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WBC creates belt for Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight

Canelo Alvarez Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

By Dan Ambrose: Two months ago in February the World Boxing Council revealed that they would be creating a special commemorative belt for the May 6th contest between Mexican stars Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and sure enough, that’s what the WBC sanctioning body has done.

The winner of next month’s Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight will be awarded the “Don Adolfo Lopez Mateos belt after their fight. There’s no word yet whether there will be a sanctioning fee attached to the winner of this special commemorative strap. It would be interesting if the winner of this specially created belt will start defending the belt. I imagine the WBC would need to create an entirely new ranking system for the new belt.

I think that would confuse the boxing public if the new belt was added to the existing WBC, IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO titles in each division.
The addition of a special belt for the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight isn’t really needed. It’s a fight that the boxing fans are either interested in or not. Adding a specially made up belt isn’t going to validate the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight.

The fight is already a strange one in the minds of a lot of fans due to it taking place at a catch-weight of 164 ½ pounds instead of in a traditional weight class. Creating a whole different weight for the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight makes it an odd setup. When you add the weight penalty for the fight, which is rumored to be $1 million per pound, it really makes the fight look strange.

The choice of Chavez Jr. for Canelo to fight instead of a stop middleweight like Gennady Golovkin is even weirder. At least Canelo could have selected a good middleweight to fight instead of a fringe contender at super middleweight in Chavez Jr.

The 26-year-old Canelo Alvarez will be moving up in weight 10.5 lbs. from his weight class of 154 to fight Chavez J. at the 164.5 pound catch-weight. Chavez Jr. will need to drop 3.5 pounds from his normal weight class of 168. A lot has been made about Chavez Jr. possibly draining himself in getting down to the catch-weight limit, but I don’t think that’ll be the case. Chavez Jr. is already 15 pounds away from the 164.4lb limit for the fight, and he’s used to cutting more than that when he was fighting at middleweight. He should be able to drop the last 15 lbs. of water weight without too many issues when he dehydrates the week of the fight.

Canelo and Chavez Jr. will be fighting on the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo on May 6th. There will be a lot of Mexican boxing fans tuning in to watch the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight on HBO pay-per-view in the U.S. This is a historic fight, and is seen as the greatest fight in Mexican history. I’m sure there are a lot of fans that would argue against this, as Chavez Jr. has not been a fixture in boxing for many years. He’s been living off of his past accomplishments and some say his famous father’s name for years now.

Chavez Jr. has a reputation for being an undisciplined fighter. That’s a point that Canelo has been driving into the earth by discussing it with the boxing media. The question is why did Canelo choose to fight Chavez Jr. if he really sees him as an undisciplined fighter. It kind of reflects on Canelo for taking the fight with him, because it suggests that he was looking for a guy that he can get an edge against rather than fighters that are well trained and extremely dedicated to their craft like Gennady Golovkin.

Chavez Jr. has one of the best trainers in the sport in Nacho Beristain, who is no nonsense type of old school trainer. If Beristain can’t get the best out of Chavez Jr. then no one can. Chavez Jr. is likely going to be in the best shape of his life. Beristain will have the 30-year-old Chavez Jr. at his best both mentally and physically for the Canelo fight. What Beristain can’t do is act as a Fountain of Youth for Chavez Jr. to bring him back to the 25-year-old fighter that came close to knocking out a prime Sergio Martinez in 2012.

If Chavez Jr. was physically the same fighter now than he was in 2012, Canelo would be in for a really tough time on May 6th, especially with Beristain as the one training Chavez Jr. With Beristain as Chavez Jr’s trainer for the Canelo fight, it’s possible that he could even make 160. Beristain and the superb strength coach Memo Heredia would get that weight off of Chavez Jr.

As flawed as the redheaded Canelo has looked recently, you can’t rule out an upset in this fight by Chavez Jr. It’s unlikely to happen simply because of the 5 years of Chavez Jr. fighting irregularly and battling weight issues, but there’s still a possibility. Canelo is basically the 2017 version of Chavez Jr. from the past. In other words, Canelo is a fighter that drops a ton of water weight to fight lighter guys than himself the way that Chavez Jr. did when he was fighting at middleweight.

Canelo has already been beaten in the past by Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he’s had 2 other fights in which you can argue that he lost as well to Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout. Chavez Jr. is still a world class fighter at this point in his career, but he’s just not a really good one. If Canelo wanted to impress the boxing world by taking on a super middleweight, he would have picked out Badou Jack or James DeGale. Those guys would have made it tough on Canelo. What made Chavez Jr. good in the past when he fought at middleweight was his weight advantage over his opposition.

But ever since Chavez Jr. moved up to super middleweight, he’s not had weight advantages over his opponents, and this has clearly prevented him from being the fighter he was in the past when he would use his hulking size to dominate lighter opponents. Hitting guys the same size as him at super middleweight is a much different situation for Chavez Jr. than hitting fighters that are 15 to 20 pounds lighter than him at middleweight. Canelo is likely experience the same problems when he starts fighting guys his own weight at middleweight.

If Canelo doesn’t get his opponents to melt down below the 160lb limit, then he could start taking losses one after another at middleweight, because he’s not the type of fighter that can be counted on to beat guys his own size. Canelo is the favorite in the Chavez Jr. fight, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to get his hand raised at the end of the fight. Chavez Jr. has the potential to beat him because these two guys are mirrored images of each other in terms of what they’ve used to succeed in boxing.

What’s interesting is that Canelo may end up being the slightly heavier fighter when he gets inside the ring on May 6th despite hi moving up in weight 10.5lbs from the junior middleweight division. It’s really 9.5 pounds because Caneo has been fighting at his specially created 155lb division for the last 4 years.




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