Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dan Rafael [Print without images]

Thursday, September 13, 2012
Weekend pits Chavez vs. Canelo

By Dan Rafael

Saul  Alvarez
Saul Alvarez insists he and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are not rivals despite competing at the box office.
LAS VEGAS -- As we all know, there are two big cards a mile apart on Saturday night. The two stars of night -– middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and junior middleweight titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez -– are in the separate main events.

Chavez faces lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez on the HBO PPV/Top Rank card at the Thomas & Mack Center. Alvarez defends against upset-minded Josesito Lopez on the Showtime/Golden Boy show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

In essence, Chavez and Alvarez are competing with each other on Mexican Independence Day weekend, even if they won't be swapping punches. And because both are major stars in Mexico, and beginning to make an impression with the American audience as well, there has long been talk from fans and media about an eventual fight between them.

It would be enormous on pay-per-view and could probably fill a giant soccer stadium in Mexico. It would certainly sell out the major arenas in Las Vegas.

But it's a long way off, if ever, from happening.

They are separated by one weight class and Chavez is likely headed for super middleweight in the next fight or two. Alvarez contends that he will remain at junior middleweight for "a long time."

Top Rank and Golden Boy spoke about the fight about a year ago, but they are bitter rivals, and it gets worse all the time. There's almost zero chance of Chavez and Alvarez fighting each other any time soon.

But Chavez is clearly in the bigger fight this weekend. Some weekend maybe Alvarez will be, just not this weekend.

Alvarez said he wasn't concerned that Chavez's fight, which was sold out earlier this week and expected to do at least 400,000 pay-per-view buys, might overshadow his.

"For everyone, the sun is out for all of us," Alvarez said. "I wish him the best. He has his fans, I have my fans and I wish him the best of success."

While fans and media view them as rivals, Alvarez said he does not look at it that way.

"I've never considered him a rival," Alvarez said. "We are in the same sport. Maybe down the road we could get it together and then we will be rivals. We are both fighting this weekend so let's just make it a bigger and better Sept. 15. [Chavez's fight] doesn't affect me, it's no threat to me. I keep going my way, he keeps going his. And if down the road we meet, that's fine."