Members of the boxing media had until Monday, April 17 to apply for credentials to the upcoming Cinco de Mayo (weekend) showdown between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
The May 6 bout was officially declared a sold out event a few weeks ago and now, if we’re to believe what has been relayed to us by an ever boastful promoter, then the average fan will be hard-pressed to find even a screen in Las Vegas upon which to view the contest. The “somewhere between middleweight and super middleweight” contest carries with it a catchweight (there’s that word again) of 164.5 pounds.
On the one hand, there may be those among us who are happy to know that the on and off, nearly decade long hammerlock upon the two biggest holidays pertaining to Mexico and its militaristic might have been wrested from the one man whose name has become synonymous with May and September. It’s quite hard to believe that ten years ago this May, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. hit the pugilistic jackpot by way of a slim victory over Oscar De La Hoya.
De La Hoya may have been the one credited with at least giving a push to make the weekend closest to May 5 one which carried with it a great night of boxing, at least for promotional purposes. In 2002, he defended his welterweight titles against Luis Ramon “Yori Boy” Campos by way of a seventh round TKO victory. Two years later, we were treated to what became the stuff of legend, if not heated arguments when Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez embarked on his historic quadruple header against Manny Pacquiao. None of us will ever forget what took place on May 7, just one year later.
If the epic first clash between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo doesn’t get the soul stirring, then not much ever will. The 6th of May in 2006 saw the aforementioned De La Hoya take care of the always brash and obnoxious Ricardo Mayorga. Then, 2007 rolled around and well, we know the rest of the story.
Manny Pacquiao destroyed Ricky Hatton in less than two full rounds on May 2, 2009. Floyd Mayweather took care of Shane Mosley in May 2010 and Pacquiao did the same one year later. Miguel Cotto (May 2012), Robert Guerrero (May 2013), Marcos Maidana (May 2014) and lastly, of course Manny Pacquiao almost two years ago adorned Floyd’s unbeaten boxing ledger until he called it a day in September of 2015. The biggest reason for mentioning all of these contests is simply because now that Canelo is the “face” of Mexican boxing, he’s been handed another heavy bag of which to dispose for the second straight year. Last May, Amir Khan found out the hard way that jumping up two weight classes and fighting an individual considerably larger than him can end in a good night’s sleep for all the wrong reasons. Now, Canelo is set to face someone who, frankly has no business being handed such a golden opportunity after so many avoidable and careless mistakes.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., as we all know is the son of an all time great. With all due respect to anyone who has the brass to enter the ring, the bulk of little Julio’s professional record is as fluffy as a bucket of fresh popcorn. The powers behind “Canelo vs. Chavez” are banking on the fact that two Mexican combatants will face each other for a change as opposed to any other nationality. Much like what we saw when Alvarez faced Mayweather in September of 2013, the nationalist leg was pulled to its absolute fullest. The fight broke records but set just one record straight and the odds are that we’ll get much of the same next month. It may be interesting to see how the T-Mobile Arena is split on the evening of May 6th. Will there really be a 50/50 crowd?
Chavez, Jr. fell short five years ago in his quest to unseat Sergio Martinez, but then he laid an egg against Austin, Texas fighter Brian Vera and was handed the most eloquently wrapped of gift decisions. Andrzej Fonfara made him quit in September 2015 and since returning to the ring, he’s not fought the competition that warrants a date with Canelo, especially since we’re beginning to be put through the all too familiar waiting game. We’d hoped since last May that Alvarez would fight Gennady Golovkin and no one else. Instead, he knocked out Liam Smith last fall and well, here we are. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Really? The same fellow who failed a post-fight drug test more than once and had no amateur career? Canelo at least had a brief stint in the amateur ranks.
In the end, perhaps only money matters and there appears to be no end in sight in terms of how much this heap of table scraps will earn. We have Canelo on one side, who insists he came from nothing and had to fight his way to the top. The opposite corner has someone who grew up wanting for nothing. However, it’s all fair play. If there are those among us who cannot wait for the bell to ring on May 6, then by all means, enjoy your night. Across the border in Mexico, there may be an interesting split amongst the people of the land, who by the way don’t have to shell out sixty dollars or more to watch the fight on TV. Much like the crowd may indeed be in Vegas, fans are clamoring to see one really kick the other’s keister into next week. Much like the New York Yankees, these two gents might be either adored or scorned in their homeland, but come one, come all to Las Vegas. Get the bets in.
Source: Marc Livitz/ boxing.com