It’s not often that a post-fight announcement overshadows the fight that just happened, but that’s how it went down Saturday night on HBO Pay-Per-View when Canelo Alvarez beat Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. then lined up Gennady Golovkin for September.
That speaks to how bad Saturday’s main event was, in part. Although it also shows how much people hunger for Canelo vs Golovkin, long the most desired fight in boxing.
Alvarez, fighting above his usual weight at 164, dominated Chavez, fighting below his usual weight at 164. It was ridiculously one-sided. The thinking that Chavez’s size advantage would matter just proved unfounded.
To be fair, most people bought into that line of thinking only if they were blind Chavez adherents or simply hoping that their $70 would be well-spent. It’s also not out of the ordinary that a monster box office match-up between two Mexican star names would produce a little bit of aspirational daydreaming.
Canelo started comparatively hot, almost a little angry, at his long-time rival for Mexico’s affections. He was very sharp, as is his wont. He bloodied Chavez’s nose early. He ended up winning every round.
Chavez simply turned in a pathetic performance. The days of Chavez as legit contender are pretty far back in the rear-view mirror. He began his career not looking like much in the ring (although he often carried a heavy load from training poorly, so in a sense, he looked like too much). He had about two years, let’s say 2010 to 2012, where he demonstrated he could maybe pull off a real run. Then he went back to being fat and lazy and got KO’d two years ago.
So, yeah, this felt like a last attempt at squeezing as many dollars as his team could out of a guy who has just been fighting on his name. But he hardly even fought Saturday. Through four rounds, Canelo had averaged 21 punches landed; Chavez averaged 21 punches thrown.
Even when, in the middle rounds, Canelo baited Chavez to chase him to the ropes where the larger man has traditionally done his best work, Chavez refused. There was talk before the fight that he’d use his length to box in the middle of the ring, but if that was really the plan, it was a bad one. Mostly, Chavez looked all fight long like he just didn’t want to be there. You gotta wonder if he ever fights again.
It’s almost like the promoters of this event knew Chavez wouldn’t win, because right after the fight, Canelo said he would next face middleweight terror Golovkin. Somewhat ridiculously — only somewhat because, hey, ambition is absent in boxing — Golovkin even had a post-fight ring walk to his usual “Seven Nation Army” walkout song.
Canelo-GGG might be a little past its best sell-by date, as fans get exhausted praying for a fight that has been too long in the coming and turn their attention elsewhere. But it’s probably at its best match-up date, with Canelo still growing and the aging Golovkin showing some vulnerability lately. The expected Golovkin blowout is no more. It’s not quite too little, too late. Betcha this fight between boxing’s biggest Western Hemisphere star and the hardcore fan favorite does boffo business and gets a ton of hype.
(LAS VEGAS: Canelo Alvarez (R) punches Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. during their catchweight bout at T-Mobile Arena; Al Bello/Getty Images)