Chavez Jr. vs. Lee: Julio facing his first tall middleweight that can fight
By Dan Ambrose: On June 16th, WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31 KO’s) will be fighting Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KO’s) at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas in what will be the first of many things for the 26-year-old Chavez Jr.
For starters, the 6’2″ Lee will be the first tall middleweight that the 6-foot Chavez Jr. has faced during his 9-year pro career. Up to this point, Chavez Jr. has pretty much always been the taller fighter facing guys from 5’9″ to 5’11” with most of them being around 5’10”. Facing someone that much taller than the guys that Chavez Jr. has been facing in the past is going to be a problem for him because he’s been able to use his height – and weight – to dominate shorter and lighter fighters. Once you take away the advantage in height for Chavez Jr., he’s lost one of his biggest advantage.
Besides the height issue, Chavez Jr. also will be facing for the first time a fighter with excellent power. I know Marco Antonio Rubio was considered a big puncher, but really he was just a guy with heavy hands and inflated resume with a lot of wins over 2nd and 3rd tier opposition. Lee is much bigger puncher with either hand, and he’s also bigger puncher than Chavez Jr. Lee hits harder than Chavez Jr. and he’s also a southpaw and that’s going to make things even tougher for Chavez Jr. because he’s going to be talking into right hooks if he tries to get in close like he always does.
Lee will also be the first opponent that Chavez Jr. has faced who moves well around the ring. Lee is light on his feet and is able to get around the ring like a smaller version of Wladimir Klitschko. Chavez Jr. has fought mostly stationary fighters that stood in one place for him. He hasn’t had to deal with a fighter that can move a little, and that’s made things a lot easier for Chavez Jr. because he tends to tire quickly when he moves around.
I know Chavez Jr. recently showed some brief movement in his fights against Peter Manfredo Jr. and Rubio, but it was only brief. Chavez Jr. can’t keep that up for more than a round or two without gassing out, especially with him carrying 180 pounds of weight around the ring.