Will Canelo/Chavez Jr. Also Be an “Epic” Fight?

By Robert Ecksel on May 5, 2017
Will Canelo/Chavez Jr. Also Be an “Epic” Fight?
If the word “epic” is used again, check your wallet before calling for an investigation.

Being a good or great fight is no longer enough. It has to be the biggest. It has to be the best. It has to be, in other words, “epic” …

Last weekend’s fight at Wembley Stadium between IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) and former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), which ended with AJ stopping Dr. Steelhammer at 2:25 of round 11, was satisfying in many ways. There was blood. There were knockdowns. The bout was more or less competitive. But the torch had already been passed when Tyson Fury outpointed Klitschko 17 months earlier to win the titles in Düsseldorf.

That didn’t, however, stop the superlatives from flying fast and furious. One of Showtime’s talking heads said during Saturday afternoon’s broadcast that Joshua-Klitschko it was the “best heavyweight fight in decades.” Then, on HBO’s delayed telecast that same night, Max Kellerman, whose enthusiasm knows no bounds, called the fight “epic,” which was parroted so often that it had the ring of truth. The fight was many things, almost all of them good, but “epic” wasn’t among them.

Although the “epic” meme related specifically to the fight between Joshua and Klitschko, another potentially “epic” fight takes place this Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a fight televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View, when Canelo Alvarez (41-1-1, 34 KOs), the hard-hitting redhead from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs), the mercurial son of a legend from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, in a non-title bout.

The opening bell has not yet sounded and no punches have been thrown, but hyperbole is the name of the game. Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya, who is also subject to unchecked enthusiasms, has deemed the bout between Canelo and Chavez Jr. “the biggest fight in Mexican history.” De La Hoya knows better, but he is a promoter and promoters are as often as not unreliable when it comes to veracity. For those inclined to disagree, Bob Arum’s “Yesterday I was lying, but today I’m telling the truth,” uttered under oath during a deposition, pretty much says it all.

“People know this is an all-out action-packed war,” said De La Hoya. “We haven’t had a fight like this in years; it’s a true Mexican civil war. Given the obvious Cinco de Mayo date and the bad blood between the boxers, I think it is safe to say this is the biggest fight in Mexican history. To give you an idea of how big this event is, let me give you some numbers. This will be the most attended indoor fight in the storied Las Vegas fight history with more than 20,000 in attendance. The fight sold out in 10 days, and we opened up more circuit-viewing theaters for everyone to watch on fight night in Las Vegas at MGM properties. Fight fans in six continents will be able to watch the fight with the HBO platform and streamed live on goldenboyppv.com giving anyone with a phone or laptop the ability to watch.”

Statistically, those factoids suggest that the contest has the potential to be one of the biggest fights in Mexican history. But it is facing some stiff competition. Dollars and cents aside, making a declaration of that sort in advance is something of a fool’s errand, as countless presumptive fights of the year ended up being duds, as least from the perspective of fans who felt they had been had.

That is not to say that this weekend’s fight between Canelo and Chavez Jr. won’t be a good fight. It will be a good fight. It might even be a great fight. But simply being a good or great fight is no longer enough. It has to be the biggest. It has to be the best. It has to be a record-shattering, jaw-dropping, nail-biting, edge of your seat kind of fight. It has to be, in other words, “epic,” if it’s to have any meaning at all.

It used to be that having a title at stake was enough to give a boxing match heft. But even that concept has been abandoned, at least in this bout.

To remedy the fact that Saturday’s contest in a non-title affair, the WBC created what is in effect a fake belt, the so-called “Huichol Adolfo Lopez Mateos” belt, which Canelo has flat-out refused to accept, while lambasting the sanctioning body in the process.

Reacting to being told what to do, Canelo relinquished his WBC middleweight title rather than fight Gennady Golovkin. The WBC then gave the belt to Triple G, a move which still stings the hypersensitive red-haired wunderkind.

“I won that belt with blood, sweat, sacrifice, a great training camp, by beating Miguel Angel Cotto,” Alvarez told the LA Times. “When I vacated it, they gave it to the other guy like that, without making him drop a bead of sweat. He didn’t even go through a single training camp and they gave it to him. They put it on the table. That’s not an organization you can respect…I just don’t want anything to do with the WBC!”

Canelo may change his mind. After all, a mind is a terrible thing not to change. But with no hardware in the offing, the fight between him and Chavez Jr. will have to be judged on its own merits. That won’t be difficult. Belt or no belt makes little to no difference when determining the quality of the action. But be forewarned. If the word “epic” is used to describe the fight, check your wallet before calling for an investigation.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Canelo/Chavez, Jr.: A Fighting Tradition – Full Show (HBO Boxing)

Mano A Mano - Canelo vs Chavez Jr (English)

Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. Preview Show (HBO Boxing)

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  1. Lucas McCain 04:02pm, 05/06/2017

    Sports Illustrated’s cover headlined Ali-Frazier 3 as the “Epic Battle,” but in that case, it may have been justified.  I was attending a series of Homer lectures at Berkeley then, so it was a memorable coincidence.  But I have to agree with you about Joshua-Klitschko.  An exciting match, one you might discuss with, if not quite up there with Holmes-Norton and Bowe-Holyfield, or the wild non-title Foreman-Lyle.  But most grand pronouncements are sales pitches for what we can sell you next.  Gotta be used to that by now!

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:24pm, 05/06/2017

    @Alt Knight-Yep!

  3. Alt Knight 10:15am, 05/06/2017

    Those thoroughbreds are some beautiful creatures. Speaking of thoroughbreds, you have me watching some vids featuring Ms. Schippers. Damn, amazing athlete.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:12am, 05/06/2017

    @Alt Knight-I’m taking one eyed Patch @ 15 to 1 as a tribute to Harry Greb! Which reminds me….guy from Victorville goes to Vegas with his brothers for what I guess you would call a bachelor party. Standing in line to get into a club downtown…..maggotshit walks up to him and pulls that “why you lookin’ at me” shit and sucker punch kills the father of five. Still can’t figure why his brothers didn’t do more! Video shows maggotshit hoppin’ and skippin’ away up Fremont St. Lots and lots of shittyass crime in Vegas!

  5. Alt Knight 07:35am, 05/06/2017

    Irish…That is one athletic female. A modern day female version of Bruce Jenner. Oops. Going with Irish War Cry for the win in the Derby. Who knows? Junior via decision tonight.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:52am, 05/06/2017

    Could give a fuk less if Dafne Schippers is gay as fuk…..where the fuk is her male counterpart…..Godammit! Where!

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:27am, 05/06/2017

    I predict a stinker like Parker/Cojanu…..no…..wait….we’re talking about Mexicanos here not Kiwis and Gypsys for Christ’s sake! Then again it will probably be a shocker like Gamboa/Castellanos Actually that was a no-brainer because Robinson is a for real bad to the bone bastard and quick twitchy Gamboa just isn’t   OK? BTW wasn’t it the Gamboa beatdown that closed the deal on Crawford being the nest Mayweather?! Red will probably take him out with a body shot early rather than later.

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