Canelo looks like the winner but Chavez tough to pass up at 5-1
May 02, 2017 3:06 AM
by Alan Berg
Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas means two things – betting on the Kentucky Derby and who’s in the main event of the big boxing card in town.
This Saturday night at the sold out T-Mobile Arena, Mexico superstars face off as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez battles Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Canelo comes in as the favorite over Chavez Jr. and the best prices in town currently for each fighter are -500 on Canelo at Station Casinos and +500 on Chavez Jr. at MGM.
Let’s talk about why each fighter could win this fight and what is the play on Saturday night.
Most doubters of Canelo’s so-called elite skills still think he has enough to beat a fighter the caliber of Chavez. While Chavez is the bigger man, he hasn’t had the quality of opposition Canelo (48-1-1 with 34KOs) faced. Names on that list begin and end with Floyd Mayweather, the one loss of Canelo’s career, but also includes victories over Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and Amir Khan.
When in the ring with bottom Top 10 level fighters, such as Khan, James Kirkland, Kermit Cintron and Liam Smith, Canelo has taken care of business by KO. His technique has improved but he still isn’t the greatest boxer. Khan, who was up on one scorecard with the other cards close, proved Canelo can have trouble with fast slick boxers but was eventually KO’ed. Canelo’s struggle with elusive fighters was foretold in close victories over the before mentioned Trout and Lara.
The strengths of Canelo’s game come down to him controlling the ring, eliminating the space the fighter has to move, and Chavez is not of the slick boxer category. If the fight goes Canelo’s way he will keep pressuring Chavez (50-2-1), while putting together combinations, eventually pushing him to the ropes for some massive flurries. The likelihood for victory is a late knockout or unanimous decision if the fight goes Canelo’s way.
The son of arguably the greatest and most beloved Mexican boxer ever, Julio Cesar Chavez, he has never been able to live up to the standard of excellence his father brought to the squared circle. But when Dad was 107-6-2 with 86 wins by KO plus six world titles in three weight classes it’s nearly an impossible standard to live up to.
Chavez Jr. was heavily protected early in his career but so was Canelo, and some would argue Canelo still has not yet fought Middleweight Champion Gennedy Golovkin or GGG as most know him. Chavez’s first lost came at the hands of then middleweight champion Sergio Martinez back in 2012. In one of the most wild endings to a prize fight, with Martinez up big on all three score cards, Chavez landed a massive three-punch combination in Round 12 that sent Martinez to the mat. He would hit the canvus a second time but Martinez would go on to survive the round and retain his title.
Two and half years later Chavez took on Andrzej Fonfara and was thoroughly whooped by the naturally larger Fonfara at a catchweight of 172 pounds. Chavez quit on his stool after Round 9, a round in which he hit the deck from a Fonfara left hook.
Chavez has never been super committed to the gym but looks like he is in the best shape of his life for this mega fight. He knows he becomes the No.1 fighter in Mexico if he should shock Canelo. This fight is also a catchweight fight but at 164.5 pounds. That is an advantage for Chavez.
In order to beat Canelo he must be the aggressor early and be the one dictating the action of the fight. He cannot afford to let Canelo get comfortable and settle into the fight. His best chance is to pressure him, rough him up on the inside with body shots and continually back Canelo into the ropes.
Canelo is the more accomplished boxer and does have a class level higher than Chavez. That said Chavez is the naturally bigger man and has been in his share of wars and title fights. Chavez won’t be intimidated by the moment.
I don’t think these guys will fight at a frenetic pace early, which leads me to believe that whatever the number of Total Rounds Vegas settles on (a couple of unreliable offshore sites had 7.5 or 9.5 rounds) it’s an over fight.
So take the over and if you are going to bet a fighter, if you can get +400 or higher on Chavez he’s worth a dice roll, this is the fight of his life. For Canelo I think it’s just another payday.