The May 6 bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. promises to be yet another classic moment in the history of Mexican rivalries. Forget the money, titles and rankings: This matchup is about nothing but pure pride. The bad blood between these two stems back to their upbringings, and that has caused this to be one of the most anticipated fights in quite some time.
Alvarez was born in a family made up of ice cream vendors. He has risen from his humble background by building up a career to become today’s box office attraction. Unlike his opponent, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. came from the elite class of boxing. His father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., is revered as one of Mexico’s greatest. Chavez Jr. has always been in constant comparison to his father throughout his career, but, for the first time, he’ll have the opportunity to separate from his shadow.
Alvarez has already established his reputation as one of being boxing’s best by the way he has finished off opponents. Three of his past four fights (all wins) have ended before the final bell. Sure, you can question his previous opponents’ sizes. But regardless, Canelo has shown himself to be always superior because of his ability to break down boxers for the knockout.
Chavez Jr., on the other hand, was given all the qualities to be the next man to fill his father’s iconic shoes. From his first professional match, it is said that he received a purse of $25,000 while Canelo only made approximately $40 in his debut. In this bout, money has become meaningless to both. They were willing to bet each other’s earnings before Chavez Sr. stopped it.
Seeing this attitude coming from Canelo is unusual, as he has always shown respect toward his opponents and is rarely outspoken. But this upcoming fight shows the level of significance this has to them. It will no doubt leave a long-lasting impression on their respective legacies.
The 164.5 pound catchweight is the biggest topic of discussion heading into the bout, as both boxers will enter the ring weighing different amounts than usual in order to make this requirement. Chavez Jr. has been linked to this topic frequently, as he hasn’t competed in the middleweight division since moving up to light heavyweight in 2013. This can have a significant effect on punching power as it could lead to fatigue in the latter part of the bout.
As for Canelo, he steps into uncharted territory because he has never fought beyond the 155 pound mark. The advantage, however, is on his side as he is moving up in weight, while Chavez Jr. will probably have to go through some starvation and dehydration just to make the mark.
And although Alvarez is set to be the favorite in this boxing match, some analysts are overlooking the fact that he’s fighting a bigger man. Canelo, at 5 feet 9 inches, will have to face a 6-foot-1 Chavez Jr. This height differential obviously means Chavez Jr. has a longer reach, which can create the necessary separation to land good punches while avoiding retaliation. His wingspan can cut off the ring much easier, and, most importantly, he will be fighting downhill. Being a bigger man means naturally weighing more and having that advantage when it comes to the clinch.
This bout brings so much excitement because it has the storyline and build up of so many years. The two most recognizable Mexican fighters of this generation will go at it in their prime. And whenever two Mexicans step into a ring, history has shown that nothing but epic action will take place. Canelo has the overwhelming track record that I wouldn’t bet against, and his tendency of never being outclassed should carry into next Saturday.