Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on Saturday was never in doubt, so what can we learn from it ahead of Canelo’s much-anticipated showdown with world middleweight No 1 Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 16?
Canelo shows he is a real danger for Golovkin
Chavez (50-3-1, 32 KOs) was disappointing in the 164.5 pounds catchweight bout above the middleweight limit, but nevertheless we witnessed how efficiently Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) dealt with someone who has height and reach advantages.
After knocking out Amir Khan a year ago, Alvarez then dropped down to super-welterweight, another knockout win over Liam Smith. The Chavez clash was set above the middleweight limit and Alvarez showed how his footwork and hand speed can overcome a size advantage.
“Speed and distance was a problem,” Chavez said after losing by scores of 120-108 on all three judges’ scorecards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to his Mexican rival. “He’s a good fighter, very fast and very consistent. He beat me at the distance. He is a very active fighter.”
As was apparent when Alvarez came face-to-face with Golovkin in the ring after beating Chavez, Triple G is bigger, but the Mexican overcame Chavez’s reach and height advantages with an onslaught of blurring combinations against an older and bigger opponent.
“Tonight, I showed I can move, I can box, I can do all those things,” said Alvarez. “I showed as a fighter I can do all things. I thought I was going to showcase myself as a fighter that could throw punches, but he just wouldn’t do it.”
Alvarez’s right stuff
Against Chavez, Alvarez’s work rate never dipped as he landed clean shots from start to finish with his right hand — thrown at blistering speed — one of his most dangerous weapons.
Perhaps his best right hand against Chavez came in the sixth round and that hand speed will be a problem for any fighter.
The Mexican showed that his youth — 26, he is nine years younger than Triple G — and speed will be a real concern for Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs).
Alvarez had a 228-71 edge in punches landed against Chavez, and an 83-15 advantage in jabs landed, according to CompuBox. Alvarez landed 228 of 604 punches (38 percent), although Chavez never looked in any real trouble of being stopped.
Chavez is no longer elite
Alvarez’s dominant display at the weekend must be put into context due to Chavez’s limited challenge.
The Mexican never threatened Alvarez in the fight and it was a disappointing effort. It simply was not much of a contest as Alvarez dominated every round, but should we have expected anything different? Alvarez has been in sharp form since he knocked out James Kirkland two years ago, while Chavez’s career has stalled in recent years.
Chavez, who earned $3 million for Saturday’s fight, last held a world title five years ago and has since had problems with making weight and also with motivation. Against Alvarez, Chavez may have had height and reach advantages, but he never utilized them as he again lacked ambition and a strong game plan.