Saul “Canelo” Alvarez dominated a grudge match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night, winning a unanimous decision in a fight that left no doubt who is the top active Mexican boxer.
Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) used a punishing jab to take control early in the 12-round matchup of former middleweight champions. The bigger Chavez (50-3-1, 32 KOs) started bleeding from the nose in the third round. His left eye swelled in the sixth and started to close a round later.
Canelo Alvarez, right, of Mexico, celebrates his win against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., of Mexico, during their catch weight boxing match Saturday, May 6, 2017, in Las Vegas.
Alvarez, a 4-1 favorite, was much quicker against the largest fighter he’s faced and won every round on all three judges’ cards.
The 31-year-old Chavez, son of iconic Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., was trying to revitalize a career derailed by positive drug tests, weight issues and lax training. But he proved no match in the bout fought at a catchweight of 164 1/2 pounds.
Chavez avoided a $1 million-per-pound penalty when he weighed in at 164 pounds Friday, a half-pound below the catchweight and the lightest he’s been since losing his middleweight title to Sergio Martinez in 2012.
The 26-year-old Alvarez also weighed in at 164, nine pounds heavier than he’s ever fought. Alvarez, whose lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr., got against the ropes several times and absorbed combinations from Chavez before quickly recovering with uppercuts.
Despite the 4-inch height advantage and an obvious weight edge after he rehydrated, Chavez was overmatched in his first fight under iconic trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain.
“Canelo beat me, he beat me at the distance,” Chavez, Jr. said. “He is a very active fighter-he’s very good and he beat me. I wanted to box but he went to the ropes and I just needed to throw more punches. I would’ve attacked more I would’ve been countered by his punches. Nacho told me to do that but the strategy didn’t work. The speed and the distance was the key. I didn’t feel that much power because I felt dwindled, I couldn’t throw as many punches as I wanted. My father kept telling me to throw more punches from the ringside.”