By Chris Williams: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (37-0-1, 29 KOs) has decided on fighting a rematch with Matt Vanda (39-7, 22 KOs) on November 1st in a PPV bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s no real surprise that Chavez Jr. has decided upon fighting a rematch with Vanda, since he looked horrible in winning a close 10-round split decision against him in July. Although Chavez Jr., 22, was quick to point later that he was sick while fighting, explaining away his poor performance against the C-class Vanda, I’m not sure that many boxing fans are buying this excuse.
If this was the first time that Chavez Jr. had failed to perform in an impressive manner, a lot more people could give him the benefit of the doubt, but the problem is, he’s looked rather poor and mediocre in his last three bouts previous to the Vanda bout, ones against Ray Sanchez, Jose Celaya and Tobia Giuseppe Loriga. In those fights, Chavez Jr. looked just a shade better than either of them. That’s not a good sign for a fighter that some boxing fans had hopes of becoming a future champion when he first started his professional career five years ago. At 22, a young age for a fighter to be sure, Chavez Jr. still has a lot of time to improve, his fans like to say. However, he isn’t showing any improvement whatsoever in the past year, and, in fact, he appears to be regressing badly as a fighter.
His once good work rate has taken a turn for the worse, he’s become slow and predictable with his attacks, he tires badly by the 6th round, and he’s incredibly easy to hit. Anyone of those problems would be enough on its own to derail him and prevent him from becoming a champion, but when combined together, it makes him not only not a potential future champion, but not even an A-class fighter. In truth, I see Chavez Jr. as a good C-class fighter, around the same level as Vanda. Is he worth shelling out $49.95 to see him fight on PPV?
No, not unless it’s important for you to see the son of boxing great Julio Cesar Chavez, because other than that, there really isn’t a whole lot of reasons to pay a large amount of cash to see a fighter that isn’t a title holder and isn’t a world class fighter. However, what may seem incredible to believe, he’s ranked #7 in the WBC light middleweight division. His flashy unbeaten record probably has a little to do with that, as well as his high appeal with many of his Mexican fans.
Yet, he clearly doesn’t belong in the top 10 at this time from what I’ve seen of him, and I can’t see him doing well if he’s put in with another contender or title holder. It’s unfortunate that he never had an amateur career with which to learn the trade, which is why he’s fought largely soft opposition up until this point, but he’s not doing as well as he needs to do to be considered as a PPV draw. Boxing has a lot of PPV fighters that I feel are no longer worth watching because of their diminished skills, fighters like Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, but at least with them, they were at one time at the top of the sport.
In Chavez Jr’s case, he has never been close to being a champion. The sad fact is, he’s struggling to beat fighters like Vanda, whom he essentially fought to a draw against several months ago. Chavez Jr. got the win, of course, but he didn’t deserve it as far as I’m concerned, and neither did he deserve a win over Carlos Molina, a fighter that he fought to a six-round draw in December 2005. I think Chavez Jr. clearly lost that fight.
I feel that Chavez Jr. needs a lot of work on his many weaknesses and if he’s not showing any progress, he should seriously consider getting out of the sport. Right now, I don’t think he could beat any quality B-class fighters like Alfonso Gomez, and would be badly out of his league if he were put in with a top fighter.
At 22, he has a lot of time to improve but the areas that he’s lagging on, namely his stamina, hand speed and work rate, those are things that are usually already in place by this time, and tend to get worse as the fighter ages. If he doesn’t have those qualities already, I can’t see him finding them as he ages.