By: Jerome Souza (@FirstClassBox)
On May 6th, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will move up ten and a half pounds to take on a former Light Heavyweight title challenger in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs). Can Canelo stop Chavez Jr. is the big question. Canelo’s lone loss came at the hands of undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather who put on a boxing clinic against Canelo. Throughout the majority of the fight, Alvarez missed frequently while Floyd landed with accuracy and ease.
Chavez Jr has lost twice. The first loss came during a middleweight title fight against the crafty southpaw Sergio Martinez. Chavez Jr. knocked down Martinez in the 12th round and came very close to a last second stoppage. In his second loss, Chavez Jr. jumped up to a catchweight of 172 pounds to take on Andrzej Fonfara. Fonfara ended up landing twice as many punches and forced Chavez Jr. to the canvas for the first time in his career. After nine rounds, Chavez Jr. stayed in his corner leading to a Fonfara TKO victory. It took a light heavyweight to knockdown Chavez Jr. Sergio Martinez couldn’t do it and he’s had a career of superb knockouts over other middleweights. Can Canelo have the same success coming up ten and a half pounds? Is Canelo simply taking this fight to get used to power from a super middleweight in order to prepare for Gennady Golovkin’s power?
In terms of Chavez Jr’s drop down to take on Canelo, division weight drops don’t always work out for the boxer shedding the majority of the pounds. After beating Bernard Hopkins at 175 lbs, “Bad” Chad Dawson made it known that he wanted to take on Andre Ward, a super middleweight. In September of 2012, Dawson cut an additional 7 pounds and traveled to Ward’s hometown. In front of a hostile crowd in Oakland, CA, Dawson’s 5.5 inch reach advantage didn’t make much of a difference. Dawson he was dropped multiple times by Ward leading to a 10th round TKO for Ward.
Manny Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez at 130 lbs, then went up to 135 lbs and knocked out David Diaz. Oscar De La Hoya came up short against Bernard Hopkins for his middleweight (160 lbs) title. A year and a half later, De La Hoya fought at 154 lbs twice (Mayorga, Mayweather) and 150 lbs (Steve Forbes) before challenging Pacquiao at 147 lbs. Though weighing in at 145 lbs, a drained De La Hoya couldn’t handle the power and speed of Pacquiao which forced De La Hoya’s corner to stop the fight after round 8.
The exact same thing can be said for fighters jumping weight classes. In May of last year, Amir Khan moved up 8 pounds to take on Canelo Alvarez. After boxing very well against Canelo, Khan was a victim of a devastating counter right in round 6. Four months later, Kell Brook moved up two weight classes, 147 to 160, to take on undefeated Gennady Golovkin. Brook, like Khan, also found success early. Golovkin’s overall power was too much for the smaller Brook who suffered a broken orbital bone resulting in a TKO victory for Golovkin in round 5.
Since Canelo and Chavez Jr. is taking place at 164.5, the two can be looked at as meeting in the middle. Chavez Jr. has went through multiple trainers and has been criticized in the past for not taking training seriously. However, Beristain seems to have Chavez Jr. on the right track. It could also be said that the one-million dollar fine per pound over weight would also be an obvious motivator for Chavez Jr. Next month, we will see if Chavez Jr. can turn in body once again into championship form and if Canelo can take the power and possibly display true power himself against someone who weighs more than 160 pounds.by