Canelo Battles Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas on Saturday Night (May 6, 2017)

The “Cinco de Mayo” weekend usually means big-time boxing, and 2017 is no different as Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1) faces fellow countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1) in a battle for bragging rights that goes beyond just south of the border. The fight is at a catchweight, and there are no real belts involved, but the gravitas around the fight is real for both men.

Alvarez appeared on two HBO Pay-Per-Views last year, against Amir Khan and versus Liam Smith, although the combined sales of both PPVs did not reach 1 million buys. In taking a rivalry fight against the son of a Mexican legend, Canelo is hoping to get his PPV sales numbers back up. Though Chavez Jr. has won 50 fights and held world titles in his pro career, he has never really escaped the shadow of his legendary father, and the past few years have been plagued with injury, inactivity and motivational questions. Critics of Alvarez say he avoided the fight until now, when Chavez Jr. is not viewed as being at the top of his game.

Chavez Jr. did fight in December of last year when he took a wide unanimous decision against Dominick Britsch in Monterrey, Mexico, but prior to that he had been off for 18 months. Chavez Jr. needed this fight, and there is a chance that he enters the fight more motivated than ever. His father is a Hall of Famer and perhaps the greatest Mexican boxer of all-time, but a win over Alvarez — who is without a doubt the biggest sensation in Mexican boxing today — would go a long way towards Chavez Jr. establishing himself.

The fact is that with over 50 professional fights, Chavez Jr. at some point did put in the work needed to get to a world title. Yes, the matchmaking may have been slanted in his favor at times, and his two career losses were both very high-profile losses. His April of 2015 loss to Andrzej Fonfara saw Chavez Jr. basically quit on his stool refusing to come out for the 10th round. Junior can put all that behind him with a win over Alvarez.

Alvarez at this point is a corporation, and he needs to just win and keep his money train rolling. A loss would set him off course for what is a much talked about major payday and superfight against middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin before the end of 2017.

Golden Boy is keeping David Lemieux (37-3) close in case they need him as an opponent for Alvarez down the line, and they have him here in a fight he is heavily favored in against Mexican veteran Marcos Reyes (35-4). Lemieux has struggled with making the 160-pound weight limit in the past, and he has a positive PED test clouding his last world title fight, but he also knows he won’t get a piece of Canelo unless it is at middleweight.

In addition, Argentina’s popular Lucas Martin Matthysse (37-4) returns to face Emmanuel Taylor (20-4) and GBP prospect Joseph Diaz (23-0) takes on likewise undefeated Manuel Avila (22-0). These and perhaps 1-2 of the five other undercard fights could pop up at the sportsbooks as we get closer to fight time.

T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada – HBO PPV

Catchweight – 12 rounds
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr  +475        
Saul Alvarez            -650    

Middleweight – 10 rounds 
Marco Reyes  +1800        
David Lemieux  -4500  

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Written by Miguel

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