Saul Alvarez made his professional boxing debut at age 15. He had nearly 40 fight before was legally old enough to drink in the United States. He is also the biggest box office star in the sport right now.
Alvarez has star appeal that transcends the usual mugs who follow the Sweet Science. A friend of my wife’s once gushed “he’s so cute” after walking into the room as he was giving his post-fight interview. The red hair that gives him his nickname Canelo (Cinnamon, in English) has been good for his career.
But make no mistake, Canelo earned his reputation in the boxing ring. He has defeated top super welterweight contenders like Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara. He defeated future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto in November 2015, to caputre the lineal middleweight crown. That fight was at a 155-pound catchweight and Canelo has never defended the title at the true middleweight limit of 160 pounds. Nevertheless, he has the lineal claim that runs in a straight line back to Bernard Hopkins.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the son of the greatest boxing star in Mexican history. His father once filled the legendary Estadio Azteca with 140,000 fans. That family name has earned Jr. opportunities he really didn’t deserve–and judging decisions, as well. He should have taken his first loss against Carlos Molina way back in 2005. He should have lost again in his first fight with Bryan Vera in 2013, after he repeatedly missed weight. At times, Chavez Jr. has looked a lot more like the lazy son of a rich celebrity than a hungry contender.
Still, he might just be an ideal opponent for Canelo on Cinco De Mayo Weekend. This is the greatest Mexican star of today against the son of the greatest Mexican warrior of all time. While Alvarez is the far better boxer, but he will be giving up substantial height and reach and fighting at a 165-pound catchweight, 10 pounds above the highest weight he has ever fought before.
This has the potential to be a real fight. The one thing Chavez the younger does share with his legendary father is a granite chin. He will eat uppercuts all night against Canelo, but that doesn’t mean he will not continue to come forward. Fans should remember his 2012 fight with Sergio Martinez. Martinez used him as a punching bag for 11 rounds before Chavez dropped the champ in Round 12 and turned it into the Round of the Year.