The upcoming fight between Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr promises to be one of the best of the year, as the two fighters go head-to-head at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
The 164.5lbs catchweight will be held in Las Vegas on May 6 and Alvarez – better known as Canelo – will start as the strong favourite as he bids to set up a super fight that boxing fans have wanted to see for some time.
Should Alvarez triumph as expected against Chavez Jr, the expectation is that he will then book a fight against the great Gennady Golovkin, who recently beat Daniel Jacobs to extend his unbeaten record to 37 fights and is widely considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound boxers around.
Canelo is another in contention for that honour but Chavez Jr is likely to give him a stern examination, although he lost to Sergio Martinez the last time he fought at a weight lower than 168lbs, while for a bout with Marcos Reyes in 2015 he failed to make the 170lb weight.
The son of the great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Chavez Jr is a former WBC middleweight champion but most people are expecting Canelo to prove to be too classy on the night.
Superfight with GGG
Oscar De La Hoya has suggested that Canelo could fight Golovkin in September, assuming his man comes through the Chavez Jr fight unscathed, and that is a fight everyone would love to see.
At the age of 26, Alvarez has plenty of time to continue to build his legend in the sport and his only defeat so far came against Floyd Mayweather, with Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan among the boxers he has outclassed in his 50 bouts to date.
Canelo has announced his intention to fight as a 160lb middleweight after facing Chavez Jr, so Jermall Charlo and Daniel Jacobs could be among those stepping into the ring with him soon if the Golovkin fight cannot be set up just yet.
But first, even though Alvarez is offered at a top price of 2/11 to beat Chavez Jr, he has to make sure he gets the job done against his fellow Mexican.
Alvarez – who heads into this match with a 48-1-1 record – has suggested that because of prior comments made by his opponent, the bout will be “personal”, so there is extra motivation on the line for him on May 6.
“Like always I like to do my talking inside the ring and on that day I am going to talk,” says Canelo, who is not known for dissing other fighters, which makes his comments particularly notable.
It was Chavez – offered at a best price of 11/2 to beat Alvarez – who initially came up with the idea of having the fight as a winner-takes-all bout, with the victor taking the full spoils after the bout, which is expected to be worth around $7 million.
The pair shook hands on the agreement on live television but the bet was later dropped by both parties, with Canelo saying he elected to do so out of respect for Chavez Sr, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Class of 2011.
While it is widely agreed that Canelo is the more impressive of the two Mexicans, their two records heading into the bout are remarkably similar, with Alvarez losing just once and Chavez Jr tasting defeat on just two occasions.
Chavez Jr’s defeats came against Martinez and Andrzej Fonfara – so he has lost two of his last six fights – while a defeat to Mayweather in September 2013 arguably came too early in Canelo’s career for him to be able to beat Money.
After working with Nacho Beristain to train for the Canelo fight, Chavez Jr is said to be in the shape of his career after revamping his body to ensure that he is able to make the weight easily.
De La Hoya has been impressed with the Mexican, insisting Chavez Jr will be in “tip-top shape” for the bout, but he is still expecting Canelo to prove to be too good.
What’s for sure is that if there is to be the Canelo-GGG mega-fight that the world of boxing is desperate for, Alvarez is going to have to dispose of Chavez Jr to earn the right to face Golovkin.