Chavez Jr. wants Canelo fight

By Boxing News - 11/11/2016 - Comments


By Dan Ambrose: Former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is targeting a fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the near future. Chavez Jr. (49-2-1, 32 KOs) reportedly wants to fight Canelo at a catch-weight of 164 pounds.

The fight would likely need to take place in 2018 unless Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy want to have it take place in September 2017. With Canelo saying he’s not a middleweight, it might look kind of odd if we see him all of a sudden fighting at 164 against Chavez Jr.

It wouldn’t be a big deal though, because many boxing fans believe that Canelo rehydrates into the 180s for his fights. Canelo’s rehydrated weight hasn’t been reportedly lately by HBO on the night of his fights.

At this point, Canelo would likely easily beat Chavez Jr. with his size, power and speed. In the past, Chavez Jr. might have been able to hang on long enough to wear Canelo down with body shots, which seems to be his worst enemy. But with Chavez Jr. having looked so bad in his last five fights, he would likely have no chance of beating Canelo. It would be a money fight and little more than that. Canelo would move up to super middleweight for the one fight to face Chavez Jr., and he would then move back down in weight afterwards.

Chavez Jr. has a fight next month against #11 WBO super middleweight contender Dominik Britsch (32-2-1, 11 KOs) at the Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. The fight is Chavez Jr’s first since his win over Marcos Reyes a year and a half ago in July 2015. Reyes was pulled up from the middleweight division to fight Chavez Jr. at 170. It’s unclear why Chavez Jr. chose to fight a middleweight rather than a super middleweight, because he moved up to the division three years ago in 2013.

Chavez Jr. has yet to fight his first super middleweight after three years. Britisch will be his first 168lb fighter. That’s kind of sad news, because usually when a fighter moves up in weight, they fight the guys from that division instead of pulling fighters up in weight from the division they left for two years.

Chavez Jr. said this to about his wish to fight Canelo Alvarez:

“It would be a fight for the people, for the Mexican public,” Chavez said. “I imagine they want to see it. I do not know if there is a lot of interest, but I think it might be attractive. And on the weight, I think it would have to be negotiated. I can make 164 pounds for Canelo.”

I think Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy would jump at the chance of fighting Chavez Jr. If this were four years ago when Chavez Jr. was in his prime at middleweight, then I don’t think Golden Boy would have taken a risk of matching Canelo against him. But after four years, it’s pretty clear that Chavez Jr. is not the fighter he was back when he fought Sergio Martinez and Andy Lee.

Chavez Jr. wasn’t a bad fighter back then. He was a flawed fighter that could be out-boxed, but he wasn’t a bad fighter. What helped make Chavez Jr. so good was his size, chin and body punching. There weren’t too many middleweights in the division back then that could punch to the body like Chavez Jr. except for Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, who wasn’t that well known during that time.

It would make Golden Boy and Canelo look really bad if they skip past the Golovkin fight and take on Chavez Jr. at 164. It would give a lot of boxing fans the impression that their only focus is money rather than the sport. Chavez Jr. is probably not going to be a factor at 168. He’s talking about wanting to win a world title super middleweight after one or two more fights.

That’s hard to believe, because there aren’t any easy options for Chavez Jr. to fight for a title right now. They’re all good fighters. Chavez Jr. would be out of his element if he rushed into a title fight in 2017. He’s been out of the sport for too many years, and it’s not likely that he’s going to be able to get back to the level he once was. The boxing fans want Chavez Jr. to be able to come back and be the fighter he was in 2012, but it’s not likely to happen.

Even when Chavez Jr. was at his best, he would have still struggled badly against the likes of the top super middleweights of this era like James DeGale, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Badou Jack. It would make news for Chavez Jr. to be able to turn his career around to become a champion again, but it’s not likely without perhaps him winning by a good old fashioned controversial decision against one of them.

“My goal is to fight in one or two fights for a world championship,” Chavez Jr said. “I want to be a champion again, but if there is a major fight with Canelo, with Golovkin, of course, I would take it.”

Chavez Jr. vs. Canelo would be little more than a money fight. That’s all it would be. Canelo hasn’t even moved up to 160 yet, and it would look bad if he moved up to super middleweight immediately to fight Chavez Jr. We heard all the excuses from Canelo and Golden Boy in the last year that he’s not a middleweight. If he was to move up to super middleweight to fight Chavez Jr, it would give the impression that Canelo was always a super middleweight in weight instead of a 154lb. Canelo is a fighter that is just very good at melting down in weight and then rehydrating to put the weight back on.

Chavez Jr. lost his WBC middleweight title to Sergio Martinez in 2012 in getting beaten by a 12 round unanimous decision. Chavez Jr. subsequently failed a post-fight drug test and wound up being suspended. He came back to the sport a year later and struggled badly in beating middleweight Brian Vera by a controversial 10 round unanimous decision in September 2013. Chavez Jr. appeared to lose the fight in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, but the judges gave him a controversial decision. The fight took place at an incredible 172lbs. Chavez Jr. had gotten bigger.

It’s probably not a good idea for Chavez Jr. to overlook Britsch, because he could lose to this guy. As bad as Chavez Jr. looked in his last two fights against Marcos Reyes and Andrzej Fonfara, it would not be surprising to be if Chavez Jr. lost to Britisch. He was a good fighter in the past, but he’s been out of the sport for way too long.

If Chavez Jr. wants to be taken seriously in a fight against Canelo, then he should put together a half dozen wins at least, and capture a world title against the like of Zurdo or the winner of the DeGale vs. Badou Jack fight. If Chavez Jr. can beat one or more of those fighters, then I think he would be ready to try his hand against Canelo. The fight would be taken seriously at that point by the boxing public rather than being perceived as a money grab by Canelo and Chavez Jr.