to do that but the strategy didn’t work. The speed and the distance was the key. I didn’t feel that much power because I felt dwindled. I couldn’t throw as many punches as I wanted. My father kept telling me to throw more punches from the ringside.”
“Tonight I showed I could move; I could box. I showed, as a fighter, I can do all things,” said Canelo afterward. “I thought I was going to showcase myself as a fighter that could throw punches but (Chavez) just wouldn’t (engage). I’ve shown I can do lots of things in the ring, anything a fighter brings. I’ve shown I can showcase myself. I wanted to try something new. I never sit down in sparring and I didn’t want to sit here. ‘GGG,’ you are next, my friend. The fight is done. I’ve never feared anyone, since I was 16, fighting as a professional. When I was born, fear was gone. I never got my share of fear. I’m very happy and the rivalry is going to show my skills even more. I’ve had difficult fights and that will no doubt be a tough fight but, I always say, Canelo Alvarez is the best because I fight the best.”
As promised, the action didn’t deliver on May 6 but it was guaranteed for Sept. 16 by Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya at the post-fight press conference. “‘Bombs Away’ is what we’re gonna call it,” he gleefully said. No venue is set as of yet but the date is settled as De La Hoya described it as signed, sealed and delivered.
The last time we had seen Canelo and Golovkin in the same ring was last Cinco de Mayo weekend. Coincidentally, Canelo had just knocked out Amir Khan in another mismatch and after inviting GGG to the ring, proclaimed, “Mexicans don’t fuck around.” Perhaps Canelo wanted to right the wrong that stemmed from that moment, as he was heavily criticized for continuing to not fight Golovkin afterward.
Alvarez lived up to the promise of facing the unified middleweight champion one day and fulfilled his duty as a fighter by performing on Saturday night. That said, not all promises were kept to those who paid good money to watch the fight live or purchased it on HBO Pay-Per-View.
They basically bought an infomercial but it was to “the biggest fight that could be made in boxing.” A slick move to erase what had just happened in a big promotion that sold out the venue in 10 days and even sold out all the hotels who carried the closed-caption broadcast. Not to mention, swiftly brush the repercussions of a bad fight under the rug by making light of a great one.
After all, they do say boxing is a sport rather than a business and Gomez knows that.
In undercard action, former IBF middleweight titlist David Lemieux, 38-3 (33), punished Marcos Reyes, 35-5 (26), over 10 rounds. The scores were 99-90 twice and 98-91, all in favor of Lemieux.
Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse, 38-4 (35), looked like a well-oiled one in his fifth round technical knockout win over Emmanuel “Tranzforma” Taylor, 20-5 (14). The welterweight contest was scheduled for 10 rounds. This would be Taylor’s first loss by stoppage.
Opening the HBO PPV card was a match-up of undefeated featherweights, as JoJo Diaz Jr. earned a wide unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91 twice) over Manuel “Tino” Avila after 10 rounds.
As a whole, the fight wasn’t a thriller but it was more competitive than those wide scores had indicated. There was no doubt, however, that Diaz, 24-0 (13), out-boxed and out-landed Avila throughout but the fight had its lulls as the two cagey contenders waited for each other to make his move. Avila, 22-1 (8), took it upon himself to make the first move, more often than not, but that played into the counter-punching style from the southpaw. Diaz, 24, fought well off the back foot and eventually forced a cut over Avila’s right eye, at some point in the sixth round. The cut seemed to bother Avila in the later rounds and the extent of Diaz’s body work in the fight also didn’t help matters.
“My plan, going in, was to feel (Avila) out and be smart,” said Diaz. “Once I had him figured him out, I knew I could keep digging at him with my jab and do work. In the last few rounds, I kept throwing body shots to hurt him, which worked. Next up, I’m looking for a world title shot.”
“My timing wasn’t there. I felt like this was a learning experience,” said Avila. “I need to learn how to pick up the pace in between rounds. Our styles were off and I felt like it could have been a better fight.”