Photo by Tom Hogan
With the Cinco de Mayo showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. just one week away, we can only hope both fighters, particularly Chavez, are taking training camp seriously and preparing to give us a boxing classic Mexican fighters are known for. The fight takes place this Saturday in Las Vegas, NV at T-Mobile Arena. As I think about the fight, between the most popular Mexican fighter today in Alvarez against the son of the most famous Mexican fighter in history, I wonder why not throw down in Mexico? It’s because Las Vegas and Boxing, similar to America, needs Mexicans. The fight has to be in Las Vegas. It takes Mexican fighters to come in and do the dirty work as well as draw fans to come in and spend money in the most popular city on maybe the most popular fight week of the year.
Mexican fighters bring fans, fill seats, and put in the grit and grind that other fighters (similar to entitled Americans) are not willing to do, either in the ring or in the workforce. Aside from that, who do you think purchases the overpriced tickets and PPV’s? It’s Mexican fans. We come with cash earned from working hard and consistently doing labor nobody wants to do. It’s no different than our Mexican fighters. Think of all the greats (Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Eric Morales, etc.). Why do we love them? It’s because of the blood, sweat, and hard work they put in the ring. They come in ready to go and are willing to take a thousand punches through the course of a fight, and brawl in a phone booth, because they respect the job and the craft and they want to put on a show. Imagine if everyone brought that same passion to work, whether American or Mexican. Let’s hope both Alvarez and especially the privileged Chavez keep the Mexican tradition of boxing alive and don’t disappoint.
Let’s hope the fighters betting their respective purses while displaying obvious animosity toward each other on HBO’s Face Off with Max Kellerman adds some real drama and fire to the fight this weekend. It’s obvious that Canelo does not respect the more privileged Chavez Jr., who has a reputation of being callous and disrespectful to the sport with his history of drug use and propensity to not make weight. Let’s be honest, although we hope he brings some of the cloth of his father, Chavez Jr. has a big chore ahead of him to provide us with what his father and other great Mexican fighters have all historically tried to do; brawl and bleed for us while displaying heart and valor in the ring which is something Chavez has yet to do for the sport in the shadow of his father. On that same token, Canelo has to look more than impressive and use this fight to work toward a super bout with Gennady Golovkin to rid of his own detractors.
Regardless of either of their paths or reputations, Canelo and Chavez each have a chance to earn some pride in boxing and definitely some bragging rights among their country and their fans. When they step into the ring on Saturday May 6th, the privilege and popularity (or lack thereof) fall out the window. It’s mano y mano and their performances will leave a permanent mark on their legacy in boxing. For Canelo, we will see if he is the heir and true Golden Boy to replace Floyd Mayweather as boxing’s top bill. For Chavez Jr., we will see if he can earn some respect and step out his father’s shadow and shed his somewhat parasitic reputation in the sport his father helped build. When it’s all said and done, which fighter will prove their worth?