Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) will take on Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) in a 12-round bout with no title at stake Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
For Chavez, who will face Alvarez at a catch weight of 164.5 pounds, this fight is the culmination of a hard training camp at the heights of Centro Ceremonial Otomi in Mexico.
To that preparation, Chavez is adding the need to use the right fight plan and to be effective with his punches. In order to win, the “Son of the Legend” might consider the following keys.
All about the weight
Here’s the main key, the one that will decide in advance whether he wins or loses. If Chavez rehydrates normally and recovers from the weight cut, he will have more chances to win because of his power and size advantage. If cutting weight takes a toll, he will go into the ring already knocked out. That is, it will only be a question of time until Canelo connects with a strong punch to put an end to the fight.
Even if Chavez recovers well from the weight cut, that extra work in the gym could probably limit his capacity to six rounds at 100 percent. He will need to press early in the fight and try to connect his power punches. If he doesn’t succeed in hurting Canelo before the sixth round, anything might happen the rest of the bout.
Counterpunching will be Canelo’s meal ticket. It is possible that he might begin the fight by trying to be the aggressor, but Chavez’s pressure will allow Canelo to hit an unbalanced Chavez coming forward. Canelo’s patience could be bad for Chavez, especially if the fight goes long.
If Chavez is the aggressor to start the fight, as most assume he’ll be, he should avoid using his classic combination: the double punch on the outside. This time, it will be better to start the sequence on the outside and end it on the inside. Such a combination of punches will demand more defensive attention from Alvarez and will prevent him from finding the distance to counterpunch.
The strategy, the fight plan, the insistence on certain punches and any unexpected things we will see from Chavez on Saturday night were written by renowned trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain. But Nacho will not be limited to providing technical support. Keeping Chavez motivated, focused and making the right adjustments through the fight will be his bigger responsibility on fight night.