If there was any lingering debate, Canelo Alvarez put it to rest on Saturday as to who the most popular and talented boxer was in all of Mexico. Now, he’ll focus his attention on attempting to become the best fighter in the sport.
Moments after pitching a shutout against a lifeless Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their all-Mexico pay-per-view showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Alvarez formally announced his fall superfight against unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
“Golovkin, you are next my friend,” Alvarez said. “Yes sir, it’s done.”
In a scene straight out of pro wrestling, Golovkin emerged from the locker room after a video package played on the screen. The two then answered questions inside the ring about their Sept. 16 PPV bout as confetti fell from the rafters.
Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) may have sent fans home happy with the post fight theatrics but the fight itself was almost exclusively void of drama or entertainment. Chavez (50-3-1, 32 KOs) was lethargic throughout and stuck to illogical game plan, looking to box the much quicker and faster Alvarez.
All three judges scored the 164.5-pound catchweight bout in favor of Alvarez, 120-108. The former junior middleweight champion and current lineal middleweight king controlled Chavez with a stiff jab and routinely stung him with uppercuts and combinations.
Alvarez, 26, outlanded Chavez, 228 to 71, according to CompuBox, in a one-sided drubbing.
Afterwards, he didn’t waver in announcing the fight with Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) despite enduring criticism for giving up his WBC middleweight title one year ago to avoid facing GGG.
“I’ve never feared anyone since I was 16 and I was fighting as a professional,” Alvarez said. “When I was born, fear was gone. I never got my share of fear. I’m very happy and little by little I’m growing. The opponent is going to give me the tools to showcase myself and that’s what is going to happen.”
Not only was Chavez, 31, ineffective at executing any semblance of offense, he never committed to the body and was far too timid whenever he had Alvarez pinned against the ropes. Chavez also never went for broke at any point and criticized the game plan of Hall of Fame trainer Nacho Beristain after the fight.
“I wanted to box but then he went to the ropes and said I just needed to throw more punches,” Chavez said. “If I would have attacked more, I would’ve been open to counter punches. Nacho Beristain wanted me to do this style but it’s not my style and it didn’t work for me.
“[Alvarez] beat me, he beat me at distance. I wasn’t feeling that distance. He’s a very active fighter, he’s a good fighter. I haven’t had too many fights and I needed more distance and more speed.”
Following years of bad blood between the two, Alvarez admitted to having entered the fight focused on making a statement to Chavez. But in the end, even Alvarez was frustrated by Chavez’s inability to make an entertaining fight.
“I thought he was going to fight. I would bring him into the ropes and I thought I would throw punches so I could showcase myself but he wouldn’t do it,” Alvarez said. “He just wouldn’t throw punches.
“I wanted to give the Mexican public a great fight. I have shown that I could do lots of things in the ring. I demonstrated tonight that whatever the other fighter brings me, I can showcase myself.”
Chavez, a former middleweight titlst who had competed as high as light heavyweight in recent years, complained after the fight of feeling weak at the 164.5-pound weight. Chavez, like Alvarez, refused to weigh in before the fight on HBO’s unofficial scale.
“I feel kind of dwindled. I didn’t feel my power,” Chavez said. “I didn’t feel like I could throw all of the punches that I wanted to. I just couldn’t. [My father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.] told me to let go, to throw more punches because it’s what I needed. But [Alvarez] is a good fighter.”
After the fight, Golovkin praised Alvarez. Both agreed they would be facing the toughest challenge of their respective careers when they meet later this year.
“Tonight, congrats to Canelo and his team, he looks good,” Golovkin said. “I think tonight, everybody is excited for us. It’s a very nice performance. He looks good. Right now, it’s a new story and fight for us.
“I feel very excited. I think in September it’s big Mexican style, big drama show. We’re ready.”
Alvarez, who improved to 7-0 since his 2013 loss to Floyd Mayweather, is becoming the face of the sport in the process, had one more comment to add regarding the legacy he is attempting to build.
“I always say Canelo Era is the best because I fought the best,” he said.