LAS VEGAS -- Julio César Chávez says he believes Saul "Canelo" Álvarez beating Floyd Mayweather Jr. would rank among the finest triumphs of Mexican boxing, but that would not necessarily mean the 23-year-old Guadalajara native would have a place among the Mexican boxing elite or be closer to being considered the best Mexican boxer in history.
"People want to rank him where they want. If they want to consider him the best Mexican fighter of all time, that's fine," he said. "It would be a great victory, but this would not catapult him to rank as the best of all time. Otherwise, Juan Manuel Márquez would be due the same after he beat [Manny] Pacquiao."
Chávez would give a lot of credit to Álvarez and his team, as the task ahead Saturday is not an easy one. "They are facing one of the best fighters there has ever been in all history, but first you have to win and then keep proving yourself. Without a doubt he would be taking a big step forward, five steps instead of one, but he would have to face more opponents. You have to remember that he's fighting someone lighter, not at his own weight."
Chávez asserted Álvarez's future will be brighter should he beat Mayweather, although this wouldn't stop any other fight from being a danger to him.
It would be a great victory, but this would not catapult [Álvarez] to rank as the best of all time. Otherwise, Juan Manuel Márquez would be due the same after he beat [Manny] Pacquiao.
"-- Julio César Chávez
"Let's take things calmly -- he will prove himself because he has potential," Chávez said. "He's going to have many fights and he'll have his moment, but this win could be as important as it is dangerous. When you fight the best and then you have to face someone who is supposedly easy to beat, that's when you take your eye off the ball and the defeats begin."
Finally, he compared Álvarez's potential win with the one Márquez had in December against Pacquiao: "It would be similar. What Márquez did was incredible; at his age (39 years old), it's a bigger achievement. Canelo is very young. Even I would rank Juan Manuel's win as more important."
Chávez says he believes Álvarez has a very good chance of beating Mayweather. Erik Morales, Márquez and Carlos Zárate concur, although "I think that he would be at least close to entering into the elite, as not many people can say that they beat the best fighter at the time," said Zárate, the ex-bantamweight titleholder. "This would definitely be a giant step in his career and full credit would have to be given to him."
"But without a doubt it would be very important, and additionally it would be great for Mexican boxing, because it would mean that we would have one more Mexican in the top 10 of the best, pound for pound."
Morales agrees with Márquez: "Everything depends on how things go. I think there is a chance to be able to beat Mayweather, because of the difference in age and weight. They can make the difference, but it would be just one big victory for him and better things would surely come. But you have to go slowly. Let's not put a name on something that is just taking off," said the Tijuana native, who will retire later this year.
"Here, the real winners in the event of a Canelo victory would be Mexican boxers everywhere, and the fans. Victories are always important, and one of this magnitude would be sensational."