Rich Boxing Tradition Runs Deep in Chavez Family: But Canelo Emerges Victorious

By Christian Giudice on May 6, 2017
Rich Boxing Tradition Runs Deep in Chavez Family: But Canelo Emerges Victorious
There's nothing in Chavez Jr.'s arsenal that threatens Canelo at this point in his career.

To make Canelo respect him, Chavez must hit first and land combinations, specifically the lead left hook and the left hook to the body…

Looking back at Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. when he was in his prime can be an enlightening experience. For most boxing fans, the record and illustrious win streak solidified his boxing identity. The legacy, however, that he has established means so much more than the records and the titles. For so many young fans, Chavez Sr. is the reason why they love the sport. For those fans, who hung on every Chavez Sr. punch and feint, their boxing passion was defined by one man.

For any young fighter emulating the icon, charting a similar path is a difficult one—how do you match Chavez Sr.‘s competitiveness; his ability to close out a fight; his ambushing style; his unique movement, always in position to punch; his insatiable desire? There were so many great Mexican fighters before him. No one can forget the bantamweight king, charismatic Ruben Olivares, a Mexican icon who was beloved by anyone who saw him fight. So many were enamored by the power of Mexican king Carlos Zarate, or the grace and class of Salvador Sanchez.

Tonight, when Canelo Alvarez steps in against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. those same names will be mentioned as part of the deep Mexican boxing pantheon. Strategically, Chavez Jr. must exert his presence early and often in this fight. Appearing as the bigger fighter is one thing, but using his weight and height to his advantage is another. He can’t wait on Canelo, a notoriously slow starter, or give him time to get comfortable. Additionally, to make Canelo respect him, Chavez must hit first and land combinations, specifically the lead left hook and the left hook to the body. As far as the jab, Chavez Jr. likes to use it as a range-finder or distractor, but tonight he needs to use it as a tool to get inside. That’s where his fight has to be. He doesn’t have the movement to stay on the outside and stick and move.

Conversely, no one-punch approach has ever stymied Canelo. He may be moving up in weight, but he will adopt the same style—more head movement, occasional jab, straight right mixed with left hook, but the uppercut is his most lethal weapon, when he uses it. Opponents strive to get inside on him, but talking about getting inside is one thing, accomplishing that task is another. Each time that Chavez Jr. attempts to get inside, Canelo will be quick enough to offset that movement with a short hook or uppercut or even just sidestep him and counter. Over the years, Canelo has improved more as a fighter than any boxer in the sport. He no longer makes a lot of the same mistakes he did when he was younger.

Benefiting from Chavez Jr.‘s style as a plodding fighter, Canelo will urge him to stand and trade, or cut off the ring and trap him. Likewise, as an improved defensive fighter, Canelo can also make him miss. With a rock-solid chin, Canelo knows Chavez Jr. hits hard, but has not stopped anyone since 2012. One final point that may lead to Chavez Jr.‘s quick downfall is that he has no defensive strategy, utilizing little head movement while moving straight back against Canelo is a recipe for disaster.

Clearly Canelo’s biggest weakness stems from struggling with physically strong fighters who move well and can keep him off balance and out of rhythm with a sharp jab. That is not Chavez Jr. The 2011 version of Chavez Jr. may have been ready for an opponent of Canelo’s stature, but at this stage in his career, he has too many things working against him. Chin, speed, defense, power—it all favors Canelo.

There’s nothing in Chavez Jr.‘s arsenal that threatens Canelo at this point in his career and he is ripe for a mid-round stoppage.

Criticize the trajectory and decisions of Canelo’s career—and believe me it’s warranted with the catchweights and avoidance of Golovkin—but he understands what it takes to be a champion.

He gets it.

In the past, Chavez never did.

And it’s too late to summon it up for one night of glory.

ChristianGiudice@hotmail.com

#CaneloVChavezJr

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