Canelo vs Chavez: Why The Outrage?

Just imagine for a second how big this fight would have been a few years ago. Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., son of a Mexican boxing icon, going head-to-head against Saul Canelo Alvarez, the red-haired slugger from Guadalajara. Two countrymen; two fun boxing styles; two distinct personalities. No question, it would have been a huge blockbuster a few years back.

And in fact, I thought it still was. Of course Canelo vs Chavez can’t be the superfight people once dreamed of, but still, it’s a big bout between two big names, with glitz, star power and sizzle to spare. Or so I thought. Apparently, I thought wrong.

Honestly, I can’t tell you how surprised I am at the negativity from so many quarters since the announcement of Canelo vs Chavez. I expected responses like, “Hey, it’ll be fun,” but instead such sentiments have given way to quips like: “Just keep being a duck, Canelo.” Clearly, Alvarez’s unwillingness to face Gennady Golovkin has taken even more from the man’s reputation than I had thought. Even a pledge of a September clash between Canelo and Golovkin isn’t putting fight fans in an understanding mood.

Not the fight boxing fans have been waiting for.
Not the fight boxing fans have been waiting for.

The boxing world, it seems, wants Canelo vs Golovkin and wants it now. Not in September, not in some vague, well-marinated future, but right now. If the people at Golden Boy thought they could keep fans happy by pulling out less-than-menacing but still big names like Amir Khan and Chavez Jr. for their man to fight, they were clearly, at least to some degree, dead wrong. (And we won’t even get into that whole “Beefy” Smith situation.) Canelo vs Khan was an intriguing match up. And so for that matter is Canelo vs Chavez, but many fans apparently want more. Sizable numbers of red-blooded fight fans will put their money up to watch this all-Mexico clash. But at the same time, a large chunk clearly won’t. Perhaps more than previously thought.

And if that doesn’t spell bad news for Golden Boy, it certainly doesn’t spell good news. When I first heard about it, I imagined the match doing extremely well in the pay-per-view department. Indeed, I didn’t think a million buys was out of the question. I even took seriously someone on Twitter who argued Canelo vs Chavez was a bigger fight in terms of PPV buys than Canelo vs Golovkin. Indeed, I thought the person might be right. But that was before I started reading the comments from fight fans on social media.

Khan was the perfect (relatively) low risk opponent
Canelo KO’s Khan: too much marinating?

I think part of what’s at play is that there’s a pay-per-view backlash happening out there, folks. A great, big one. Fans have had it. Absolutely, positively, had it. In fact, I know some who would rather spend their money on UFC cards. And I suspect that number is growing. Why? Because, whatever its flaws, the UFC gives their fans the fights they want to see. If boxing operated the way the UFC does, we would have had Canelo fighting Golovkin quite some time ago. Hell, by now they might fought two or three times. Why? Because the UFC cares about its fan base. That’s how they do business, how they generate huge crowds and big money. Kudos to the UFC for having a business model that necessitates the best fighting the best, and in a timely manner.

So, where does this leave Canelo vs Chavez? In a pretty good place overall, just perhaps not nearly as good a place as Golden Boy might have hoped. I still believe Canelo will face Golovkin in September, so I’m okay with this all-Mexico showdown happening in the meantime. Others, however, are less trusting and for damn good reason. Let’s not forget that Canelo gave away his hard-earned middleweight title belt rather than face GGG. That’s something many find impossible to overlook.

Whatever happened to the Canelo who didn't mind taking risks?
Canelo vs Lara: those were the days.

There was a time when Alvarez could count on all kinds of approval and respect from fight fans because he seemed anxious to test himself, taking on as he did dangerous challenges such as Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara when he really didn’t have to. But that’s all a distant memory now and no doubt many believe he may avoid Golovkin again later this year. Ultimately, Canelo and his team have not proven themselves worthy of the goodwill they had previously enjoyed. Avoiding tough competition will do that to a fighter and his inner circle.

While it’s true Khan is very talented and Chavez is a fighter who can bring the heat when he needs to, neither man comes close to the kind of challenge Golovkin represents. Or, for that matter, to guys like Demetrius Andrade and the Charlos, fighters who contend down at junior middleweight. Which is allegedly still Canelo’s weight class of choice, though he’s now taking on a fighter who weighed in at 168 for his last outing and not long ago fought as a light heavyweight. While there will always be die-hard Canelo fans who will never turn their backs on the man, serious boxing fans can see the situation for what it is.

Junior's last outing: dominated and stopped by Fonfara
Junior being battered by Fonfara: Son of a Legend’s status took a huge hit.

This is not a knock on Canelo, however. At least not from me. My belief is he will indeed face Golovkin in the near future. While it’s true he could have done so earlier, I’m willing to cut him some slack at this point. But others, clearly, are not. They believe the man is playing the avoidance game. And all the fights with big name opponents not named Golovkin won’t change their minds. But I leave the griping to them. Me, I’m looking forward to Canelo vs Chavez Jr., a match-up that has intrigue and excitement written all over it. And could end up making Canelo vs Golovkin an even bigger superfight.

–Sean Crose 

3 thoughts on “Canelo vs Chavez: Why The Outrage?

  • January 21, 2017 at 4:39 am
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    I get the backlash, because fans are smart. They rightly don’t trust Canelo, De La Hoya or GB. This is an outfit that as so monopolized the sport it bought the once most vaunted boxing media outlet and turned it into a Goldboy cheering section. Ring ranking once meant something. Now they have a guy ranked number one at 160 whose never actually fought a MW nor has he fought at 160.

    And they shouldn’t trust these guys, De La Hoya is already laying the groundwork to duck Golovkin yet again this September. He recently said that if the Chevez fight us close, a war, then a instant rematch is likely. And not just if he loses. But if he loses, then a rematch and a third fight is an absolute.

    Fans probably realize this is possibly even the hope. Losing to Chavez while coming up from 154 to 164.5 is an easier sell than losing to a MW when you’ve just spent three years fighting at MW and are Lineal MW champ.

    Plus, this could potentially push the Golivkin fight so far back that K2 no longer sees Canelo as a legit fight.

    Fans were tricked before and after the Cotto fight. They were tricked again before and after the Khan fight. They laughed at the idea of the Smith fight. Now Canelo skips 160 after claiming they couldn’t fight ggg because Canelo was a 154 fighter (155 not a full blown MW) but then cones to 164.5 to fight Chevez. Ok.

    And fans know Chavez is likely to be so dimished from weight drain that he really doesn’t have a chance. To make it worse they’re telling us they want to fight the best version of Chavez, all but insulting fans intelligence.

    But maybe that’s because I don’t trust Golden Boy.

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  • January 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm
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    Since Canelo lost (clearly on my scorecard at least) or should I say was outboxed by Lara, his team have been on a singular mission. Do not let any of his shortcomings be exploited in a fight, make sure we go into every fight with a monumental physical advantage over the opponent who will happily take the millions they get to fight us & lose. That is the long and short of it. He’s a wonderful performer, like any musician that takes their stage act to Las Vegas for a long run, guaranteed to draw a crowd, but he’s no longer a fighter in my eyes.
    Glolovkin turns 35 in April, he’s in great shape but at the very end of his prime. Athletes slow down significantly from 33 to 36, team Canelo knows they will again have a massive physical advantage if they wait this one out just a second longer.
    That and Canelo is still improving, its clear to see both in his fights and power development during training. A year ago a fight with Glolovkin would have been suicide, a year from now I might favor Canelo.
    Like it or not Golden boy has played everyone and put their own twist of Maypac magic dust on this one. Still a game fight next year, but GGG only has 2 or 3 great ones left in him before he is forced to lower himself into the shameless show business that was once boxing and make sure his family is taken care of the rest of their life.

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  • February 16, 2017 at 11:57 am
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    Good article, but better comments. Boxing journo’s giving boxing so much leeway when it messes its fans around is a big part of the problem of what’s been wrong with boxing for the last 15 years. The fans HAVE had enough, and the journo’s should too. The one and only reason we suddenly have a few more great match ups actually about to happen is because the greedy %**$’s who call the shots are FINALLY starting to realize that the only way they can keep making their millions is by putting on the fights the FANS want to see. The journo’s need to SUPPORT this hopeful upswing in boxing – which at its best is THE best and most exciting and exhilarating sport on the planet – regardless of the greedy reasons behind this upswing, because, so very ironically, it’s good for the sport and good for the fans.

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