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Kellerman & Lampley talk Canelo-Chavez Jr. and Golovkin

By Jim Lampley: Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman chimed in with their thoughts this week on the May 6th fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs), as well as the situation with middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) waiting on the sidelines hoping to get a fight with the redheaded Mexican star if he wins.

Kellerman sees the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight as serving a purpose for Canelo in giving him a big payday while at the same time buying him time to let the 35-year-old Golovkin age some more before he eventually faces him. Kellerman points that many boxing fans believe that Canelo took the fight with GGG there would be the possibility of him taking a beating in that fight. That was the shared thought that many fans had before Golovkin fought Daniel Jacobs last month on March 18.

Canelo facing Chavez Jr. will force Golovkin to have to wait and age while he waits for an eventual fight with the 26-year-old Canelo. If there is a rematch between Canelo and Chavez Jr. or even a third fights, then Golovkin will need to wait even longer for those fights to play out. We could be talking about Golovkin waiting until 2018. Golovkin might not age that much in a year’s time, but even a slight amount of aging could help Canelo get past him.

“He’s fairly active. Canelo has been active from an early age, and he’s been very serious about his craft, so he’s progressed,” said Max Kellerman on ‘Jim Lampley’s Fight Game’ on HBO about the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. fight on May 6. “He was talented and skillful, even when you were watching him on Youtube from Mexico. But he’s progressed since then. At 22-years-old, he fights Floyd Mayweather Jr., and sure, he got outclassed, but it was Floyd Mayweather at that early an age. He fought Miguel Cotto, and he’s a professional. He has respect for the game, so it’s respected him back. The skill advantage is there, particularly for Canelo when his opponents are coming at him, because Canelo has slick upper body movements, quick hands and accurate, sharp punches. He puts them together well. He doesn’t have the quickest feet in the world, but if his opponents are coming to him, he doesn’t have to worry about that,” said Kellerman.

There’s no question that Canelo has the advantage in overall boxing skills over Golovkin. That’s not even open for debate. Chavez Jr. is just a big banger, who uses his size, power and body punching to where down his opponents. Chavez Jr. doesn’t have fast hands, and his conditioning is questionable at this point given all the time that he’s had outside of the ring. Chavez Jr. has had weight problems in the last five years and he’s not been active like Canelo has.

On paper, this is the perfect fight for Canelo. His promoters at Golden Boy Promotions has picked out Chavez Jr. with care, making sure they chose him at the right point in his career with him clearly on the downside and not the fighter that he once was. Golden Boy has done a similar good job of picking Canelo’s opponents in selecting Amir Khan, James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo, Miguel Cotto, Kermit Cintron and Shane Mosley when all of them were going downhill and not looking like the fighters that they once were.

“It sounds great for Canelo, because Chavez Jr. doesn’t have any other options but to come right at him,” said Lampley about the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight. “We saw Chavez Jr. badly out-skilled for 10 rounds against a smaller fighter Sergio Martinez and then he almost knocked him out through his sheer force of his bigger body and his power. Could that happen in this fight as well?” said Lampley.

Chavez Jr. is the ideal opponent for Canelo to fight because he always comes forward, and he doesn’t have good footwork and doesn’t fight on the outside. Canelo has problems with fighters that jab and move around the ring. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Erislandy Lara gave Canelo fits in their fights. Even 5’7” Miguel Cotto was able to give Canelo problems when he was fighting on the outside during portions of their fight in 2015.

Unless Chavez Jr. changes his game by adopting the outside fighting style of Mayweather and Lara, then he’s going to need to somehow beat Canelo at his own game by slugging with him on the inside. Chavez Jr. will still have a chance of winning the fight, but he’s going to need to take a lot of big shots in the process of winning. It’ll be a fun fight for the boxing fans, but it probably won’t end well for Chavez Jr. He’s been well picked by Golden Boy. They know Chavez Jr. doesn’t have a lot of options in how to fight Canelo. He’s not someone that shown in the past that he can adapt in the way that Mayweather did to out-box Canelo. Chavez Jr. is going to likely fight Canelo’s fight on May 6th, and he could be sorry for it afterward.

“Sure, that’s the intrigue that Chavez Jr. will be coming with a huge size advantage, and will know how to use it,” said Kellerman. “But beyond that, just because Canelo has a skills advantage, it’s not as though Chavez Jr. is unskilled, because he is the son of one of the greatest fighters of all time, and he fights like him; a poor man’s version of it, yes, but still a poor man’s version of Cesar Chavez Sr. is still a very good fighter. And you see Junior with the timing on his shots. He’s able at times to make his opponents miss and expend energy to keep him off, and he’s able to counter somebody because of his timing, which is become of his skills. So you combine that in a large frame with a guy that can absorb punishment, even if he’s not adapt at cutting off the ring, and even if he’s not a very sharp puncher. He’s a big guy, a thudding puncher, and he figures out ways to land his shots. It’s one very interesting fight,” said Kellerman.

Canelo is going to try and use just enough movement to throw Chavez Jr. off, and prevent him from being able to wear him down with body shots. Chavez Jr. can still get the better of Canelo if he uses movement by jabbing him. We saw Chavez Jr. use his jab in his win over John Duddy years ago in pounding out a decision win, but that was back in 2010. Chavez Jr. hasn’t been nearly as disciplined in his fights since the Duddy match. But at least Chavez Jr. did shot in that fight that he can jab from the outside when he wants to. He has the reach and the jab to give Canelo problems if he stays on the outside all night long.

I don’t think he will though. It takes too much discipline to stick to a game plan for the full 12 rounds, and I don’t think Chavez Jr. can do that. His legendary trainer Nacho Beristain will give him an earful in between rounds in the Canelo fight in giving him great instructions, but it’s doubt that Cahvez Jr. will follow the instructions.

“The whole boxing world is waiting for when Canelo goes forward with his anticipated signature fight against Triple G,” said Lampley about the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. “Now all of a sudden seemingly on the door step of the Triple G fighting a guy that might outweigh him by 15 to 20 pounds in the ring, with all this Mexican emotion surrounding it, what’s the point? Why did he take this fight now?” said Lampley.

Chavez Jr. is definitely not going to outweigh Canelo by 15-20 lbs. like Lampley says. He might not realize it but Canelo has been a light heavyweight-sized fighter for a number of years already. He is said to rehydrate into the mid-170s for his catch-weight fights at 155. That’s 20 lbs. at the very least. Canelo might be in the 180s now. Chavez Jr. is down to 178. If Canelo comes into the fight on May 6th in the low 180s, then it will be him that will have the weight advantage in the fight. It might not be much of a weight advantage, but it will still be a weight advantage nonetheless.

“In the first place, it’s a big money fight,” said Kellerman about the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight. “Secondly, even if Canelo were to lose; let’s say that Canelo lost to Chavez Jr. There’s potentially a rubber match. ‘There’s gold in them there hills,’ and to say nothing of the fact, especially before the Danny Jacobs fight, a lot of people in boxing where of the mind that, ‘what if Canelo really takes a beating against Triple G?’ Well, this is a way where you don’t have to fight Triple G yet; at least not for a while, and Triple G just turned 35. So he’s going to ripen and rot on the vine while he waits for a Canelo fight, if it ever happens. That’s if Canelo loses to Chavez Jr. It doesn’t exactly work out badly for Canelo,” said Kellerman.

The chances of a rematch between Canelo and Chavez Jr. are very, very high. Golovkin is going to need to wait a while before he gets a fight with Canelo, because it’s probably not going to happen in September. Golovkin made a mistake by not realizing this and electing to fight Billy Joe Saunders in June like he had originally wanted.

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