In case you haven't heard, there's a pretty big fight taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday between two of the biggest Mexican boxers in the sport when Saul "Canelo" Alvarez faces Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
It's a fight that has split Mexican fans down the middle. #Canelo is the biggest draw in boxing now that Floyd Mayweather is gone and Chavez is the son of undeniably the greatest Mexican boxer in the history of the sport. It's a firmly established legacy versus one that is still growing. And the tension between the two has been thick. But it's not only because they are fighting for Mexican supremacy, they have never liked each other. When Canelo arrived at the MGM Grand Garden for fight week activities, he elaborated why the two just don't get along.
"The rivalry started a long time ago," he said. "We started our careers at the same time but he was the son of a legend so he naturally received more attention. Chepo (Alvarez' trainer) said we should throw out a challenge to him. He had the opportunity to fight us a long time ago and he didn’t. But now the fight is here."
The roles have certainly changed between the two over the past few years. Canelo has become a massive draw with an exceptional record of 48-1-1, with his lone loss being to Floyd Mayweather. At the age of 26, Alvarez has a long career still ahead of him and a super fight with Gennady Golovkin appears to be on the horizon. Meanwhile, Chavez Jr. has faced criticism for not taking his training seriously. After starting his career with a 46-0-1 record, Chavez has gone 4-2 since with losses to Sergio Martinez and Andrzej Fonfara with the latter knocking him out. He's struggled with his weight and even his legendary father has questioned whether his heart is in the game.
It appears that the fight with Canelo has lit a fire under Chavez, who has promised that he'll make the contracted weight of 164.5 pounds and be in the best physical shape of his boxing career. Both have high hopes that they will be able to entertain the fan who will tune it to watch while carrying on Mexican tradition.
But Chavez has been critical of Alvarez and has gone as far to say that his opponent doesn't deserve to be an ambassador for Mexican boxing. To that, Canelo scoffed.
"The question about if he's a better representative shouldn’t even be asked because what he has done in his career is prove what he represents," Canelo said with a laugh.
"He's a guy who has missed weight and has no discipline while I have maintained and kept it clean. How can he possibly say that he’s a better representative for our country?" he asked incredulously. "The difference between us is talent, hunger and discipline. Against him I don't even think about defeat. The things he says make me laugh and I'll show him who the real Mexican champion is on May 6th."