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Commentary: Canelo-GGG saves Canelo-Chavez Jr. from being forgettable

Photo by Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
07
May

It was supposed to be a fight for Mexican pride between the son of a legend and a legend in the making. But all Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. delivered was a 12-round commercial for the fight everyone has been waiting for: Canelo vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin on September 16.

For 36 minutes, the 20,510 fans crammed in the T-Mobile Arena that were expecting an entertaining fight between Canelo and Chavez shouted their disapproval of what was taking place in the squared circle. Canelo (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) was who we thought he was as he used his superior hand speed and footwork to outclass his opponent for every second of the fight.

As for Chavez Jr. (50-3-1), he was who we thought he was, as well, despite his looking the part by making weight and being in arguably the best shape of his career. However, he looked sluggish and lost against a nimble fighter as Canelo moved around the ring and plucked him at will with the jab. It was yet another letdown that had the fans who cheered for him early on berating him with boos and foul language. Another listless performance on a night where you can argue that Chavez pulled off the year’s biggest bank heists by raking in a guaranteed $3 million payday without having a significant win in over five years.

But most thought that Chavez could have made it interesting given his height, reach and size advantages. Also, it was assumed that he would be motivated like no fight before this considering that it was truly his last stand as a fighter of significance. He had the opportunity to prove his skeptics wrong but simply showed up to be used as a human piñata on Cinco De Mayo weekend.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

“Canelo beat me, he beat me at the distance. He is a very active fighter—he’s very good and he beat me,” said Chavez. “I wanted to box but he went to the ropes and I just needed to throw more punches. I would’ve attacked more I would’ve been countered by his punches. Nacho told me to do that but the strategy didn’t work. The speed and the distance was the key. I didn’t feel that much power because I felt dwindled, I couldn’t throw as many punches as I wanted. My father kept telling me to throw more punches from the ringside.”

He clearly didn’t throw enough as Canelo dominated the Compubox scores by landing three times as many punches (228-71) while also throwing twice as many punches (606-302). It was as one-sided as the punch stats would lead you believe and perhaps even more disappointing to see play out in the ring.

It was a disappointing show for the bloodthirsty fans who came to see a war. But that certainly wasn’t Canelo’s fault. The 26-year-old boxed brilliantly behind a snapping jab that set the tone in the opening minute of the fight. With Chavez unable to do anything to stop the jab, Canelo slowly began to open up his offense by cutting loose combinations to the head and body. With Chavez unwilling to fire back, Canelo continued to ramp up the offense by adding an uppercut to his arsenal.

“Tonight I showed I could move, I could box, I showed as a fighter I can do all things,” said Canelo. “I thought I was going to showcase myself as a fighter that could throw punches, but he just wouldn’t do it. Ive shown I can do lots of things in the ring, anything a fighter brings—I’ve shown I can showcase myself.”

Chavez’ reluctance to engage was a bit of a surprise as the rounds went on and he sank deeper and deeper into a hole that only a knockout could dig him out of. It was eerily reminiscent of his listless first eleven rounds he fought against Sergio Martinez in 2012. However, there would be no heroic comeback in the 12th round from Chavez. To make it entertaining, Canelo would go as far to invite Chavez to hit him as he languished on the ropes but the son of Julio Cesar Chavez simply couldn’t (or wouldn’t) pull the trigger.

Honestly, the only drama in the fight came between rounds as Canelo refused to sit on the stool. Like the stool, Canelo would remain untouched for much of the fight. “I wanted to try something new,” Canelo said. “I never sit down in sparring and I didn’t want to sit here.’

The 120-108 scorecards weren’t much of a surprise after such a one-sided fight. But the big surprise came afterward when a video package played on the big screen announcing that Canelo and GGG will finally square off on Sept. 16 at a location that has yet to be determined.

The announcement came with a WWE-style flare as Golovkin entered the ring from backstage to meet his opponent as smoke and confetti sprayed throughout the arena. With speculation that the fight could happen later this year, the visual of the two fighters in the ring came as a pleasant surprise after such an underwhelming fight and clearly stole the show.

With the fans roaring their approval, both fighters made statements about the forthcoming September showdown that is easily the biggest fight that can be made in boxing.

“I feel very excited,” Golovkin said. “In September, it will be a different style—a big drama show. Canelo looked very good tonight, and 100 percent he is the biggest challenge of my career. Good luck to Canelo in September.”

As for Canelo, he didn’t shy away from letting his opponent in September know what he was facing.

“GGG—you are next my friend,” Canelo said. “The fight is done. I’ve never feared anyone, since I was 16 fighting as a professional. When I was born, fear was gone. I never got my share of fear. I’m very happy, and the rivalry is going to show my skills even more. I’ve had difficult fights, and that will no doubt be a tough fight. But, I always say, Canelo Alvarez is the best because I fight the best.”

Although boxing fans didn’t get their pint of blood with Canelo-Chavez, the mere thought of what’s to come in September almost makes what was seen in the ring forgivable.

  • Joey Junger

    Friday night on ESPN I thought Teddy Atlas gave Chavez a game-plan for his only chance to be competitive or exciting against Canelo (not sure if he could have won): forget your height and reach advantage and get inside and slug. Why Nacho came up with a counter-intuitive plan to box from the outside was beyond me. Chavez could have definitely used an infusion that only an Atlas-style pep talk would have brought to the proceedings, between rounds. Teddy could have waxed eloquently about how J.C. was dishonoring his father and his country, and just maybe, maybe, he would have propelled Chavez to at least gut it out in the last three or four rounds in a way that would have made everyone forget the proceeding eight or nine rounds. But Chavez ain’t got the heart to be a fireman. He owes the fans $60 bucks each.

  • cl_rand

    The Ring rankings are completely bogus. They list Canelo Alvarez as middleweight champ ahead of GGG at the time listing GGG as the #3 pound for pound fighter ahead of #8 Alvarez.

    • DougWilsonFan

      C’mon, you’re better than this. You are comparing apples and oranges. The pound for pound is a mythical list voted on by various boxing personalities. The Ring rankings are governed by actual results and the old philosophy that until you beat The Man you can’t be The Man in a weight class. Due to Canelo’s victory (I believe against Cotto) he became the linear titlist and hasn’t been beaten since. I agree if you are saying that GGG is a better fighter but I don’t think you can take a man’s title by a popular vote. That’s fine for imaginary lists like P4P

    • Mariano Alonso

      it makes no sense.
      so a fighter “A” is better than fighter “B” in middleweight division, but fighter “B” is better than “A” in p4p list? it has no sense.

      • DougWilsonFan

        No, Fighter A has the linear title in the middleweight division and fighter B is generally thought to be better. That is why fighter B ranks higher in an imaginary class (P4P) picked by votes, not in the ring

  • Michel Desgrottes

    Fight was a waste of time

  • TNT

    I watched the match on the Mexican television network Azteca with commentary by Ricardo Lopez coupled with guest commentary by Juan Manuel Marquez. It was nothing more than an expensive sparring session (as was the previous match pitting the hard-hitting Canadian against a no-hoper Mexican). Following the fight I had no clue that Canelo would face GGG nor that GGG entered the ring. Azteca only showed us some interview with Canelo OUTSIDE the ring in which Canelo made a vague reference to “the fight everyone wants to see.”

  • badhombrebigdo

    Truly one of thee worst PPV fights we’ve seen in awhile. I won’t hold Chavez with the sole blame either. Berestein is foregone… he needs to hang it up. The strategy for the fight couldn’t have been worse. Nacho’s ego told him that he was a great enough trainer that he could teach a guy with little to no boxing acumen how to be a boxer good enough to hang with the best boxer-puncher in Mexico right now in the span of one training camp. It’s laughable, and I was hoping that Chavez would wake up and just say “stuff it”, and start to do his own thing. He never did, he followed all of his corner’s silly directions sans ‘throw more punches’ to the bitter end and he was routed for it.

    I also think it’s time that Julio become his own person. He’s chasing his father’s legacy too hard. Has been for far too long. He’s never going to be him, and that’s evident now. It’s time to go to your natural weight, start over, do things your way, and roll the dice. People will still pay to see Chavez fight in the future, just not at this weight or on expensive Pay-Per-View’s, but he can still get work. He can thank his father for that; he will always have his name. And, his purse that he will collect from tonight’s fight (that he erroneously bet Alvarez before the bout, in full, should he lose) is 3 million dollars. Even after paying his promoter, trainer, lawyer, and everyone else in his pocket’s, he’ll have more than enough money to choose his path in life going forward. Maybe that’s the reason why he isn’t hungry, maybe it’s just for the best, as he has a wife and young daughter at home.

    There’s a certain severity to the cruelty in boxing, like no other you’ll find in different sports. It calls for men, often from the most desperate backgrounds to enter into a ring of combat and prove their manhood, skill, worth and dignity over and again in the form of hand to hand combat. Most regular men shudder at the idea, and for good reason. That lifestyle eats you up, inside and out, and transforms who you are. It’s Chavez’s understandable and logical reasoning to not place himself in harm’s way, not to get hurt and to coast inside the ring last night that could potentially exile him from boxing. He committed the ultimate sin for a fighter to commit in the eyes of other fighters; he didn’t leave it all out there. He had gas in the tank, and he sat on his hands. He backed up all night and wouldn’t throw any shots of meaning. He knew his biggest moment under the lights were coming and he slept through it. As aforementioned, your average person couldn’t even do what Chavez did for a single round, much less a whole fight, and they’ll be the one’s who can’t understand the most. Because Chavez is cursed. Since he was born it’s been his cross to bare that a whole nation of fight fans would attempt to live through him, as they did his father, who supplied them with enough glory for three lifetimes. Chavez Jr. has with this showing alerted them all that there will be no sequel to the illustrious career of Mexico’s Caesar.

    • TNT

      In previous interviews Don Ignacio was blunt in stating that his current charge (the undisciplined Chavez Carrasco) had at best nearly 40% chance of winning the fight. And even this decree was luke warm as if Don Ignacio added some extra degree of hope that not even he was willing to accept but spouted for fear of contradicting the premise of PRIZE FIGHTING.

      Don Ignacio’s pupils are boxers. The boxing world knows this. And Chavez and co understand this as well. If anything Chavez was provided with a strategy that enabled him to not receive as much punishment had he opted an all out frontal assault a la cave man style. One can hardly fault Don Ignacio for Chavez performance–as Chavez’ boxing prowess is mediocre, which is hardly the fault of a man who only had two months of work with an already old (in boxing terms) student.

      Chavez spent years lowering and rising in weight (under extremely questionable circumstances), under-training, and fighting tailor-made opponents. That type of lifestyle catches up to any pugilist. During his first loss was against a physically smaller man he mustered some form of power (given his weight advantage) but has been unable to equal such a feat in the higher weight classes (as most of us assumed would be the case). Chavez Carrasco should end his career now or at the very least against easy opposition so that he preserves his health while he still has it in tact.

  • Wilfredo Vega

    Next for Canelo is GGG on Sept.16,2017. My pick for that bout is Canelo by a close 12 rounds dec. over GGG. GGG is going to be 36 years old soon and looking slower and Canelo is only 26 years old and getting better every time I see him fight since the Mayweather bout loss.

  • J rock

    Sad to see Gamboa lose such wasted talent