Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will meet on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the main event of a pay-per-view card.
Canelo enters the fight at 48-1-1 (34 KOs), while Chavez Jr. is 50-2-1 (32 KOs). Over the past four years, Chavez Jr. has fought at anywhere between 167-172 pounds. Canelo has been fighting at the 154-pound limit. The two will meet at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds for this one.
LBS reporter Arsen Dadyan will be on the scene in Las Vegas for the fight Saturday, providing coverage. Below, our staff breaks down the fight and provides predictions.
I feel like Chavez Jr. has to come out as the aggressor. He can’t be coasting and trying to get a away with the slow starts that he’s had in the last few fights. He’s the challenger, not the champ.
There is so much anticipation for this fight from not only the boxing community but also the Mexican-American community. The old school fans want Jr. to win because of who his father was; they remember watching his father fighting. The newer generation are behind Canelo because of the hard work that he’s put to be in the position that he’s in right now.
Canelo will be aggressive because he knows that Jr. won’t back down. This is the biggest fight of Jr.’s career and it’s more about the pride for his father and his country that will make him fighting on another level. This won’t be a Mayweather/Pacquaio fight where they were just hugging and running around for 12 rounds. The loud/drunk/prideful fans will be yelling to make sure there’s action from the first to the 12th round.
Expect a few knockdowns in this fight. Chavez Jr. has to go for the knockout and not let it go to the judges or else he’s not going to win. Chavez has a history of taking high risk/high reward approaches in previous matches, especially when he’s been trailing towards the end of the fights. If Jr. doesn’t knock him out and get to him early, then Canelo will win this in 12. Canelo is a better all-around boxer and fighter who doesn’t take a lot of high risk/high reward chances. He’s going to have to fight close and get some punches into Jr’ s body early and stay with it and not back down.
PREDICTION: Canelo in a close split decision victory after 12 great rounds, leading up to a rematch towards the end of this year. That is if Canelo doesn’t want to fight GGG first.
Sports’ greatest grudge match between countrymen since Goran Dragic-Sasha Vujacic will likely be determined by who plays the aggressor.
Now that he finally appears to have Mr. Motivation in his corner, Chavez Jr. will need to work his way inside on Alvarez, who leaves a bit to be desired with his jab and his head movement. Meanwhile, Alvarez definitely won’t be able to use his size to bully Chavez Jr. around the ring like he has many opponents in the past, so he’ll have to get “El Hijo de La Leyenda” on the ropes and neutralize his reach advantage while relying on his own technical skills and punching power to get the victory. Ultimately, the 164.5 lb catchweight seems like too much of a drop for Chavez Jr. to be at peak effectiveness, so expect Alvarez to take care of business in this potential tune-up for a blockbuster showdown with Gennady Golovkin.
PREDICTION: Alvarez by 10th-round TKO
No fighter in the sports of boxing has impressed me more over the past few years than Canelo Alvarez.
Since losing his first and only fight to Floyd Mayweather Jr. four years ago when he was just 22 and a tad too young for such a stellar opponent, Canelo has won six in a row, including four by knockout. In that fight against Mayweather, Canelo looked like a plodder and couldn’t match the speed of Floyd. He’s shown since then that he has plenty of quickness and can dominate all kinds of opponents. Even a fast fighter like Amir Khan was no match for him.
Stepping up 10 pounds in weight to face Jr. could be considered a challenge, but I don’t expect it to be an issue. Canelo will continue his run of dominance and retain his spot as my top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
PREDICTION: Canelo by 9th-round stoppage
Photo: Golden Boy Promotions