Quienes el Rey? Canelo Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.?
By: Kirk Jackson
Who is the King of Mexico?
Mexico, a nation historically grand with tremendous boxerspast and present – Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricardo Lopez, Erik Morales, Salvador Sanchez, Lupe Pintor, Daniel Zaragoza, Marco Antonio Barrera, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., – the list goes on.
Many terms come to mind when describing the proto-typical Mexican fighter; powerful, gritty, technical and passionate.
To quote Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, “In Mexicao, we don’t fuck around!”
While Alvarez may not embody all of the generalizations and traits of the standard Mexican fighter, in this era with all eyes are on Alvarez, he is the torch bearer for Mexican boxing and one of the mainstream stars of boxing period.
As the A-side of any proposed match-up, Alvarez aims to establish himself as Mexico’s boxing king.
Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who many perceive as Mexico’s grandest king, undoubtedly ruled the kingdom with iron fists and an iron chin to match during his reign in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., inherited some of his father’s physical attributes, but failed to follow his father’s footsteps as Mexico’s numerouno.
Escaping his father’s shadow is a difficult task and something Chavez Jr. struggled with his entire career in spite of success as a professional. The children of basketball icon Michael Jordan (Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan) can relate.
Alvarez now faces the son of the former king Chavez Jr.,in a highly anticipated, Mexican civil-war this weekend.
A match-up and rivalry years in the making, as both parties appear to have genuine dislike for one another and for what each party represents.
“I’ve always said that when you have two Mexican warriors, people will come out to show their support because they recognize that it’s going to be a great fight, it’s going to be a lot of action, it’s what the people want to see,” said Golden Boy Promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
“I am in this sport, as a promoter, to help the sport grow and these fights are pure emotion.”
Ironically, this match takes place during an Americanized holiday weekend Cinco de Mayo and on American soil.
However many questions underlie the main proposed inquiry; who is the king of Mexico – as Alvarez and Chavez are the two biggest names across the landscape.
Odds reflect on the surface, Alvarez is the betting favorite.For his part, Chavez Jr. prefers to be underestimated.
“They [Alvarez] do not want me to be at my best. They picked me because of my inactivity; I broke my hand, my disregard for training in the gym – but that’s good for me, because we’re going to try to give him a surprise,” Chavez Jr. said in an interview with Boxing Scene.
“I think they took the fight because of that, because they believe that I am not at 100% and that’s a benefit for me.”
Comparing credentials and accoladesAlvarez, is more accomplished as a fighter.
Alvarez is a four-time world champion, possesses a record of 10-1 (6 KO’s) in world title fights and a record of 11-1 (4 KO’s) against former or current world titlists.
Chavez Jr. is the former WBC middleweight champion, possesses a record of 4-1 (2 KO’s) in world title fights and a record of 3-1-1 (1 KO’s) against former world titlists.
While the consensus is Chavez Jr. is outgunned regarding hand speed, punching power, offensive punch versatility, counter-punching, defense, overall skills among other attributes, boxing matches are not won on paper and Chavez Jr. is capable of an upset.
“With the experience I have I’ve come to put on a good fight,” Chavez Jr. said to Sports Addiction.
“It will be hard, difficult. I have confidence that I can get past this commitment and have a good result, a good fight where I can knock him out, beat him like I said I would and I have prepared with that mentality.”
Chavez Jr. acquired the services of legendary trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, along with renownedboxing fitness coach Memo Heredia to assist with preparation for Alvarez.
Even with the services of Beristain and Heredia, defeating Alvarez will be a tall task for Chavez Jr.
“Nacho has the experience, he has the maturity to be able to help Chavez Jr. a lot – but even if you have the best coaches, they will not be able to help you if are not a disciplined fighter, “ says Beristain pupil Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Nacho is a disciplined coach and that injects you a lot of motivation.”
The fight between Alvarez and Chavez Jr. is a tale of two opposing stories and backgrounds. Most boxing fans recognize the name “Chavez” and realize the historic significance behind the name.
Chavez Jr. is the son of legendary Mexican pugilist Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.; an influential hero to fans and fighters alike.Chavez Jr. however, had the impossible task of walking in his father’s shoes; constantly dealing with comparisons and criticisms.
Chavez admittedly not only failed to live up to the bench mark of his father, but to the standards of a champion.
Failed drug tests, weight issues, lack of quality opposition, questionable decisions, etc., drew the ire from many observers; fans and boxing writers alike. Many wondered if Chavez Jr. was the classic example of nepotism gone wrong.
Alvarez descends from a fighting family, with older brothers competing in the professional ranks as well. The youngest of eight children Canelo, achieved the highest level of the profession, becoming world champion four-times over.
Alvarez turned professional at age 15, arguably had a more difficult rise towards the top and wants to remain there.
This fight has significant meaning for both parties. For Chavez, this is a fight for redemption, a fight that will help define his legacy. For Alvarez, this fight is important for his family and his legacy, as well as building towards the proposed match-up with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Golden Boy Promotion’s De La Hoya says we can expect a fight similar to that rivalry on Saturday night.
“Just like the old days, you feel the electricity in the air,” De La Hoya said in describing the significance of this fight.
De La Hoya continued, “There’s animosity toward each other, I can’t really explain it. There’s a lot of pride at stake. They have many years around each other, and you have to go back. Something happened. I don’t know if Canelo triggered it or Canelo triggered it, but they don’t like each other. They genuinely despise each other. In terms of action, I can see this fight unfolding like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.”
To quote hip-hop legend Nas, “There’s one life, one love, so there can only be one King!”
So who will it be? Alvarez or Chavez?
Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing
By: Francisco Martinez
Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez a 168lbs southpaw standing 6′ 2” with technical boxing ability along with speed and stamina and not to mention good looks is an easy sell to the public. This coming Saturday April 22nd he’s set to step back into the ring after a lay off do to a hand injury and defend his WBO 168lbs title for the first time against Max Bursak of Germany in a triple header card which will also showcase Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno whom will also defend their versions of the WBO title at 126lbs and 122lbs. All in a stacked Top Rank promotions PPV card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
BoxingInsider was at hand for the media day at the famed Magnifico Boxing Gym own by 3 time champion, legend Israel El Magnifico Vazquez who’s gym resides in Southgate, Los Angeles as Zurdo Ramirez, Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno worked out in front of the media and fans we managed to get a few quotes from Zurdo as he taped up for his workout and this is what he had to say.
BoxingInsider: “How was training camp?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Really good, really good, my preparation is done now” says with a big smile on his face.
BoxingInsider: “You look very happy why?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Because the fight is really close and I’m really happy. One year and 13 days out of the ring and now it’s time to go back”
Zurdo Ramirez was suppose to defend his title on the night Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Jessie Vargas but Zurdo suffered a hand injury which required surgery and has kept him out of the ring since April of last year. Although not being able to compete Zurdo maintained active while back home in Mazatlan, Mexico where he kept his physical shape in tact by running, swimming and strength and conditioning work. Something trainer’s, father and son Jesus and Hector Zapari feel benefited him greatly being out of the ring from over a year.
BoxingInsider: “So that was on your mind the whole time to step back into the ring?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Yeah because one year out of the ring and now it’s closer to the fight and I’m really happy”
The bigger picture here lays within the victory of April 22nd if Zurdo Ramirez manages to successfully defend his title the possibility of a showdown with Kazak powerhouse Gennady Golovkin will be explored as both Bob Arum and Tom Loeffler have expressed great interest in this possible match up. One that the boxing community is also hoping for. After his tough earned and controversial victory against Daniel Jacobs Gennady Golovkin and his team went on record that a June fight date versus Billy Joe Sunders was the goal and with a win Gennady would move up to 168lbs as undisputed status was his ultimate vision regardless of the potential Canelo fight they were not gonna wait for him.
Those comments sparked legendary promoter Bob Arum to quickly say Zurdo Ramirez would “destroy” Gennady Golovkin and that he would be looking to make that fight. A fight Zurdo and his team are also hoping for but not over looking their April 22nd assignment. Zurdo assures us that “first thing is first, first thing is April 22nd, Max Bursak and after that like I say doesn’t matter whatever comes. I have the skills, power, everything. I’m really confident about me, myself that’s why I asked for that fight but I need to win this fight (April 22nd)”
Trainer Hector Zapari also confident in Zurdo and likes the idea of a Gennady Golovkin fight “yeah for sure Zurdo is a very complete fighter, yeah, Zurdo beats Golovkin for sure” with Gennady Golovkin now passing up on that June fight date which could have possibly ended up taking place if his home country of Kazakhstan not happening it opens the door for a possible move to 168lbs or he awaits the winner of Saul Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. but given the general opinion that Alvarez will have an easy night this coming May 6th a possible Alvarez vs Golovkin fight is a little sketchy do to the history of their negotiations which have lead to nowhere and can only leave the door open for other possibilities with one of those being Zurdo Ramirez.
Tune in this April 22nd for the Top Rank promotions PPV triple header at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Follow complete coverage leading up to the fight by using #TopRankBoxing
Oscar Valdez: The New Generation of Mexican Boxing
By: Francisco Martinez
April 22nd WBO 122lbs champion Oscar Valdez is set to defend his title for the second time as he headlines his first PPV trough Top Rank promotions. An opportunity Oscar Valdez is more than excited for “Right now I’m living the dream. I dream about these moments, being a main event, on great cards, I’m living it right now so I’m enjoying the ride. I’m doing everything with passion, letting everything go on it’s own” and in return everything is going right for the 2 time Mexican Olympian.
Colombian Miguel Marriaga is the rival who that will meet Oscar Valdez in the other end of the ring in Carson, California at the StubHub Center a venue known for fan friendly match ups and spoilers, potential upsets of the year. Which is what Marriaga is aiming for come this 22nd of April. Having shared the ring with former 126lbs king Nicholas Walters, Marriaga feels that kind of experience with that level of opposition gives him the upper hand over the young fast & powerful Valdez who doesn’t care much for the quality of opposition Marriaga has faced.
“I feel good in the gym. I feel good that I’m doing my work. The people around me they got faith in me and that’s all that matters. I’m a family guy and that’s the most important thing to me to worry about my family and not other people’s opinions about me. Do my job in the gym and do my best to win every fight” direct but humble words from the young 126lbs phenom.
Oscar Valdez has great talent and a very humble approach to when speaking about his position as arguably the best 126lbs fighter today but also spoke his mind at the podium when addressing the media during the official press conference to announce the April 22nd Top Rank PPV triple header “My trainer Manny (Robles) & Edgar Jasso we put in the time and I haven’t seen a manager like Frank (Espinoza) that goes to the gym everyday or Frankie, to see how their boxers are doing so that means a lot to me. We’re not only a team we’re a family. Working with Jessie Magdaleno and also seeing Zurdo Ramirez in the gym we all help each other out. We’re a great team. We know that we’re the face off Mexican boxing right now so we gotta take that very seriously so we work hard, help each other out and we get the job done at the fights”
No doubt on paper Miguel Marriaga looks to be the toughest test for Oscar Valdez to date however Valdez has his own beliefs as to how he approaches not just this fight in particular but all his 21 previous fights leading to this exact one “Like Manny (Robles) says, every fight is more important than the last one. Marriaga, he’s no easy opponent, they don’t exists, an easy opponent. Marriaga, he’s a strong, strong fighter, has a lot of experience inside the ring so I know it’s gonna be a tough fight but that’s why we train hard in the gym so we can win these fights”
Trainer Manny Robles adds this to the conversation “For those people who don’t know Marriaga, Marriaga is a great fighter, he’s a solid fighter, solid contender. This guy can crack, he can come forward. The match up itself is great. Styles make fights, this is a great match up. This is a fight the public should not miss. It’s gonna be a great night of boxing” styles do make fights and this match up is a evenly matched up bout and even better that the venue itself really helps make this fight that much more intriguing being that the StubHub Center is known for its action packed fights and electric atmosphere that can make both rivals more aggressive and abandon their game plans. Just something about the warrior like chemistry the StubHub Center has deeply rooted in it.
In this Top Rank promotions triple header fans will also get Jessie Magdaleno who’s defending his 122lbs WBO title against Brazilian Adielson Dos Santos who’s coming in with 2 consecutive knockouts to a total of 14 K.O.’s in 20 professional fights. Also on the card Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez who is the 168lbs WBO title holder who is matched up with Max Bursak a 38 fight professional from the Ukraine along with the debut of 2016 American Olympian silver medalist Shakur Stevenson who’s hope to bring a knockout and leave with a few of those loyal Mexican fans that will be in attendance at the StubHub Center.
So don’t miss it April 22nd Top Rank promotions PPV triple header live at the StubHub Center that’ll bring you a glimpse of the next generation of Mexican boxing.
Follow all coverage of the fight via #TopRankBoxing
Mexican Civil War: Canelo vs. Chavez
By: Francisco Martinez
May 6th at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are set to collide in a battle being recognized as Mexican Civil War. A war for bragging rights. A war to see who is Mexico’s best fighter today. The popularity of both is a sure hit formula for success. As Golden Boy Promotions boss, Oscar De La Hoya predicts a 1 million pay per view buy estimate when it’s all set and done.
“The winner of this fight has so much at stake because imagine the loser having to go back to Mexico and answer to all those Mexicans fans that were cheering you on hoping you would win. It’s gonna be difficult so for both guys there’s so much at stake, there’s so much pride and when you have pride involved in a boxing match you’re gonna get a great, great, terrific fight. These guys don’t know how to take a step going backwards and literally and genuinely these guys hate each other. I’m looking forward to it, it’s gonna be an exciting fight”
As for the face of boxing, the cash cow Saul Alvarez who feels the same way about things but is more confident in what’s at stake as he assures its Chavez Jr. opportunity to knock him off the throne. An opportunity he has given him “The people know that I’m the best fighter that’s exists today. He has the possibilities and opportunity to defeat me and become just that, the best”
The mega showdown comes at a catchweight of 164.5lbs Saul Alvarez moving up and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr moving down. Having the chance to ask Alvarez trainer Chepo Reynoso who the weight benefits he simply said “At the end of the day, they’ll both fight so where’s the advantage? The winner gets to move forward. You can already smell the great fight that it’s going to be on May 6th”
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. also faces a $1 million penalty fine for every pound he comes over. Making it one of the most hefty fines in boxing in recent memories. Both fighter’s egos clashed on live television in a small argument that led to a hand shake in a high stakes bet, winner takes all including both the purses sending shockwaves through out the boxing community. Just how solid is this bet? Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. had this to say.
“You know when I found out about this bet I didn’t agree with it. I don’t agree with it. I talked to Julio and Canelo that this bet can’t be made. Why? Because it’s not ethical because of the terms within the contracts. It’s not valid that they bet both their purses. The contract states if Julio comes half a pound over or a pound he has to pay $1 million dollars. Let’s say if Julio comes in 10lbs over he keeps what’s only left. Or he can come in at whatever weight he wants so it’s really not a logical bet. If they made a bet they should just choose two foundations and make it a friendly bet”
Although the bet isn’t as concrete as the hand shake between Alvarez and Chavez Jr. what is concrete is the personal dislike both have towards each other. Both knowing each other since they were kids has only made each other’s criticism towards one another that much more significant. Alvarez believing Chavez Junior’s position in boxing is only established because of his father’s legacy and having the Chavez name. Chavez Jr. in return believes Alvarez has been carefully guided to his position in boxing by the Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. had this to say about the personal side of things with Saul Alvarez “I don’t like Canelo too much. He’s mad because I called him out on jumping Gennady Golovkin. Everybody knows this. Some people don’t like it when you tell them the truth but it’s the truth, you know. There’s no need for more words we’ll prove on May 6th who’s better”
Many critics speculate the winner will go on to fight Gennady Golovkin this September as weight is no longer a issue from Saul Alvarez part who insists the contracts are seating on Golovkin’s table as we speak. A $15 million dollar offer that Golden Boy promotions claims to be offering Golovkin. A offer also criticized by the media. Some saying it’s a low number others believing it’s a solid number however the May 6th winner will hold the cards in boxing and will call the shots in any fight there after that much is certain. May 6th is the date for a fight that many thought was not a possible option any longer.
A fight a little to farfetched to think of given the weight separations. A fight indeed demanded by the Mexican people and one that’s great for boxing as without a doubt the whole world will tune it at the end of the day. The catchweight, the million dollar weight fines and the personal attacks aside there’s no question this fight will captivate the masses on May 6th. Mexico demands a fighter with pride and the ability to win against the best fighters of their time as proven through out history as they had with Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Ricardo Lopez, Juan Manuel Marquez and The Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya.
May 6th, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs “El Hijo De La Leyenda” Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will both engage in a battle where the winner will be rewarded with the loyalty of all of Mexico. Something only a few greats from the past have been fortunate to have throughout their careers. Maybe the most important support one can get in boxing is their own countries loyalty. So tune in this May 6th live on HBO PPV for what is being consider the biggest fight in Mexico’s history.
Follow all coverage leading up to the fight by using #CaneloChavezJr