It was about 10 minutes after the fight ended Saturday night that the point of all this became clear.
When Triple-G entered the ring after Canelo Alvarez’s dismantling of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., it was obvious the lackluster fight staged Saturday night was an elaborate set-up, a press conference masquerading as a fight.
A hype video for the *next* fight was already playing and the display in T-Mobile Arena even had a date set: Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, Sept 16, 2017.
That actually explains a lot about the fight that took place Saturday night.
Experts had Chavez as a heavy underdog entering the fight. While enough money was wagered in favor of the 31-year-old Culiacan, Mexico native to close the gap to 4-1 odds in favor of Canelo, Chavez showed nothing to justify the raucous fan support he received all week.
Canelo won a unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring it 120-108, but that does little to underscore how one-sided and occasionally boring the fight was.
“I thought I was going to showcase myself as a fighter that could throw punches, but he just wouldn’t do it,” Canelo said.
Chavez seemed equally at a loss to explain his approach.
“I wanted to box but he went to the ropes and I just needed to throw more punches,” he said. “(Trainer Nacho Beristain) told me to do that but the strategy didn’t work.”
There was no way it was going to live up to the hype, of course. The battle between two Mexican fighters staged on Cinco de Mayo weekend was as much a celebration of Mexican boxing as it was a fight.
That celebration actually started a day earlier – on Cinco De Mayo – at the weigh in, when an estimated 5,000 fans packed one end of the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a chance to watch Canelo and Chavez take off their clothes and stare each other down.
By 8:15 p.m. Saturday, as the last of the undercards had wrapped up and the final pre-fight particulars took place, anticipation was palpable.
But once the fight started, it became clear that the bookmakers – who had Canelo as high as a 7-1 favorite this week – were spot on.
Canelo, 26, offered Chavez a steady diet of jabs that kept the larger fighter on his heels.
Chavez could only do damage when Canelo was pinned against the ropes, often landing combos to the smaller fighter’s body, but he was unable to put Canelo where he wanted and it cost him dearly.
Don’t feel bad: Chavez was guaranteed $3 million for showing up Saturday night, saved himself $1 million by making weight at 164 pounds and will receive millions more once the pay-per-view numbers are tallied.
But despite the intense fan interest in the matchup of two Mexican fighters, this week was all about the hype for the bout in September.
Canelo-Triple G: it won’t be hard to surpass Saturday night’s performance.