Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (-700) vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (+450), Draw (+3300)
The two biggest names in Mexican boxing, Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1) and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1), will touch gloves on Cinco de Mayo weekend (May 6th, 2017) for what could be the biggest pay-per-view event of the year. The fight has been six years in the making and pits two arch-rivals against each other.
Canelo first reached out to Chavez Jr. when he was a young up-and-comer, but Chavez had his sights set on more established fighters at the time. Now, the deck has been flipped. Canelo was the A-side coming into negotiations and Chavez Jr. was the one battling for relevance.
In terms of boxing significance, there is very little on the line. There are no titles at stake and the fight will be fought at a catch-weight of 164.5 pounds.
As the son of the greatest Mexican fighter of all time, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has some big shoes to fill. He started his career well, claiming the WBC middleweight title and successfully defending it three times, but his lack of discipline was his downfall.
In 2012, he lost his title to Sergio Martínez, an opponent many felt he was more than capable of beating. His loss was attributed to his lack of focus and reckless lifestyle. He opened 2015 with his second career loss, falling to Andrzej Fonfara (via corner retirement), but has won his last two fights since.
According to his camp, Chavez Jr. has never been as focused and dedicated as he is for the Canelo bout. Of course, that’s coming from his own corner. They have also claimed that he’ll have no issue making weight, which he has had trouble with in the past.
Two areas where Chavez is guaranteed to have an advantage are height (6’1’’ to 5’8’’) and reach (185 cm to 179 cm). He should also step into the ring the heavier fighter. His bout with Fonfara was in the light heavyweight division. Alvarez has never had a professional fight above middleweight (160 pounds).
But Canelo is the big-name draw in boxing at the moment and comes in as the big favorite, despite being the smaller fighter. He’s earned his favorite status with a nearly unblemished record. His sole loss was to the undefeated Floyd Mayweather, and the 26-year-old is arguably in his prime right now. He’ll be the far quicker fighter when he and Chavez step in the ring.
You might assume Chavez, as the bigger man, has a puncher’s chance of ending the fight via knockout if he an connect on a power shot or two, but he doesn’t have a KO since he stopped Andy Lee in 2012, and Alvarez has never been knocked down.
That said, if Chavez’s preparation is going as swimmingly as his camp claims, then I think he’s got a real shot against Alvarez. Canelo will be fighting at a new weight and isn’t used to being the smaller, less powerful man. I think he’ll find a bout at 164.5 challenging, which puts value on Chavez.
Pick: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (+450)