Canelo vs Chavez Jr odds: Julio will be facing two opponents?Written by Lee Cleveland
On May 6, Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) faces Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (50-2-1, 32 KOs) in a bout that might be one the biggest of the year.
According to MyTopSportsbooks.com, Canelo is a sizeable favorite, as of January 20. The smaller Alvarez sits at (-850) while Jr is positioned at (+550).
The odds shouldn't surprise anyone... Or should they?
Although he's the naturally smaller warrior, Canelo is considered by most a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter and has sizzled in the ring the last several years.
Chavez Jr, on the otherhand, was red hot until he tasted defeat for the first time against Sergio Martinez in September 2012. Since then, he's had problems getting in top shape, and has subsequently underperformed in the ring. Julio is 4-2 in his last six bouts but could arguably be 3-3 as his first win against Brian Vera was highly disputable.
Moreover, Chavez has had only 6 fights in the last 4/12 years and hasn't scored a knockout since Summer 2012 (Andy Lee).
The odds are reflective of a fight between a star on the rise and a star on the decline. But do they reflect the fact Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be fighting two opponents?
Despite boxing's middleweight limit of 160 lbs, middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez will fight at a negotiated limit of 164.5 lbs.
Typically, the A-side fighter will use his leverage to negotiate a catchweight when facing an opponent his size or, in most cases, naturally bigger.
In cases where one fighter has a clear size advantage, the proposing team will insist the catchweight makes the match-up more even. However, what they are really doing is using their leverage and attempting to gain the upper hand before the fight even starts.
The Canelo vs Chavez catchweight limit of 164.5 pounds stacks the odds heavily in Canelo's favor because Julio's weight problems are well-known. If he couldn't make 164.5 lbs three years ago at 27, how is he going to do it, comfortably, at 30?
Hence, Chavez will not only be fighting Alvarez, he'll be fighting his weight all during training.
When a fighter Chavez must enter the ring extra light, he is forced to make "weight loss" a primary focus in the weeks leading up to the bout. As a result, it can disrupt the flow of his normal training regimen and shift the focus from his opponent.
Should Chavez Jr manage to make the weight limit, he's also likely to be weak and drawn during the bout. Given his height and frame, he should really be fighting at 168 or 175 lbs.
Catchweights, like the one imposed for this bout, give a bigger fighter with less leverage than his opponent something else to worry about during training and, in many ways, can act as a second opponent.
Incidentally, should Chavez be unable to make weight, there will likely be a major fine imposed, forcing Julio to relinquish part of his purse to Canelo.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.