LAS VEGAS — The animosity between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has been palpable for weeks leading up to Saturday night’s big Cinco de Mayo showdown at the T-Mobile Center here before a sold-out, frenzied crowd of 20,510 mostly Mexican fans.
And right on cue, Canelo came out with hate in his eyes and payback in his blue and white gloves. And he proved one thing: Size doesn’t always matter.
This night, it certainly didn’t. Those four inches of height and 10 or 20 pounds for Chavez meant nothing. And with the raucous crowd solidly in his corner, chanting Ca-Ne-Lo, Ca-Ne-Lo, Alvarez proceeded to take Chavez apart, punch by thudding punch, round by round, beads of sweat flying off Chavez’s head with every punch that Canelo landed, and there were many.
By the ninth round, Chavez’s face was clearly showing the beating Canelo was administering. His left eye was nearly closed, the right eye wasn’t far behind and he was bleeding from the nose. And his body had to hurt too, because Canelo pummeled it throughout the fight.
Canelo threw twice as many punches, 606 to 302, and connected on 228 to just 71 for Chavez.
When it was over, mercifully for Chavez, it was as one-sided as a big, highly anticipated fight ever gets. It was all Canelo, all the time. Chavez, who came in in the best shape of his life, had no answer. That is, no defense. Or offense, for that matter. While Chavez Jr. last all 12 rounds, it really didn’t matter. It was just more punishment that Canelo was able to inflict. And the judges had this one right: all three scored it 120-108, a whitewashing for Canelo, who improved to 49-1-1 with 34 KOs. Chavez Jr. fell to 50-3-1 (32 KOs).
“Tonight I showed I could move, I could box, I showed as a fighter I can do all things,” said Canelo. “I thought I was going to showcase myself as a fighter that could throw punches, but he just wouldn’t do it. I’ve shown I can do lots of things in the ring, anything a fighter brings—I’ve shown I can showcase myself. I wanted to try something new, I never sit down in sparring and I didn’t want to sit here.
“GGG — you are next my friend. The fight is done. I’ve never feared anyone, since I was 16 fighting as a professional. When I was born, fear was gone. I never got my share of fear. I’m very happy, and the rivalry is going to show my skills even more. I’ve had difficult fights, and that will no doubt be a tough fight. But, I always say, Canelo Alvarez is the best because I fight the best.”
Yes, the long-awaited Canelo-GGG fight is a done deal for Sept. 16, likely in Las Vegas but, as Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said, he’s already fielded calls from around the world, such as Dubai and England. It could end up at the T-Mobile on Mexican Independence weekend. Canelo has been criticized by many of his Mexican fans for ducking Triple G but no more. The deal was signed and sealed last week, according to Golden Boy Promotions. Golovkin came into the ring after the fight to share in the announcement of the fight.
“I feel very excited, right now is a different story. In September, it will be a different style — ca big drama show,” Golovkin said. “I’m ready. Tonight, first congrats to Canelo and his team. Right now, I think everyone is excited for September. Canelo looked very good tonight, and 100 percent he is the biggest challenge of my career. Good luck to Canelo in September.”
The top storyline coming into Saturday’s fight was the high degree of animosity between the two most popular fighters in Mexico. Chavez Jr., born into boxing royalty, son of the greatest Mexican boxer of all time, and Canelo, the self-made, red-headed star and the face of boxing in the USA. When it was over, there was no hugging between the men, as is the trademark of sportsmanship in this brutal sport. Just two fighters walking away from their grudge match. But Chavez later praised his foe.
“Canelo beat me, he beat me at the distance,” Chavez Jr. said. “He is a very active fighter — he’s very good and he beat me. I wanted to box but he went to the ropes and I just needed to throw more punches. If I would’ve attacked more I would’ve been countered by his punches. (Trainer) Nacho (Beristain) told me to do that but the strategy didn’t work. The speed and the distance was the key. I didn’t feel that much power because I felt (my strength) had dwindled, I couldn’t throw as many punches as I wanted. My father kept telling me to throw more punches from the ringside.”
Now the fighters will head in different directions: Canelo on to boxing’s biggest stgae, and Chavez Jr., well, who knows where.