Writer Predictions: Canelo a Smaller Man But A Big Favorite

Photo: Ed Mulholland

Photo: Ed Mulholland

Kieran Mulvaney: Canelo TKO 9

Chavez looks like he is struggling desperately to make weight. Canelo looks focused and ready. Chavez will come out strong, because he'll know his only chance is to land something early. But when Canelo is still standing after a few rounds, Chavez will tire and Alvarez will take over, pounding Chavez to the body and breaking him down until the fight is stopped in the 9th round of an increasingly one-sided beating.

Oliver Goldstein: Canelo TKO 10

Ring rust, wear-and-tear, as well as all-out laziness will be in the corner against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night (in addition to Canelo Alvarez). Still, Chavez Jr., for all that he’s been guilty of those crimes, remains capable of the dangerous and shocking when he’s readied enough to go. And should a chance to beat Mexico’s premier fighter be sufficient cherry to get him working, this could be quite a fistfight. All the same, I take Canelo to take Jr. out in the mid-to-late rounds.

Hamilton Nolan: Canelo

Canelo will win, being the more polished boxer and the stronger puncher and generally the higher quality fighter in every way. He's capable of knocking out Chavez, but I hesitate predicting it because Chavez -- although he lacks the crazy desire necessary to make himself a real champion -- has a good chin and hits hard and can rally in a fight out of sheer stubbornness, if he wants to. Has the potential to be a really entertaining fight, if Chavez decides not to fold.

Springs Toledo: Canelo TKO

Canelo/Chavez Jr.’s Face-Off with Max Kellerman is a likely indication of how the fight will go -- Canelo will take control early and exploit Chavez’s lack of confidence while a self-conscious Chavez will give away too many rounds. When Chavez does engage, he will fight too close and give Canelo opportunities to do damage. Chavez will, however, have moments en route to a decision loss.    

Gordon Marino: Canelo TKO 6-8

I see Canelo winning by a TKO between the 6th and 8th rounds. Canelo stays in the pocket and is one of the most adept counter-punchers in the bruising business. There will be a lot openings on Saturday. Chavez Jr. throws wide shots. Alvarez has trouble with fighters who show a lot of lateral movement, but this time his opponent will be right in front of him. Both combatants have big hearts, strong chins, and can bang. It is a terrific matchup.

Eric Raskin: Canelo TKO 10

In this case, the bigger man is not the better man. Canelo, despite giving away four inches and maybe 15 or so pounds on fight night, seems to me to have nearly every advantage. He'll have to avoid taking a devastating punch from his much larger opponent, of course, but I expect that he'll do just that, prove difficult to catch clean, work the body, wear Chavez down, and force the stoppage in the later rounds.

Carlos Acevedo: Canelo 12 W

Between the weigh-in and the first bell, Julio Cesar Chávez is likely to add 20 pounds, which means that Saul Álvarez will be facing a cruiserweight in the ring. This fact makes handicapping their showdown somewhat tricky. But Alvarez is a far more talented fighter—as well as a far more dedicated athlete. Alvarez is also a wily counterpuncher who is patient enough to wait for openings before striking with precision. If Chávez tries to crowd Álvarez with the same clumsy tactics he used against Andrzej Fonfara a few years ago, “Canelo” will make him pay from round to round, especially with uppercuts and counter hooks.

Diego Morilla: Canelo 12 UD

Styles make fights, yes. But height and weight differences, desire, heart and personal issues make fights interesting, and by that measure we can definitely expect this fight to be as intriguing and exciting as any. With no title at play, personal pride and national bragging rights will take center stage, and we can definitely count on the fight becoming a dirty brawl at one point or another. But in the end, the “Cinnamon Kid” will prove to be the one who wants it more, and he'll have the initiative, the speed advantage (for this time only...) and the better defense that will propel him to a career-defining win.

Michael Gluckstadt: Canelo 12 UD

Follow any fight promotion long enough and you'll find yourself making a case for the underdog. “He's showing newfound discipline”; “He has a new trainer”; “He’ll be motivated by the higher-than-ever stakes” -- these are all rationalizations of a subconscious looking for a fair fight. Your best pick is your first one, and for me it's Canelo by a wide decision.