There’s been an ongoing scam that’s permeated boxing the last few years. And it has nothing to do with incompetent judges, duplicitous promoters, star fighters going to jail or testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, controversial results involving two star fighters or any of the other myriad issues that plague the flea-infested quagmire of boxing.
No, the scam involves this idea put forth by Bob Arum and Top Rank that Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. is a superstar. That he can fight. Chavez Jr. is fighting Andy Lee this Saturday in defense of his WBC middleweight title. In all probability, Chavez Jr. will win, as he’s beaten the other also-rans he’s faced in building his undefeated record.
Chavez Jr. is huge box office in Mexico, carrying on the name as a reminder to those old enough to remember how truly great his Hall of Fame father was.
The son is not. Not even close.
There is one fighter out there that can prove that—Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the reigning WBC junior middleweight champion who’s done everything Chavez Jr. has not. Like step in against legitimate fighters, not have anything handed to him because of a famous surname and actually worked to achieve his status.
The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao is gone, history, done away with like a wafting mist that suddenly evaporates after Tim Bradley’s victory over “Pac-Man.” Who wants to see that fight now Pacquiao certainly showed enough fissures in his once-invincible armor to take a sizable bite out of that fight’s cache.
The next marquee fight in boxing is Chavez Jr. vs. Alvarez. It could easily fill a 100,000-seat Mexican soccer stadium, and though it may suffer overall appeal in the United States with mainstream sports fans, it is a great matchup between a faux budding Mexican superstar and a genuine one.
The shame of it is the fight—like Mayweather-Pacquiao—may never happen. Bob Arum is a Hall of Fame promoter, probably the best fight promoter in the sordid history of the sport, but he’s also highly intelligent and highly intuitive.
Arum may be over 80. But he knows his fighter, Chavez Jr., has no real chance against Alvarez. Arum knows Alvarez would terribly expose Chavez Jr. for what he is—a marginal fighter with no true work ethic and marginal skills. Arum knows Alvarez is the much better, more prepared fighter for the bigger stage. Chavez Jr., he knows, is not.
So while fight fans clamor for the next best thing—Alvarez vs. Chavez Jr.—it’s a fight that may never take place because of politics and the truth.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is one of the best younger fighters in the world. He works at his craft and cares about it. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has rested on his name, continues to rest on his name and will continue to cash in against the Andy Lees, John Duddys and Marco Antonio Rubios.
Perhaps even Chavez Jr. even knows he would be devoured by the red-headed, freckled Canelo, who may look like Opie but punches like a mule kick.