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Is Chavez Jr. as good as he’s going to get?

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Marco Antonio RubioBy Jason Kim: WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has made some strides in improvement since trainer Freddie Roach took over his training in 2010. Since then, Chavez Jr. has beaten John Duddy, Billy Lyell, Sebastian Zbik, Peter Manfredo Jr. and Marco Antonio Rubio.

None of those guys were really dangerous punchers and most of them were a lot smaller than Chavez Jr. by the time he stepped into the ring. I think Chavez Jr. could be about as good as he’s going to get as a fighter and from here on out the best I can see is Chavez Jr. in a holding pattern where he fights no better or no worse. He seems to lack some of the needed ingredients for him to get to another level.

Here is what I see missing from Chavez Jr’s game:

• Power
• Foot speed
• Boxing intelligence
• An effective and consistent jab
• Defense
• Lack of a good outside game

Last Saturday night, Chavez Jr. defeated Rubio by a 12 round decision in San Antonio, Texas. Chavez’s fighting style was basically the same style had been using previous to trainer Freddie Roach joining him. Instead of using his height and reach to his advantage against the shorter Rubio, Chavez Jr. often came inside and fought toe-to-toe in close looking to trade.

It was like Chavez Jr. was still trying to emulate his famous father Julio Cesar Chavez Sr’s fighting style by trying to work in close. Chavez Jr. isn’t made to fight like his father, as he doesn’t have his great conditioning or his power.

I don’t know what Roach can do with Chavez Jr. to improve him at this point because he seems to be on cruise control doing the things he wants to do in the ring and seemingly not following Roach’s game plan. Perhaps I’m wrong but I don’t think Roach wants Chavez Jr. giving up his height and reach against shorter opponents by trying to fight on the inside. If that’s what Roach is teaching Chavez Jr., then Chavez Jr. needs to get a new trainer and quick.

Chavez Jr. isn’t beating the Arum-selected opposition impressive enough to where you can see Chavez Jr. continuing to show improvement. He looks stuck in place and I think Chavez Jr. would have problems if Arum were to break with the pattern of putting him in against beatable fighters by throwing him in with Gennady Golovkin, Andy Lee, Kelly Pavlik, Dmitriy Pirog or Sergio Martinez.

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