By Jake Donovan
As he continues to mature in and out of the ring, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. becomes more confident holding court in any given boxing setting. Once sheltered from the media and rarely available to answer questions, the 25-year old second generation boxer now stands still (or sits) and willingly sticks around until the massive media following he enjoys finally runs out of questions.
One question that will always be asked while he’s still on the rise – when will a showdown occur with longtime in-country rival Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez?
Both fighters are young, undefeated titlists in the heart of their respective primes. Even more fitting is the fact that they fight on HBO just one week apart. Chavez Jr is in Houston this week, preparing for the first defense of his newly acquired middleweight title when he faces Peter Manfredo Jr.
One week later, Alvarez fight in front of HBO cameras for the 4th time this year as he takes on Kermit Cintron next Saturday in Mexico City, Mexico.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the plan is to match up the two young Mexicans at some point in 2012, or whenever they are ready to do business with one another.
Chavez Jr doesn’t want to disrespect the opponent in front of him by discussing future business. It’s not very hard for the unbeaten middleweight, however, as he’s skeptical of whether there’s actually any future business to be had.
“If you ask for my honest opinion, I truly believe that Alvarez will never want to fight me,” Chavez admitted on Thursday afternoon shortly after his pre-fight press conference for Saturday’s fight at the Reliant Arena in Houston. “Everyone keeps talking about, but I question whether he really wants it.”
Such a showdown would either require a cathchweight, or for one fighter to move to the other’s weight class. Chavez currently campaigns in the middleweight division, while Alvarez has recently moved on from his strange obsession with 150 lb. max limit and is now a full-fledged 154 lb. fighter.
But before Chavez Jr. concerns himself with a fight he admits won’t happen any time soon if even at all, he’d much rather worry about the guy he’s actually guaranteed to face.
“I can’t think about those fights. I have to concentrate on what I’m doing right now,” Chavez states. “Manfredo is first. After this weekend if – God willing – I am victorious, I can worry about those other fights. Of course I want them, but I have this fight first.”
Wins by both would only further fuel speculation and anticipation for such a fight. Perhaps an indirect admission, but that Chavez Jr would jump at the opportunity to be the first to defeat Alvarez would mean that he’d have to root for his countryman to continue his winning ways.
“We hope he keeps winning. If we both keep winning and go into the fight undefeated, it makes our fight that much bigger. I want him to keep winning, and to keep coming to me (to fight).”
Of course, Alvarez will also have to stay out of the police blotters in the meantime. An incident in late October cited the 21-year old’s involvement in a street fight that left 108 lb. titlist Ulises ‘Archie’ Solis bloodied and battered, Solis insisted that it was Canelo responsible for the damage caused. The easily identifiable red-head admits to having witnessed the event, but insists that he wasn’t the one getting his hands dirty.
When asked for his take on the rumored incident, Chavez Jr. opted to make light of the situation.
“For all I know, it was a Halloween prank they put out,” Chavez Jr jokes, noting the closeness of the alleged incident to the popular holiday.
Ironically enough, the story hit the news the same day Chavez was in Houston for the initial presser to officially announce this weekend’s fight.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]