What was billed and advertised as a Mexican war on Cinco de Mayo Weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas instead became a monotonous one-sided drubbing courtesy of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who simply outclassed a listless Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales this wasn’t.
What was described by some as the “Mexican Super Bowl” was as big a blowout as Super Bowl XXIV (in which the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos by the score of 55-10).
Chavez’s victory came on Friday afternoon, when he weighed in at 164 pounds (a half-pound under the latest version of the “Canelo-weight” division) and he didn’t have to cough up any of his purse for coming in north of that. For Chavez, whose career has been sidetracked due to his desultory approach to the sport, this was nothing more than a cash-out opportunity, the latest Premier Boxing Champions opponent sent off to make a career-high payday on the other side of the street.
In many ways, he was the perfect foil for Alvarez. He is the son of a Mexican legend, brought in his own sizable constituency and, quite frankly, wasn’t all that much of a threat. Chavez’s number one trait as a boxer is being the son of “JC Superstar.” But while he had the DNA, he simply did not have the discipline to ever maximize his own ability.
There was a certain irony to these two meeting up on the much-coveted Cinco de Mayo slot, in which Canelo was the clear A-side (and therefore made the lion’s share of the money, with the ability to enforce a catchweight that was much more favorable to him) in this promotion. Back in 2012, during Mexican Independence Day Weekend, Chavez who was clearly the bigger star, who, by virtue of his high-profile fight against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, relegated Alvarez to “other fight” status on this same evening.
Since then, however, Alvarez has faced Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto, among others. Throughout this period of time, he has steadily improved his overall skill set and become a complete prizefighter. On the flipside, Chavez has been on a semi-siesta and his ledger has two bouts against Bryan Vera, a fight in which he quit versus Andrzej Fonfara and wins over Marcos Reyes and Dominik Britsch. Say what you will about Canelo; he has stayed committed to his craft and displayed a certain professionalism that has been lacking with Chavez, who has been enabled since his early days as a boxer with Top Rank Promotions. He has perpetually worn silk pajamas.
Four months of hard work wasn’t going to erase a four-and-a-half year malaise. Chavez was a dusty rifle taken into the battlefield.
From the very onset of the fight – despite being perceived as the bigger, stronger boxer – Chavez was in retreat and circling the ring. This is a fine tactic, if you’re an adept boxer – which certainly doesn’t describe Junior, who, for years, was able to grind down smaller foes. Alvarez controlled the ring and consistently pushed Chavez back. And while Chavez lacked snap and torque in his punches, Canelo was sharp and quick off the trigger and landed at will with rapid-fire combinations in the first half of the fight. Then, in slower moments, he controlled things with his jab.
Alvarez could either out-punch Chavez or just settle in out-boxing him methodically. Chavez put up such little resistance that, at times, Alvarez would just lay on the ropes and let his foe tee off on him – to very little effect. By the middle rounds, it seemed that Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. would have put up a better fight and, by the late rounds (in which the crowd, comprised of mostly Mexicans, started to voice its displeasure at what was taking place), he was in survival mode and Alvarez was content to cruise to a victory.
All three official ringside judges had this fight a shutout, 120-108 – and honestly, it wasn’t even that close.
Canelo has become a pretty damn good fighter, while Chavez has been exposed (again) for what he is. In his two biggest professional outings, against Martinez and now Alvarez, he has had 90 good seconds combined. Lineage can only take one so far.
However, it turns out this glorified sparring session was just the semi-main event of the night. As HBO Sports’ Max Kellerman interviewed Canelo, a pre-packaged and well-produced entry was made by one Gennady Golovkin, the reigning IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion, to formally announce a fight between the two on Sept. 16.
So yeah, it turns out this just might have been a $70 infomercial for a fight that wont take place till four months from now. But give Golden Boy Promotions this: There is a palpable buzz for this event (and before you ask, the site is still yet to be determined but precedence says Las Vegas will be the host).
The conspiracy theorists will tell you Chavez was paid to roll over.
The truth is he was chosen for a reason.
Long ago Canelo had surpassed him as a fighter and has now firmly entrenched himself as the ruler of Mexican boxing.
And with that, Golden Boy Promotions and K2 Promotions arrived safely at Canelo-Golovkin.
Lucas Matthysse looked very good in stopping the normally durable Emmanuel Taylor in five…JoJo Diaz is a very adept boxer but I wonder if his lack of pop will keep him from winning a title at 126 pounds…David Lemieux is who he is – and there’s nothing wrong with that…A very good edition of “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” this past Friday. So far that series has been delivering like FedEx…Ahhh geez, Sept. 16 is also the day Miami plays Florida State. OK, sooooo any chance of moving the fight back a week or two?…Will the rain ever end here in Southern California?…I can be reached at email@example.com 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.