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Chavez Jr. to start training for Canelo fight in mid-February

Image: Chavez Jr. to start training for Canelo fight in mid-February

By Dan Ambrose: According to coach Memo Heredia, he will start training camp with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) in early to mid-February to get him ready to make the 165 pound catchweight for his fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) if the fight gets made for May 6.

Negotiations are still underway between the management of Chavez Jr. and Canelo. Chavez Jr. has been given a $6 million offer that he and his management must make a decision on by this week for them to get the fight against the 26-year-old Canelo Alvarez on Cinco de Mayo on May 6.

Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy already have a backup plan in case Chavez Jr. doesn’t accept the $6 million guaranteed offer. WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) is the Plan-B for Canelo to fight on May 6. It’s not a great opponent or one that will interest the U.S boxing fans, but it’s a fight that Canelo can definitely win with a high degree of certainty.

It’s also a fight that will give Canelo an opportunity to win the WBO 160lb belt, which is important so that he can gain some leverage to get a bigger cut of the revenue against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin for a fight in September next year. Without the WBO title, Canelo is just a contender. With a title, it makes the fight a unification fight. Canelo doesn’t come into the fight in a point of weakness as just a challenger.

It’s going to be tough for Chavez Jr. to take off the weight to get down to 165lbs. Chavez Jr. looked badly drained in coming in at 168lbs for his recent fight this month on December 10 against Dominik Britsch (32-3-1, 11 KOs) at the Arena Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico.
Heredia said this to ESPN about Chavez Jr. preparing for the Canelo fight:

“If the fight is concrete, I would like to start preparation on February 6 or 15, as to the physical part so that Julio can reach 165 pounds that is being talked about,” said Heredia. “I would like to have the camp starting in Sinaloa and finishing in Toluca or even better in the Otomo Ceremonial Center, especially if the preparation is done in Mexico. We’re always looking for height,” Heredia said.

Chavez Jr. is going to have a devil of a time trying to squeeze down to 165lbs to make weight for the catchweight fight against Canelo. If Chavez Jr. is watching his weight right now to make sure he doesn’t get too heavy before he starts training camp in February for the Canelo fight, he might find it an impossible task for him to get down to 165 without putting his health at risk. What we don’t want to see is Chavez Jr. fainting from the weight draining process in the last 24 hours before a fight against Canelo, considering that would put the fight at risk of being canceled.

If Chavez Jr. is going to be dropping between 20 to 30 pounds to make weight for the Canelo fight, it’s going to be very hard for him to fight effectively. I don’t think that’s even really up for discussion. Even if Chavez Jr. were able to make weight at 175lbs for this fight, I don’t think he’s going to be effective in the ring on fight night against Canelo.

It’s too many years of inactivity for Chavez Jr., and his weight has fluctuated too much during that time. The Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight is more about business than sport in my opinion. It’s a mismatch, but it’s one that will make both fighters a lot of money. The Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight is expected to bring in over 1 million buys on HBO PPV. Who will purchase the fight? Canelo’s fans mostly, I guess. It’s doubtful that the hardcore boxing fans will want to pay their hard-earned money on plunking down $65 to see Canelo obliterate Chavez Jr. on May 6. The fans that follow the sport of boxing already saw Chavez Jr. quit last year in his fight against Andrezj Fonfara after getting knocked down in the 9th. Fonfara is no world beater either, and he had an easy time totally dominating Chavez Jr. from start to finish. It wasn’t just that Chavez Jr. didn’t look well trained. He was so slow of hand and foot, and very easy to hit by Fonfara. Chavez Jr. was trained for his last fight against Dominik British this month, but he was still very, very slow and easy to hit. Chavez Jr. would have a lot of size over Canelo if that fight gets made. Chavez Jr. is 6’0”, whereas Canelo is listed at 5’9”. However, Canelo’s true height is probably more than 5’8”. He wasn’t taller than the 5’8” Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their fight 2013. Unless Canelo has grown since then, he’s going to be the same 5’8” fighter that Mayweather dominated. Chavez Jr. might be able to squash Canelo with his size, but I tend to doubt that.

Canelo is in his prime right now, and Chavez Jr. appears to have passed his prime six years ago when he fought John Duddy in 2010. That was the best possible Chavez Jr. I’d ever seen before. Chavez Jr. looked great in that fight. Unfortunately, Chavez Jr. never looked nearly as good since then in mowing down a lot of guys just on size rather than talent.

It’s going to make Canelo look more than a little bad in fighting Chavez Jr. at 165 pounds, when he wouldn’t fight Golovkin at 160. It would make Canelo look like a cherry-picker in the minds of some boxing fans. It’s doubtful that Canelo will lose any sleep over bring criticized by the fan, because he seems to be marching to the beat of his own drums. He’s going to do whatever he feels is right for his own career. If that means fighting at catchweights and vacating his WBC middleweight title to avoid Golovkin, then so be it. Canelo will do what’s right for his career, and it’s up to the boxing fans to decide whether they want to follow his fights and pay to see him.

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