Contributor: Nolan Howell
It was billed as the battle for the “Heart and Soul of Mexico” Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez sought to further solidify his claim to being one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the game against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., a fighter with flashes of brilliance that are hampered by not living up to his potential in the ring and on the scales.
From the opening bell, it was clear who truly was the face of Mexican boxing as Canelo routed Chavez Jr. Chavez Jr. is best suited to using his size and power inside to wear down fighters, but his trainer Nacho Beristain had a gameplan that Chavez followed “into oblivion” as commentator Jim Lampley put it. Trying to boxing with the superior technician in Canelo, it was twelve rounds of target practice.with Chavez turning into the walking bull’s eye.
Canelo had everything going throughout the fight, with a stiff jab pushing back the taller Chavez. When Chavez pushed forward, Canelo would pepper him with right uppercuts as he ducked in. Chavez had his best success pressing Canelo against the ropes, forcing Canelo to play an unsuccessful game of rope-a-dope momentarily before Chavez backed off into Canelo’s wheelhouse.
The final decision was a unanimous shutout for Canelo. After the fight, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin stepped into the ring and made the verbal agreement to what boxing fans have clamored for. GGG vs. Canelo appears to be next up in what could be considered boxing’s first superfight since Mayweather vs. Pacquiao finally came to fruition two years ago. Chavez was at the very least a tough out Saturday night and could trouble anyone if he shows up motivated with the proper gameplan, but that is an iffy proposition.
Elsewhere on the card, David Lemieux was unable to put away Marcos Reyes, but picked up a decision win. Lemieux damaged any chance at a super middleweight showdown with Canelo in the process as many figured this to be an easy showcase to demonstrate the Canadian’s power. Lucas Matthysse bounced back impressively with an fifth-round TKO of Emmanuel Taylor in welterweight action, while Joseph Diaz took home an easy decision against Manuel Avila for the WBO NABO and the NABF featherweight belts.
-Nolan can be reached @undercardnolan or at firstname.lastname@example.org.