For boxing fans all over the world, there is no better way to celebrate Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo weekend than by watching Saul “Canelo”Alvarez take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 7 (Manila time) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The two will fight at a catchweight (164.5 pounds) and there are no world titles at stake but it is one of the most keenly-awaited matches this year because when two Mexican warriors fights, they don’t need anything else other than pride to power them.
Immediately after Alvarez successfully defended his WBC middleweight title against Amir Khan in last year’s Cinco de Mayo weekend, the governing body gave him and his team two weeks to sign an agreement to fight Gennady Golovkin in what could be the biggest fight in boxing. However, Alvarez thought that the deadline was too soon especially because his team was doing though litigation for a court case.
Instead of succumbing to the WBC’s demands, Alvarez decided to relinquish his middleweight title. Canelo then moved down the super welterweight division and won the WBO title against Liam Smith of the United Kingdom. Then it was time to start planning for his next big fight.
“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,” said Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions. “People know this is an all-out action-packed war.”
De la Hoya deemed it a civil war as the Mexican people will be divided on whom they will be siding with. Alvarez is seen as the face of Mexican boxing today. However, the Chavez name will always be revered in Mexico. So there will be fans who have always been loyal to Alvarez cheering against him in this fight.
“On my behalf, I’m going to do everything on my side to make this one of the most historic fights in Mexico,” Alvarez said in the final presser before the fight. “We will be ready on Saturday (Sunday PH time). Every fight is very important to my career, and this fight is no exception.”
Canelo has a record of 48 wins with 34 knockouts. The only blemishes in his career were a draw very early in his career and a loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. He has taken on all comers, which has endeared him to fight fans. He holds win over Carlos Baldomir, Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, and Miguel Cotto which helped turn him from a local hero to a worldwide name.
Chavez, on the other hand, has compiled a record of 50 wins with 32 knockouts against 2 losses. In the past few years, his issues outside the ring have dominated the conversation about the Son of the Legend. He was fined and suspended in 2013 after his fight with Sergio Martinez after failing a post-fight drug test.
Upon his return, Chavez struggled to make weight in multiple fights, leading to fans questioning his drive to stay in the sport.
With this upcoming fight against Alvarez, Chavez could answer a lot of questions and erase a lot of doubt.
“I feel ready and happy that the fight is only a few days away. I came here to win, not just to fight,” said Chavez. “Everything has already been said; we’ve all spoken; and I’m here to win this great fight.”
“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,” added de la Hoya. “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.”
For the sport, it’s a great follow-up to last week’s event that gave heavyweight boxing its new face in Anthony Joshua. There are a lot of big fights that could be in store for the winner of this match although they could end up facing each other again because of the rematch clause.
The Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight card will be telecast on TV5 on Sunday starting at 1:00 P.M.