In Mexican boxing there is simply no greater legend than Julio Cesar Chavez.
Chavez was a six-time world champion in three weight divisions, and in a 25-year career established himself one of the sport’s all-time greats. Statistically, at the very least, he’s a boxing phenom. His 27 world title defences is a record, as is his total of 31 title fight victories and 37 title bout appearances.
Chavez’s record was 89–0 with one drawn going into his first official loss to Frankie Randall in 1994.
When he retired in 2005, aged 43, his final record was 107-6-2 and nobody could have envisaged anyone coming close to replicating those staggering numbers.
It is rare for modern fighters to get near a half century.
Look at the fuss surrounding the recently retired Floyd Mayweather and his potential return in a bid to go 50-0. That in turn shines a light on Chavez’s achievements. He was 49-0 when he was 23.
This Saturday Chavez will be an interested spectator when another Mexican boxing prodigy steps into the ring for his 48th fight, at the age of just 25.
It is perhaps a little strong to talk about Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as the second coming of Chavez, but his is the type of record rarely seen these days. Health permitting, a fighter who started his career aged 15, could go on to push near to a century of prizefights.
Of his 47 to date, Canelo has won 45 of them. He has just one loss (to Mayweather), while he has a split draw on his record from a four-rounder in his fifth pro bout.
When Chavez was the same age, he was 55-0. Alvarez may not ever quite replicate his sheer numerical weight, but he has emulated him in becoming his nation’s foremost boxing icon, and a victory over Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas on Saturday can help Canelo on his way to joining him among the absolute elite of all-time Mexican greats.
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) November 17, 2015
His duel with Mayweather came too early in his career and let’s not forget Floyd made him boil down to 152lbs. That’s not easy for a naturally big light-middleweight, who will in all likelihood spend the vast majority of his career from here on up a class at 160lbs.
But if Canelo needed a marquee night to show how much he has matured and moved on from that solitary defeat, then he has the perfect opportunity this weekend.
You get the feeling that this is very much his time, and if he picks up the WBC title, it opens the door to more blockbuster fights down the line.
How about this for a scenario? Canelo beats Cotto, but the proud Puerto Rican digs in and makes it a compelling spectacle to earn a rematch. Meanwhile, Andy Lee beats Billy Joe Saunders next month but loses his WBO belt to Gennady Golovkin early next year.
At the same time, Canelo comes through the Cotto rematch and then faces Golovkin late in 2016 with all four major belts on the line.
Too good to be true? Perhaps, but not entirely out of the question.
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