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Chavez Jr. defeats Rowland, fails to impress

By Jim Dower: Unbeaten light middleweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (41-0-1, 30 KO’s) continued his unbeaten streak with a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision over Troy Rowland (25-3, 7 KO’s) on the undercard of the World Boxing Organization welterweight title match between champion Miguel Cotto and challenger Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The final judges’ scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93, all for Chavez Jr. Despite getting the win, the 23-year-old Chavez Jr. looked far from impressive in the 10 round bout. Chavez Jr. looked slow and not particularly powerful as he attempted to take the 34-year-old Rowland out round after round with power shots. Chavez Jr. had the perfect opponent for him to take out, yet another B-level fighter.

chavez56445However, Chavez’s punches lacked power and the necessary crispness to hurt Rowland. This was only the 3rd fight for Rowland in the past four years. He was out of boxing from 2005 to April 2009.

Chavez Jr., the son of boxing great Julio Cesar Chavez, won most of the early rounds of the fight with his constant body work and hard hooks to the head. However, Rowland never backed down and came on in the last three rounds of the fight as Chavez Jr. tired out and lost steam on his punches. The MGM crowd booed the action periodically, and also booed Chavez Jr. when it was announced that he had won the fight. Chavez Jr. tried his best in the fight, but his lack of big power and speed seemed to make this fight a lot less interesting to watch than the other fights on the undercard. Chavez’s bout came on just before the title fight between Pacquiao and Cotto. In hindsight, it might have been a better choice if they had put the Yuri Foreman vs. Daniel Santos fight on before the Cotto-Pacquiao bout, although that fight wasn’t all that interesting to watch either.

In rounds one though four, Chavez plodded forward throwing hooks to the body and head. Chavez rarely threw a jab as he came forward and seemed to be totally focused in trying to knock Rowland out. Rowland fired back with punches at a constant rate, but he had no power whatsoever. It was easy to tell why he had been selected for Chavez Jr., because he was never going to be much of a threat to beat Chavez with his kind power. At times, Chavez did a nifty job of ducking punches thrown his way. However, the vast majority of shots that Rowland threw at him landed. Rowland fought well in both the 1st and the 4th, out-landing Chavez and keeping him under constant fire. Rowland began to show signs of swelling under his left eye by the 4th round.

Chavez controlled the action in rounds five through eight, landing the harder shots but looking very slow and average. The crowd began to boo the action in the 5th round, perhaps upset because both fighter looked slow and lacking in intensity. Chavez was trying, but he just couldn’t fight very fast and his power or lack thereof, guaranteed that there were going to be more than a few disappointed fans in the audience.

In the 9th and 10th rounds, Chavez Jr. suddenly began to look very tired and slowed down with his punch output. Rowland then took over and began backing Chavez up and hitting him with nice combinations. Chavez fought back gamely, but he was really sloppy looking by this point and hand nothing on his shots.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed with Chavez’s performance at all. This was another B level fighter that was handpicked for Chavez to look good against. Chavez is ranked number #1 in the WBC and #3 in the WBO in the light middleweight division. With that kind of ranking, you would think that he should be a lot better than he looked on Saturday night.

I just couldn’t see Chavez fighting champions Sergio Martinez, Paul Williams and Sergeii Dzinziruk. If he’s put in with one of those champions, I don’t like Chavez’s chances at all. I suspect that his management won’t put him with a champion for some time to come. Even John Duddy, a middleweight with moderate power, would be more than a handful for Chavez at this point.

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