Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez? Who faces Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2017?
For the better part of the last three years, rumors have swirled about the possibility of former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (49-2-1, 32 KO) fighting Gennady Golovkin and/or fellow countryman Canelo Alvarez.
As far back as January 2014 in an interview with the distinguished boxing website FightHype, Golovkin, when asked about the likelihood of him fighting Andre Ward later that year, stated:
"I hope, in the future, this fight will happen..[But I'd prefer] Julio Cesar Chavez... He is a great opponent."
"He's a great champion and just he has a big name."
Then Chavez's promoter, Bob Arum, told BoxingScene.com in February 2014: “It’s a great fight. It’s a fight that’ll do tremendous pay-per-view business."
Given Julio's diminished reputation, Golovkin (or Canelo) vs Chavez Jr wouldn't be as big today but, like him or not, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is an attractive name and a fight with GGG or Alvarez would generate widespread interest and, subsequently, healthy revenue.
Will Chavez Jr face one of the two stars in 2017?
According to BoxingScene.com, talks are underway for a 165 catch-weight bout with fellow Mexican superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez (48-1-1, 34KOs) on May 6, Cinco de Mayo weekend.
"We are waiting for them [Canelo's promotional team] to offer a reasonable sum, because the sum they are presenting right now does not suit us and if they continue like this - then there will be no fight, but if they submit a reasonable sum then fight will be done. The negotiations are going well," Julio Cesar Chavez Sr recently told BoxingScene.com.
"Canelo needs Julio, and Julio needs Canelo. It's a difficult, hard fight, and besides knowing which of them is the best - the fight can break a lot of records."
Should negotiations collapse, Team Chavez insists they’d move on and attempt to lure Gennady Golovkin into a superfight.
Look for Chavez Jr to face one of the aforementioned champions in 2017.
Canelo and Golovkin need a big name and if they don't face each other their options are limited. There are some good fighters from 154 lbs to 168 lbs but few have the mainstream appeal as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr - and Team Chavez understands that.
Canelo vs Chavez Jr, especially on Cinco de Mayo, would attract casual fans.
Secondly, Canelo and Golovkin would be favored to defeat Chavez Jr who hasn't looked good on the elite level since Summer 2012. Hence, Chavez Jr would be considered a relatively low risk for a high reward.
Moreover, since those potential bouts would take place at a presumed 165 lb catchweight (north of middleweight) neither Canelo nor Golovkin would lose their titles at middleweight and jr middleweight, respectively, and both would remain the top fighter in their respective weight class.
So what's the incentive for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr?
Chavez Jr's stock and reputation in boxing has dipped. He's had problems making weight, was suspended a year for marijuana, hadn't looked dominant in a while and was knocked out by light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara last year.
Chavez Jr has little to lose but everything to gain. Should he upset Canelo or Golovkin, he's a red hot fighter and highly marketable fighter again. Remember how popular he was heading into his September 2012 showdown with Sergio Martinez?
And if he loses, he'll get a handsome payday and probably ride off into boxing's sunset.
Getting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr into the mix again makes sense.
Who will win the Chavez Jr Sweepstakes?