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Alvarez in a Mexican civil war

Frank Monkhouse | 6 May 2017

Boxing purists have a treat in store

We won’t get quite the glitz and glamour of last weekend’s Joshua win over Klitschko, but if that blockbuster in London was one for the casual fight fans, this weekend’s showpiece is very much catered towards the purists out there.

Two of the biggest names in Mexico go head-to-head on Saturday evening at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as Saul Alvarez battles Julio Cesar Chavez. If the mention of those two gladiators meeting in the ring doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, it matters not, we’re in for a war of epic proportions all the same.

Alvarez Lara Boxing

Best of British not good enough

26-year-old Canelo Alvarez returns to the ring for the first time since making light work of Britain’s Liam Smith in Texas last summer. The fans’ favourite got rid of Beefy in nine brutally devastating rounds, dropping him in the seventh, eighth and then finishing in the ninth.

In the outing before, another Brit was given similar treatment, Amir Khan battered into submission in six rounds, after bulking up to middleweight for the money, which was a ridiculous move. Khan may have thought his hand speed and boxing skills would’ve seen him through, but it’s impossible to keep the fighting pride of Jalisco off all night, unless, of course, you’re Floyd Mayweather.

Canelo seeking a hat-trick of KO wins

The self-proclaimed Best Ever dealt Saul his only career defeat back in 2013 when taking a majority decision, but the margin of victory was much greater than the scorecards suggest, as just about everyone will remember. Alvarez now has a career record of 48 wins, one draw and that single defeat to Money.

He is no better than 1/10 favourite to win on Saturday, which prices regular punters out of an interest, even in stacked accumulators. The jolly arrives seeking a hat-trick of KO wins, to enhance his 68 per cent stoppage average, and another inside the distance triumph can be backed at even money. A worthwhile play, given the outright betting.

After brutally stopping Amir Khan, Canelo will next face Liam Smith.

Chavez shadow boxing

The betting would suggest Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr was a mere opponent in this bout. A record of 50 wins, 32 by KO, against two defeats and a draw tells otherwise. The 31-year-old from Culiacan has been fighting to escape his father’s shadow for much of his career, but has the chance to really stake his claim for greatness in the game with victory here.

Each of his two losses have come in Chavez’s last six bouts, to Sergio Martinez for the WBC middleweight crown and Andrzej Fonfara for the WBC light-heavyweight title, another foolishly leaping up through the weight divisions.

Odds seem to have this spot on

The underdog returned to winning ways with back-to-back cheers in his two starts since, outpointing Marcos Reyes and Dominik Britsch, both over 10 rounds. Each of those would’ve given him very little, other than an opportunity to shake the rust off and get the confidence back in his work. Our sports trades aren’t convinced, and go 11/2 the upset, while a third points win is 9/1.

The market seems to have this one spot on, and I fancy Canelo to do the business. As it’s an all-Mexican dust-up, there’s no other option than this finishing well inside the distance. Alvarez by KO/TKO at evens looks the shrewd call.

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