Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez goes into the all-Mexican clash with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr as the warm favorite next month, in what could be his final bout before a huge clash with Gennady Golovkin later this year.
Alvarez defeated Liam Smith on his last outing to claim the WBO light-middleweight title; however, he may have to vacate that belt in the near future as his match with Chavez Jr is at a catchweight of 164.5lbs. Moreover, if he is to meet the WBA, WBC, IBF middleweight champion Golovkin, that fight is likely to be closer to 168lbs.
Canelo was not only able to stop England’s Liam Smith in the ninth round last year, just months earlier he also KO’d Amir Khan with a brutal left hook in the sixth round of their contest in Nevada. He can be backed at boxing odds of -1000 to get the better of his Mexican compatriot on May 6.
Chavez Jr is a former two-weight world champion himself. His first world title success came in 2010 when he claimed the vacant WBC super-middleweight title with victory over John Duddy. ‘The Son of a Legend’ then dropped down in weight and won the WBC middleweight crown in 2011 when he picked up a split decision win over Germany’s Sebastian Zbik.
More recently, Chavez Jr has had some long spells out of the sport. He has only boxed once in the last 22 months. That bout took place last December in Mexico where he beat Dominik Britsch in a ten-round contest.
The winner of Alvarez-Chavez Jr fight is not only going to get Mexican bragging rights but it is also likely to earn a shot at a world title in the middleweight division against either Golovkin, who holds three of the belts, or WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.
The undefeated Saunders must first defend his title against the interim champion Awtandil Khurtsidze in July as the Georgian earned that opportunity that last weekend when he defeated Tommy Langford in Leicester. Saunders has only been in the ring once since he won his crown against Andy Lee in December 2015.
There were reports that Saunders would meet Golovkin in a unification content later this year; however, the two parties have been able to strike a deal. If Saunders gets past Khurtsidze, his promoter Frank Warren may look to set up a clash with the winner of the all-Mexican clash.
Elsewhere in the middleweight division, WBA interim champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam has a clash with Japan’s Ryota Murata lined up next month. The organization will crown the winner the regular champion. The current interim holder has only suffered two defeats in his career and those losses came against David Lemieux and Peter Quillan. N’Jikam will be hoping victory over Murata will help him to earn a shot at one of the big names in the division. The challenger, on the other hand, has only had the 11 fights and goes into the contest in Tokyo unbeaten in his professional career.