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Golden Boy planning Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. for early 2017

Image: Golden Boy planning Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. for early 2017

By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions are working on putting together a clash between Mexican fighters Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and former WBC 160lb champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) for the first half of 2017. Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez says they’re in talks with Chavez Jr. for the fight against Canelo. He’s pretty excited about the possibility of making the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight, because he believed it would be a huge one in the boxing world. Gomez says that Chavez Jr. is interested in the Canelo fight. It would be at a catchweight of possibly 163 or 164, a weight that Chavez Jr. would likely struggle to make.

Canelo-Chavez Jr. wouldn’t do much to build up a fight between Canelo and Golovkin later in the year. Chavez Jr. looks worse now than James Kirkland. Golovkin will be doing his part to make a fight against Canelo big by facing Daniel Jacobs, but Canelo would be taking the easy path once again by taking on Chavez Jr.

This would arguably be a step down for Canelo from his last mismatch against WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith, who Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said repeatedly that he was the best fighter in the 154lb division. Liam Smith is not the best fighter in the division, and it was embarrassing to see how bad he looked in his loss to Canelo last September. Canelo doesn’t seem to be too interested in competitive fights any longer, because the last one he had was against Erislandy Lara in 2014.

This would be a mismatch due to Canelo still being a relevant fighter and Chavez Jr. a guy whose careers has evaporated completely since his loss to Sergio Martinez in 2012. There would be interest from many of the fans in the U.S and Mexico to see Canelo and Chavez Jr. face each other, because Chavez Jr. is still relatively popular due to his famous father Julio Cesar Chavez. The boxing fans remember Chavez and they want to see his son Chavez Jr. in hopes that he can become a star just like him. Unfortunately, Chavez Jr. has shown very little of the talent of his famous father despite getting a lot of help from him. Chavez was just a much better fighter than Chavez Jr. can ever hope to be.

It’s still a question mark whether the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight can get made for 2017. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya is talking about Golovkin needing to accept an offer made to him, and it doesn’t sound like Golden Boy are treating him as someone that is worthy of parity in the negotiations. Golovkin is not just the champion; he’s a three-belt champion.

Canelo is just the challenger. Golden Boy will likely try and change that before the fight is made by having Canelo face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders so that they can pick up title from him. Canelo would then go into the fight against Golovkin as a middleweight champion, albeit with just one title. Golovkin might need to accept a much smaller slice of the financial pie for him to get the fight against Canelo. Just how much smaller is unknown. If Canelo is going to make between nine and ten times the amount that Golovkin gets for the fight, then it’s not going to be worth it for GGG to take the fight. That’s why when you hear De La Hoya talking about having Canelo get a 90-10 split of the revenue for the Golovkin fight, you have to shake your head and wonder how serious he is making the fight. You have to remember that Canelo is likely having fans follow his mismatches against Liam Smith, Amir Khan and now potentially Chavez Jr. because the fans think that Canelo will be fighting Golovkin in September. It works in Golden Boy and Canelo’s favor to have the fans thinking that there’s going to be a fight between him and Golovkin in 2017. We saw how Manny Pacquiao was able to get a lot of PPV buys for his many mismatches before his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. That fight didn’t take place for years, and yet the fans believed that the fight was just around the corner. In the meantime, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum put him in long series of mismatches against guys like Joshua Clottey, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri.

If the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight gets made, it would come before the Canelo vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin match-up next year. Golden Boy wants that fight to take place on the Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend in September 2017. It’s still unknown if the Canelo-Golovkin fight can get made given that Golovkin is being offered a flat fee rather than a percentage of the revenue for the fight.

Gomez said this to the about wanting to put the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight together:

“We’ve been talking, it’s a real possibility and we hope we can get it done,” Gomez said. “There’s interest on both sides. I know it’ll be an explosive fight. As a Mexican American, I’m proud because it’s the two biggest names in Mexico – the two best fighters from Mexico at the moment – and whenever the two top Mexicans fight each other, it’s a huge event.”

Canelo-Chavez Jr. would be a similar fight to Canelo’s mismatch against a faded and rung rusty James Kirkland in 2015. Like Chavez Jr., Kirkland was a good – but terribly flawed fighter – many years ago, but through inactivity and aging, his boxing skills eroded. By the time Kirkland was selected by Golden Boy to fight Canelo last year, he looked nothing like the guy that had people talking earlier in his career in 2008 and 2009.

Chavez Jr. appears to be over-the-hill at this point in his career. He’s looked really bad in his last six fights since 2012. Chavez Jr. looked good beating Andy Lee in 2012, but he’s gone downhill in every fight since then against Sergio Martinez, Brian Vera, Andrzej Fonfara , Marcos Reyes and Dominik British. Chavez Jr’s fight against Britsch took place on December 10 this month. Chavez Jr. won the fight by a 10 round unanimous decision at the Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Chavez Jr. looked slow, easy to hit, and not at a world class level.

Gomez is going a little bit overboard when he says Canelo and Chavez Jr. are the “two best fighters from Mexico.” I don’t think Canelo and Chavez Jr. are the two best fighters in Mexico. Canelo has already been beaten once and some think he should have lost to Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.

Canelo is a good fighter, but he’s never fought Golovkin or Jermall Charlo. Golden Boy seems to have steered Canelo around Jermall, and it looks to some boxing fans that they’re waiting Golovkin out so that he’s old enough for Canelo to have a chance. I think these Mexican fighters are more talented than Canelo and Chavez Jr: Carlos Cuadras, Francisco Vargas, Orlando Salido and Juan Francisco Estrada. Those guys obviously aren’t as popular as Canelo and Chavez Jr., but they have more talent. If you were to reduce Canelo and Chavez size and put them in with those guys, I think they would lose to them.

“You have my word, and Canelo is not afraid of Triple G. September, we’re hoping he signs the contract and it will happen,” said De La Hoya on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday.

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