By Victor Salazar
New York - With a little more than a month to go before he steps in the ring with Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KO’s) on May 6th at the T-Mobile in Las Vegas - Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KO’s) is said to be about 8 pounds away from the contracted catch-weight of 164.5-pounds, according to his trainer Nacho Beristain.
Recently, Chavez Jr. posted a stunning photo on his social media accounts, and that picture displayed a ripped and in shape body. Many wonder if Chavez Jr. can lose the rest of the weight properly and not affect his performance on that Cinco De Mayo night.
Former Chavez Jr. strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, is hoping that his former client doesn’t suffer the same fate as Oscar De La Hoya in his 2008 TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao.
In that particular fight, De La Hoya agreed to a catch-weight of 147-pounds. For seven years leading into that showdown, De La Hoya had been competing at junior middleweight and middleweight.
De La Hoya had no problem making 147, but he was literally at the welterweight limit a few "weeks" before the actual fight date. When he finally stepped in the ring, he was physically spent and as a result became a sitting duck for Pacquiao's rapid fire assault.
Chavez Jr. is being handled by conditioning coach Angel "Memo" Heredia.
“I always say aesthetics is one thing and conditioning is another thing,” Ariza told BoxingScene.com. “ You just don’t want them to make that mistake when De La Hoya fought Pacquiao. They get too close [tp the fighting weight] too far away [from the fight date]. To me he looks ready to go, and he still has another month to go.”
“I know Memo, he’s a good guy and knows what he’s doing. Me personally, I wouldn’t bring a guy that close so far out. But my way is my way, but it’s not the only one.”
Ariza acknowledges that Chavez Jr. seems to be taking his training seriously but this upcoming month will prove to be important in how Chavez Jr. performs.
“To get like that doesn’t come easy,” stated Ariza. “So what do you do, do you maintain it? Will he overtrain? Is he burned out. There’s so many things that we’re not privy too but we’ll just have to see on fight night. think he looks good and if he can just stay focused and he can ride it out, he has a chance.”
Ariza feels that Chavez Jr’s activity is the key to him earning a victory.
“You have to look at the Duddy fight, Zbik fight, and the Manfredo fight,” said Ariza. “He threw like 40-50 punches around. That’s where he has to be at. For me it's hard to conceive that guy that size of Canelo could hang in there with that Julio. I think Julio’s been distracted and other things.”
Ariza says that Canelo might just be on another level.
“You look at Canelo and he’s a different fighter than he was after he fought Floyd,” said Ariza of Canelo’s level. “He became a different level fighter. Watching him train, he looks relaxed and confident. Maybe the odds are warranted. He’s quick, he’s powerful and he’s been busy, this is no big stage for him.”