By Jose M. Romero / @RomeroJoseM
So nobody blinked and backed down, and both big fights are on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
It’s Canelo Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez at the MGM, and a short cab ride away, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez at the Thomas & Mack Center near the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
These are both great fights, but the Chavez-Martinez fight feels more like a heated grudge match because these two combatants have taken plenty of verbal jabs at one another. Be it on HBO’s 24-7 program, or at press conferences. That makes this, the middleweight title fight between two giants of the sport, the better of the two.
Martinez’s emotions might be disadvantageous to him. He’s shown himself to be insulted to have to be in the same ring as someone he thinks is not qualified to face him. He’s mad at Chavez. He wants to knock out the son of a great Mexican champion and spoil Mexican Independence Day, and he thinks Chavez is entitled having grown up wealthy.
That’s perhaps too much bitterness to bring into the ring. It could work against him.
Chavez is apparently in the best shape before a fight of his career. He has big knockout power and will have the crowd on his side, plus the motivation to step further out of his father’s shadow.
But Chavez seems undisciplined, easy to frustrate and hasn’t faced that many quality opponents. His training was irregular. He could come in sluggish with a full day to eat. It’s too hard to pick him as the clear-cut winner.
Martinez has more experience and skill on his side. If he moves around the ring a lot and breaks down Chavez, he can win. But if Chavez can land big body blows and slow down Martinez, he can win the decision.
A knockout doesn’t seem likely in this one. But it will be a good fight for sure. With all that talking between Chavez and Martinez, someone will be silenced.
Alvarez-Lopez seems like a matchup of two more humble fighters who don’t have that kind of animosity for each other. But Lopez has to feel slighted by the money involved. Alvarez, according to Boxing Scene, receives $2 million. Lopez, one of the best stories in sports this year for his stunning TKO over Victor Ortiz, gets $212,500.
Lopez earned this opportunity and it’s good that he gets it. He’s a guy that worked hard and didn’t stop believing in himself to get to the point of headlining a major Las Vegas fight card.
Alvarez, like Ortiz, is in a position where he is the heavy favorite to win, and it could affect him. Lopez can walk in the ring with nothing to lose. No one thought he’d be there, anyway.
Both fighters will get plenty of support from the fans at the MGM. Come to think of it, Vegas is going to feel like another city in Mexico with all of the fight fans about town.
Boxing promoters are smart enough to know who is the sport’s main target audience. It’s Latinos. There’s a reason why the big boxing cards are in May and September – think big Mexican holidays.
But scheduling two huge events on the same day is not good business. Making fans choose is a dilemma that should not be there. Give everyone a chance to see everything; don’t limit his or her options. Boxing events of this magnitude don’t happen that often as it is.
There are plenty of other days to schedule a fight, even a Friday and Saturday thing if it’s going to be on the same weekend.