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Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. Preview Show (HBO Boxing)

By Dan Ambrose: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. seem to really want to settle their differences one and for all in their May 6th fight on HBO PPV at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canelo is saying that he’s really bothered by the things that Chavez Jr. has been saying about him for some time now. Canelo wants to get even with Chavez Jr. He says that his fight with Chavez Jr. is not a business fight like some boxing fans have been saying.

It’s personal for Canelo because of the things that Chavez Jr. has been saying, but also because it’s a rivalry between the two of them. Chavez Jr. was successful before found success. Chavez Jr. didn’t fight a welterweight to win his first title the way that Canelo did in fighting Matthew Hatton for the vacant WBC 154lb tile in 2011.

Chavez Jr. doesn’t like how he’s had live in the shadow of his famous father Julio Cesar Chavez his entire life. Beating Canelo will help Chavez Jr. carve out his own name in the sport, and finally enable him to get the credit that’s eluded him all these years. One reason why Chavez Jr. didn’t receive a ton of credit during his short reign as the WBC middleweight champion is because he didn’t beat a really good fighter to win the belt. He defeated Sebastian Zbik. Chavez Jr. only defended the title successfully 3 times before losing it to Sergio Martinez in September 2012. Chavez Jr. probably would have won that fight against Martinez if he had trained hard for it instead of going through the motions and working out lightly.

“For me, it’s personal,” said Chavez Jr. to HBO about his fight with Canelo. “I’m ready to make the next step in my career. This fight on May 6th is the most important fight of my life. I’ve been criticized too much for who I am. I’m the son of Chavez, and everything I do is double bad. When I do something good, it’s half. Since I was born, I don’t have a childhood. I never had a life. I’ve always been the son of Julio Cesar Chavez. Now in this fight I have my second chance. Anything can happen in life. It’s happened to me. I don’t think it’ll be a surprise. I think a lot of people think I am 100% to win this fight, and that’s how it’ll be. It’s the perfect time to show people what I see in myself,” said Chavez Jr.

Chavez Jr. is a big underdog in this fight whether he wants to admit that or not. The boxing public largely sees Chavez Jr. as a fighter that hasn’t done much in the last 5 years of his career since he lost to Sergio Martinez in 2012. You can only the success and the money that Chavez Jr. would have made between 2013 and 2017. If Chavez Jr. had been motivated, active and trained hard for all of his fights in the last 4 years, he likely would have won another world title and been involved ins some huge fights in boxing. Chavez Jr. hasn’t shown the ambition that we’ve seen from Canelo. He’s done a lot more with his career in the last 6 years than Chavez Jr., and that’s because Canelo wanted to accomplish great things. Canelo might not be as good as guys like Jermall Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Daniel Jacobs or Gennady Golovkin, but he’s still been able to find success facing other guys like Amir Khan, James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo and Liam Smith. In other words, Canelo’s promoter at Golden Boy has done a great job of matching him against beatable opposition.

“This is the type of fight that will motivate Canelo Alvarez and take him to the next level in terms of training harder, being smarter up in the ring, doing things correctly, making sure you’re in tip top shape for the fight; there are no excuses,” said Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions. “That’s who Canelo is. Canelo can’t lose, because the fighter that loses has to go back to Mexico and face his countryman. That’s why this fight is so intriguing and personal. Chavez Jr. is motivated. He is serious about this fight. There is fire in his eyes. Do not be surprised if Chavez Jr. can pull off the upset. What is at stake for Canelo is pride; it’s honor. That’s why this fight is so intriguing. It’s personal. Chavez Jr. is motivated. He wants to prove to everyone that he can do this. This is the fight that can turn Chavez Jr’s career around. If he beats Canelo, then Chavez Jr. becomes the iconic figure of all Mexico,” said De La Hoya.

I think De La Hoya is making more out of the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight than what is really there. If Chavez Jr. beats Canelo, it won’t make him an icon in Mexico. It’ll temporarily make Chavez Jr. more popular than he is now, but mostly it’ll just make some boxing fans question whether Canelo was ever good to begin with. Canelo has been matched very carefully by his promoters at Golden Boy. How else do you explain Canelo never having fought Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Julian Williams and Daniel Jacobs? Chavez Jr. would be expected by the Mexican boxing fans to turn around and prove that he can beat Golovkin, Jacobs, Jermall Charlo and all the top fighters from the 154lb division. In other words, all the fighters that Canelo never fought. If Chavez Jr. could beat all those guys, then he would likely be seen as a huge star in Mexico and the U.S. I just don’t think Chavez Jr. will fight all those guys.

“We’ve seen the best of Canelo in each of his fights, but we have not seen the best of Julio in a long time,” said Chavez Sr. “The well prepared Julio, concentrating and level-headed. This is the opportunity that he was waiting for to demonstrate everything my son possesses. I think this is the moment for Julio to shine. I think the fight with Sergio Martinez was one of the worst preparations for Julio. He would train any hour when he felt like it, did whatever he wanted, and logically, we expected it. The rivalry with Canelo has existed for many years. I think this fight is very motivational for my son. Logically, the favorite will be Canelo, because Canelo is more active, but the difference is the motivation of Julio. This is the moment I want him to reach. This is a moment he cannot waste, the very moment I have been waiting so long for,” said Chavez Sr.

Chavez Jr’s motivation for the Canelo fight might not be enough for him to erase the 5 years of him not training hard and fighting frequently. Chavez Jr. really eased off on his boxing career since the Sergio Martinez fight. Chavez Jr. is probably not going to be able to pick up where he left off in 2012 when he last trained hard for a fight with Andy Lee. Chavez Jr. isn’t as young as he was back then, and his stamina likely isn’t as good. He definitely looks slower than he was in the past. He was never fast to begin with, but he looks slower to me now.

“We are working to improve his defense a little bit,” said Chavez Jr’s trainer Nacho Beristain. “We are working to give him the discipline he needs to succeed in this fight. The one who has the most determination in this fight will win, not the best fighter. The one who has the more determination, because this is a rivalry between the two of them,” said Beristain.

Chavez Jr’s trainer Nacho Beristain wants to improve his defense as well as his hand speed. He’ll need to make huge improvements in his game for him to be able to beat Canelo.

“I am 26-years-old and I’ve fought the best fighters in the world. I’m the best,” said Canelo. “I’m training hard and I’m going to put all my mind and my ability in the ring for that win. Obviously, it will mean a great victory for me, to Mexico and to continue my legacy and make history in the sport. I’ve never had a rivalry like this. I’ve never felt this obsessed for a fight; obsessed not because of the rivalry, but for the fight, for what he does and he talks about me. So that’s why it is different. And this fight is for pride, much more than anything else. I come from the bottom, from a family that sold ice cream, who comes from nothing. Through building my own path, and thanks to God and to discipline, I am where I am, growing my own name and that’ what makes me really proud. This is not business; this is a fight, a real fight, because of the rivalry between me and him. A lot of things he said about me, for me it’s personal. Many things he said about me, that he’s going to knock me out. It’s a rivalry that comes from many years, and I really want the people to enjoy this fight. I’m training so hard for this fight, and I’m going to put everything in the ring for this fight, and I’m going to win for the people. I love to learn every day. I started in this sport not for money or for fame, but because I love the sport. The rest came later. Now it’s my job and I live for this, the desire, the hunger of triumph, the hunger of becoming a legend in the sport does not come hand in hand with having or not having money. That lives inside of me. I started in this sport because I want to be one of the best in history. Money obviously comes as a result, but to me that’s not everything. On May 6th, I’ll be throwing nothing but bombs,” said Canelo.

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