An all-Mexican battle scheduled for May 6
What was rumored for the past month or so was made official, on Friday morning, as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. put his name on the dotted line to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The formal announcement was made as Golden Boy Promotions organized a conference call with reporters that was hosted by Golden Boy President Eric Gomez, and then later joined by Alvarez.
This battle of Mexican stars will take place on May 6 and be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View (yes, another pay-per-view). As of now, the venue is still to be determined.
There will be many stories lines leading into this event, such as Canelo facing the son of his childhood idol but what many fans and observers want to know is just how this affects the potential fight with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin for later in 2017.
“I’m not thinking about that,” said Alvarez, the current WBO 154-pound champion. “It’s not any pressure for me. I’m only thinking about Chavez Jr. right now. That’s the biggest fight for me; it’s what’s in front of me. I’m not thinking down the line. People make the mistake of doing that but I’m not going to do that. Yeah, it’s a big risk moving up in weight and so many things are coming up after this fight but that’s what makes it a great fight – that there’s so many risks involved.
“In order to have a great fight, you need to have all those risks.”
When asked about Golovkin, Gomez explained that the reason Chavez, 50-2-1 (32), made sense now was, “It’s a bigger guy; he’s right-handed. It’s not a guy who’s going to box or run. It’s going to be a guy who’s going to be right in front of (Canelo), so it prepares him very well. It’s not a similar style to Golovkin. I think Golovkin’s a better boxer but it’s a bigger guy that’s going to be in front of him and he’s going to be throwing bombs.”
Many will question – and justifiably so – why a boxer who has stated recently that he still needed to grow into being a full-fledged middleweight will now suddenly take a fight at a 164.5-pound catchweight. Well, the answer is simple: Not only does Chavez make sense (as preparation for Golovkin) but it also makes dollars. And it’s a fight that will hold great interest to the Mexican fan-base.
Alvarez stated, “The reason I decided to make this move is the fight itself. It’s one of the biggest fights in the history of Mexico. That’s what intrigues me; that’s what made me make this jump all the way up there because of the significance of the fight.” Gomez echoed the thoughts of his client, “Look, this fight transcends all that, championship, weight division; this fight is probably the biggest in the history of Mexico. It’s going to generate the biggest numbers ever and I just think it transcends all that stuff.”
While Chavez’s stock in the past few years has dropped like Bear Stearns in 2008, his name still holds value. “It’s two of the biggest names in Mexico, at this time, and they’re both relatively around the same age. They’re young and so I think it’s going to transcend all that. We’re excited for this fight and so is Canelo and Chavez,” added Gomez.
The bottom line is this fight was made, well…because of the bottom line. While recent pay-per-view promotions have struggled, this one figures to do robust business (at least on the West Coast and in the Southwest). “We had a great promotion for (Miguel) Cotto-Canelo and I think this one’s going to surpass that,” says Gomez. Yeah, get this: Boxing is a business.
And say whatever you want, this figures to be a fight that provides some real action.
“I just hope he trains well and gets ready for this fight,” said Alvarez, 48-1-1 (34). I hope to face the best possible Chavez because I don’t want any excuses after this fight. I don’t want any excuses when I beat him. So regardless of whatever happened to him, I want him to train hard and be the best possible Chavez.”
For the past few years, it’s clear there was a brewing tension between the two as Alvarez took the mantle as the most popular – and lucrative – Mexican prizefighter. Chavez plainly sees this fight as an opportunity for redemption and to knock Canelo off his perch.
“He talks too much about me; he talks bad about me,” explained Alvarez, about the animosity that exists between the two. “He’s talked bad about me in the past; he’s criticized me so many times. Now that the fight’s here, I’m going to prove to him who’s the better man.”
One of the big questions regarding Alvarez-Chavez is how the catchweight of 164.5 pounds will effect Chavez, whose battles with the scales have been well-documented. There are penalty clauses that have been put in place for not making weight (word is up to a million dollars per pound) and there will be random drug-testing for this bout.
What’s interesting is Gomez told UCNLive.com that there is no rehydration limit in place for this fight.
The venue for this fight is undetermined but it will be one that will be coveted by entities in Las Vegas (which I think is the early frontrunner) with Jerry Jones (whose AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas hosted Alvarez’s most recent outing last September versus Liam Smith) having the opportunity to make Golden Boy an offer it can’t refuse.
Richard Commey, a legitimate lightweight contender, has parted ways with Sauerland Promotions…I gotta give credit where it’s due: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is spot-on about Sergey Kovalev beating IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Andre Ward on Nov. 19. He also said Virgil Hunter isn’t a good coach…Look for Julian Rodriguez and Alex Saucedo to be part of the card on March 17 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden where Mick Conlan will make his pro debut…I got Atlanta, New England (duh), Dallas and Kansas City this weekend in the NFL playoffs…OK, when does it start raining again out here in Southern California?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.