"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
~Mike Tyson

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Canelo/Chavez Jr. Analysis and Fight Prediction

Money, That's Why!

Photo: goldenboypromotions.com
On Saturday, May 6th 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (48-1-1) squares off against the once much ballyhooed Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1) in a fight that will be contested at a catchweight of 164.5 lbs. This fight, let's face it, is really only happening because it's an all Mexican fight on Cinco De Mayo weekend. Other than the money it stands to make in this regard there's really no rhyme or reason for this fight. Chavez Jr. is a fighter who's greatest asset is his last name and in Canelo we have a fighter who has earned a bachelors degree from  the"University of Mayweather Boxing Business" (he's working on his Master's). He and his handlers have used this education to carefully craft a career and make more out of something that would look much more average without it. Canelo has done and continues to do everything he can to avoid fighting at 160 lbs, moving both up and down to avoid a fight with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Sure Canelo is a good boxer but he's certainly more sizzle than steak. Unless you're the type of fan who gets caught up in the nationalism of the sport, there isn't much intrigue in this fight. In fact, the most intriguing aspect of this bout is waiting to see just how depleted Chavez Jr. is at the weigh-in and just how much he rehydrates on fight night.

Word of the day:
"semblance"
I don't believe in mincing words so I'll be direct here. Canelo vs Chavez Jr. is an absolute mismatch and it's certainly not a fight worth paying for. Even at his peak Chavez Jr. was average at best. I'd go so far as to argue that he was the epitome of mediocrity in the sport during his heyday. The majority of Jr's success has come as a result of not his skill or talent but by grossly outweighing his opponents on fight night. A weight bully through and through, as he has moved up in weight he has looked less and less effective as a fighter. Julio's lack of dedication and questionable training are also well documented.

Like Jr., Canelo's career is largely smoke and mirrors but he is the better boxer in this fight and better by a mile. Canelo has the better skills, the better resume, and isn't the fighter whom twice struggled with journeyman Brian Vera. At least Canelo beats the journey he faces decisively...most of the time. More to the point, Canelo isn't the one whom must cut weight having to come down from the Light Heavyweight division nor was he stopped by Andrzej Fonfara just 3 fights ago. Although Canelo is a biannual fighter, he'll still be the more active fighter entering the ring on May 6th, yet another advantage he'll have over his countryman. Don't let all of the hype surrounding the fight make you believe this is anything other than a showcase fight for Canelo. Yes, Alavarez is moving up in weight but the ginger is more than comfortable at this weight as it's much closer to his natural weight than say 155 lbs is. I expect the added weight to be beneficial to Canelo rather than detrimental. Canelo will have more energy and will be the healthier fighter because of the added weight. Chavez Jr. will be draining himself to make the 164.5 lbs limit and will suffer physically and mentally as a result.

The Fight Itself

It will look a lot like this
Photo: http://bltdsports.com
I expect this fight to look eerily similar to Canelo vs Kirkland. Being the bigger man, expect to see Chavez Jr. try and use his size to his advantage. There will be plenty of leaning in, on, and attempts to out muscle Canelo. I think Canelo sits back and employs the same game plan he utilized against Kirland here. Julio will try and drop his payload on Canelo in the early rounds and then gas in either round 3 or 4. At this point Canelo will open up on an exhausted Julio and drop him with something to the body. Following this knockdown I think Chavez Jr. gets up but doesn't recover and eventually gets stopped the following round. 

Chavez Jr. Keys To Victory

Canelo has every advantage, save for size, in this fight. Speed, power, skill, talent, athleticism, accuracy, everything goes to Canelo. Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. must use his size to great advantage if he is to have any hope of winning this fight. He'll need to use this sole advantage to disrupt and even shut down Cinnamon's offense. Jr. will need to take it to Canelo on the inside, employing plenty of holding, shoving, pushing, leaning, and of course digs to the body. If Julio can keep Canelo's work rate to a minimum and do damage on the inside he has a chance, albeit a small one, of pulling off the upset. Chavez's only hope of winning comes in making this an ugly and dirty fight.

Canelo Keys To Victory

Against Chavez, the Guadalajara native need only be himself. So long as he doesn't succumb to bravado and/or make a stupid mistake Canelo can easily counter punch his way to a stoppage or KO victory on Saturday. Canelo can capitalize on Julio's emaciation, lack of energy, lack of pop, inactivity, and soft boxing skills to make short work of his opponent. Canelo should make the bulk of his work body work if he wants to make this a short night. Not that he can't win head hunting against Jr. but Julio's lack of energy and severe weight drain can be exploited and exacerbated by some solid body work.

Winner: Canelo by KO in round 5.

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split Decision Boxing. He can be reached on Twitter or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.

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