By Dan Ambrose: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has received a reported $6 million offer from Golden Boy Promotions for him to fight Saul Canelo Alvarez on May 6 for a catchweight fight at 165 pounds on Cinco de Mayo.
It’s now up to the 30-year-old Chavez Jr. whether to accept the offer or not. He has only until next week to agree to it or get out of the way so that Canelo (48-1-1, 34 KOs) can challenge WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) on May 6 instead. Chavez Jr. has turned down huge fight offers in the past, so it’s possible he could turn down this one too.
Chavez Jr. is not in the greatest position right now to bargain with Canelo and Golden Boy. Chavez Jr. has only fought a handful of times in the last 4 years since his loss to Sergio Martinez, and he’s not beaten anyone good in many years. Chavez Jr’s popularity appears to have dropped off since his loss to Sergio Martinez four years ago.
Chavez Jr. just came off of a 1 ½ year layoff from boxing to beat Dominik Britsch by a 10 round decision in December. Chavez Jr. looked sluggish against Britsch, and showed no ability to push the pace of the fight. It looked like Chavez Jr. was conserving his strength for fear of gassing out.
Golden Boy wants Canelo to fight Chavez Jr. or Saunders in May followed by middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September and then Miguel Cotto in December. I wasn’t surprised at the news that Cotto is going to be squeezed in by Golden Boy for Canelo to fight in December. However, that fight is contingent on Canelo not taking a vicious beating by Golovkin in September and winding up cut up, injured or badly knocked out.
Golden Boy obviously isn’t going to risk their golden goose by throwing him in with Cotto if he takes a beating at the hands of GGG in September. They’re going to protect Canelo because he’s their money maker in the Golden Boy stable.
Canelo would likely have close to a 20 pound weight advantage over Cotto, but they’re still not going to put him in with the Puerto Rican star if he gets pounded badly by Golovkin. You can also bet that Canelo’s trainer has marching orders from Golden Boy to throw in the towel if he starts taking too bad of a beating by Golovkin.
They’re not going to leave Canelo out there to be pounded into the pavement by Golovkin if things start looking bleak for Canelo, which they probably will due in part to his bad habit of taking frequent rest breaks against the ropes. That’s a no-no when you fight Golovkin. He’ll obliterate you if you take rest breaks against him.
According to a source with ESPN Desportes, the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight could bring in over 1 million buys on HBO, and he could make up to $10 million for the fight against the Mexican star Canelo. Chavez Jr’s offer of $5 million is lower than Golovkin’s reported $15 million. It’s unclear if Chavez Jr. will be getting a percentage deal or not. It’s not likely that he will.
1 million buys for Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. is a very ambitious number. I’m not sure if there’s enough interest in the U.S in a mismatch between Canelo and Chavez Jr. on HBO PPV unless the price is dropped. It likely won’t. The Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight will probably go for around $65 on HBO PPV. For a fighter like Chavez Jr. who has only fought five times in the last four years, I think that’s a high price asking the boxing public to pay $65 to see Canelo fight him. It’s a mismatch on paper and likely in reality too.
The tight one-week deadline that Golden Boy is giving Chavez Jr. to decide on the $6 million offer is because they want to start negotiating with Billy Joe Saunders’ management as soon as possible to put that fight together if the Chavez Jr. match doesn’t get made. The World Boxing Organization made Canelo the No.1 WBO mandatory challenger to Saunders this week in pushing aside the previous No.1 contender Avtandil Khurtsidze in favor of Canelo. It was a move that some fans see as unfair to Khurtsidze, because he’s been the WBO’s No.1 contender for some time, and now he’s being pushed aside so that Canelo can fight for the title. Canelo hasn’t done anything to be given the No.1 spot. He vacated his WBC middleweight title earlier this year when the WBC ordered him to fight Golovkin. This came after Canelo defended his WBC title against welterweight Amir Khan in stopping him in the 6th round last May.
The catchweight of 165 pounds could prove difficult for Chavez Jr. to make, but with the money he’s going to get, he’ll likely find a way, especially if there’s a steep weight penalty involved in the contract for either fighter if they come in overweight. That penalty would obviously hurt Chavez Jr. more than Canelo, who has been fighting at catchweights of 155lbs for the last two years.
Canelo has no problems draining down in weight to fight at 155, so it should prove very easy for him to fight Chavez Jr. at a catchweight of 165lbs. Just how heavy Canelo will rehydrate to is open to question. He’s not weighed in on the night of his fights by HBO like he used to. Some in the boxing world think Canelo rehydrates into the 180s for his fights. It’ll be interesting to see how big Canelo and Chavez Jr. are on fight night. If both of them choose not to let HBO Boxing check their weights, we can only guess how heavy they are by looking at them.
It’s thought by some that Golden Boy wants Canelo to grab the WBO title before the Golovkin fight so that they can use the title as a bargaining tool to get their fighter a bigger cut of the revenue by showing that he’s not just a challenger. He’s also a champion. It’s also a bargaining tool because they realize how much Golovkin wants the WBO title, considering it’s the last of the middleweight titles not in his possession. If Canelo can get to the WBO title before Golovkin, then Golden Boy can potentially offer less money to GGG. If Chavez Jr. doesn’t agree to the Canelo fight offer of $6 million, then we’ll see Canelo fighting Saunders in May for his WBO title.