Canelo to face Chavez Jr. May 6 on HBO PPV at 164.5 pounds
Canelo Alvarez and promoter Golden Boy have stressed the importance of adjusting to 160 pounds and methodically building to a fall bout with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Now, with the choice of his next opponent, one could reasonably ask half-jokingly: Does Canelo want to jump to super middleweight or what?
In a bout that should be fun while it lasts and do big business, Alvarez will meet Mexican rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6 on Cinco de Mayo weekend on HBO PPV, Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya announced on a conference call Friday. The bout will be contested at a catch-weight of 164.5 pounds as Canelo rises from 154 and Chavez comes down from 168. While a site hasn’t been finalized, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas appears to be the leading candidate.
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez said that penalty clauses were added to the contract to ensure that Chavez, who has a reputation for not always committing himself to training, makes weight. “There’s provisions in there if he doesn’t make weight there’s going to be penalties,” Gomez said. “There will be significant penalties…for both sides.”
Canelo (48-1-1, 34 KOs) hasn’t yet made a decision on whether he will vacate his WBO 154-pound title, which he won on Sept. 17 against Liam Smith. A ruling on the belt will be made in the next few weeks. Gomez stressed the fight against Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs) will be a good way to prepare for Golovkin in the fall of 2017 because of the jump in weight. Golden Boy continues to negotiate with Golovkin, Gomez said.
“He’s a bigger guy,” he said of Chavez. “He’s right-handed, it’s a guy who’s not going to box or run. He’s going to be right in from of him so I think it prepares him very well. It’s not a similar style to Golovkin. I think Golovkin is a little bit better boxer but it’s a bigger guy who’s going to be throwing bombs.”
Canelo believes Chavez Jr., a former middleweight titleholder, is a credible opponent even though he has been mostly inactive in recent years and has been accused of cutting corners in his preparations. Chavez last fought in December against Dominik Britsch at 168 pounds, winning a decision, his only fight of 2016. He also fought just once in 2013 and 2014. “I just hope he trains well and he gets ready for this fight,” Canelo said. “I hope I face the best possible Chavez. I don’t want any excuses when I beat him.”
As for fans who might ridicule Canelo for jumping to 164.5 pounds to face Chavez when he and his reps insisted he had to settle in at 160, Gomez said that most will forgive him because of the significance of this match-up against Chavez Jr., the son of legendary Julio Cesar Chavez. “This fight transcends all that — championship, weight division,” Gomez said. “This is probably the biggest fight in the history of Mexico. It’s going to generate the biggest numbers ever and I think it transcends all of that stuff.”
Added Canelo of the rivalry, “It’s pride for me. Chavez has talked so badly of me for so many years that I want to give fans an opportunity to see this fight because I want to shut him up.”