Canelo Alvarez Shuts Out Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., But That’s Not The Big Story
The long-awaited mega-fight between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. quickly fizzled out into an uncompetitive, one-sided affair between one fighter who was there in substance and one fighter who was there in name only.
It was forgettable enough on its own. But what came afterward sure did help people forget about it further.
In the middle of Canelo’s post-fight interview came a preplanned announcement. The lights dimmed. A video played. And Gennady Golovkin walked out and entered the ring.
This was different than a year ago, when Canelo knocked Amir Khan out, called Golovkin to the ring, and then never reached a deal to fight him. This time it is official — Canelo Alvarez, the lineal middleweight champion, the man who beat the man (Miguel Cotto) who beat the man (Sergio Martinez), will face an opponent who is considered to actually be the man these days at 160. Alvarez vs. Golovkin is scheduled for Sept. 16.
Golovkin will be far more difficult a challenge for Canelo than Chavez was on Saturday night.
Canelo vs. Chavez had long been pondered but hadn’t seemed like it could be reality. They had each become stars at a young age, two iconic names in Mexico and among Mexican-American fans. At one point, Canelo was fighting at junior middleweight and Chavez just one division away at middleweight. But then Chavez got heavier. The disparity in weight seemed too great.
But with Canelo moving up to the 160-pound division, Chavez agreed to meet at a contractually agreed-upon limit of 164.5 pounds. He hadn’t been that light in years and had well-documented struggles at the scales and with self-discipline.
Chavez surprised many by making weight, though. That’s about all he did. And the weight cut may have played a major role in that. Chavez looked in great shape — until he stepped into the ring. Chavez rarely threw punches and barely landed anything of consequence. He was too slow to use his size to his advantage. It proved to be more of a disadvantage. Canelo was clearly faster, allowing him to hit Chavez and avoid most of what came back his way. Canelo caught Chavez with leads and counters, making him even more gun-shy. Chavez was unwilling and unable to do what was necessary to turn the tide.
Canelo set the tone early with a hard right hand that caught Chavez flush in the first. Chavez, for some reason, had been told to try to box. But Canelo controlled the distance and pace. Chavez was ineffective on the inside, landing a few at most at a time before letting Canelo get away.
Chavez Jr. was bleeding from the nose by the third. A body shot from Canelo made him drop his hands in the fourth. Canelo began to unleash flashy combinations, including a pair of four-punch salvos in the seventh. What rare success Chavez had tended to come in the form of body blows. There weren’t anywhere near enough to slow Canelo down. Canelo coasted to the victory.
All three judges had it 120-108, a shutout of 12 rounds to zero. The CompuBox statistics were just as lopsided. Alvarez was credited with landing 228 punches, an average of 19 per round. Chavez was credited with landing 71, an average of six per round. Canelo threw 604 punches on the night. Chavez threw exactly half of that, just 302.
Alvarez is now 49-1-1 with 34 knockouts. Chavez, meanwhile, is now 50-3-1 with 32 KOs. Alvarez moves on to another mega-fight in a career that has already had plenty. Chavez will go up to super middleweight and try to recover from another disappointment in a career that has already had too many.
Lucas Matthysse Begins Comeback With TKO of Emanuel Taylor
Lucas Matthysse took a long time off to recover from his last loss. He didn’t need much time to bounce back upon his return, demolishing Emanuel Taylor in five rounds.
Matthysse had last been seen in late 2015, taking a surprising 10 count against Viktor Postol. He’d spent the time away healing an injured orbital bone — the bones that surround the eye — and recharging his batteries.
Then he battered Taylor. Matthysse didn’t see the smaller, less powerful Taylor as much of a threat. He drove Taylor back with a big right hand at the end of the first. In the second, he landed a right hand, then another, and then missed with a big home run swing.
But it was Matthysse who suddenly seemed hurt early in he third. It wasn’t from anything Taylor had thrown, though, but rather was from a clash of heads that had opened a cut over Matthysse’s right eye. Taylor charged Matthysse, emboldened, bravely battling on the inside. He left himself in range and vulnerable. Matthysse threw a one-two that dropped Taylor halfway through the round.
The first knockdown wasn’t as hard as the second. Matthysse dug to the body in the fifth and followed up with a left to Taylor’s head, then a right, then another left and another right. A stunned Taylor went down and got up before the count reached nine, but the referee didn’t like how Taylor looked and waved the fight off.
Matthysse improved to 38-4 with 35 KOs. The former 140-pound titleholder now seems set to compete at 147. It’s a deep division with plenty of opportunities available. It’s also too early to tell what will come next.
Taylor fell to 20-5 with 14 KOs. He’s a gritty fighter but comes up short against top-level opposition. He’s now lost four of his last seven, dropping decisions to Chris Algieri, Adrien Broner and Antonio Orozco but failing to make it to the final bell against Matthysse.
Photo Cred // Bad Left Hook
Joseph Diaz Picks Up Unanimous Decision Over Manuel Avila
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. remains undefeated. Boxing observers remains unconvinced.
That’s because while Diaz clearly did enough to be the better man against Manuel Avila, he’s not yet shown that he belongs among the best in the featherweight division.
Diaz won wide on the scorecards. Two judges had it 99-91, or nine rounds to one. The other had it a shutout, 100-90. The fight didn’t really ever get into second gear. This was a case of two fighters stepping up in their quality of opposition and being more wary in the ring because of that.
Avila showed what he was capable of in the first, landing a right as Diaz did the same, and responding to a Diaz left hand later in the round by throwing a couple shots of his own. He did a good job blocking shots and showed good technique with his counters. Diaz didn’t feel as if he could blow Avila away, and he also was cautious not to try to overwhelm Avila — as that meant leaving himself vulnerable against someone capable of taking advantage of that.
Instead, Diaz began to dig to the body to slow Avila down, and in turn he picked his activity up a bit. Avila had rare moments. Diaz had more of them. He opened up with his offense more toward the end of the eighth, hurt Avila with a left in the ninth, and then seemed content with carrying Avila for the remaining three minutes in the 10th.
Avila is now 22-1 with 8 KOs. The loss ended a decent streak of victories. He just reached his limit against a fighter on Diaz’s level.
We know what Diaz’s level is now, but we still don’t know what it’ll turn out to be — and if it’ll be much further beyond what we saw on Saturday. He is now 24-0 with 13 KOs. He is admittedly just 24 years old, but he’s also seeking out the titleholders at 126 pounds. He’s not yet ready for them. We first need to see him put together a standout performance against a fellow contender. That’s not what we got against Avila.