There’s a lot to Like About Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
By James Connell: This Saturday, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is set to return to the ring – and our television sets – for the first time since his defeat to the unified middleweight champion, Sergio Martinez. The ‘24/7’ documentary series that HBO ran in the run up to that fight displayed a lot of the negative facets of Chavez Jr’s game: his seeming lack of discipline being one aspect of his personality that didn’t endear him to many fans when, especially so when one compares this with Martinez’s supreme dedication and determination to be the best.
The actual fight between the two men was an utter mismatch. Martinez’s hand speed, footwork and movement were lovely, and he rocked back the younger Chavez Jr. continuously, snapping his head to the sky, and slowing the Mexican’s attempt to stalk him down. But the crux of this article and the reasons why Chavez Jr. is such a likeable fighter to watch, can all be seen in the twelfth and final round of that fight (if you haven’t seen it, YouTube now, it’s more than worth your time).
After eleven rounds of punishment, of being pushed back, Chavez Jr. kept coming and coming; regardless of the punches he wore, he kept walking forward, slowed, but not stopped. He rallied in this final round to knock Martinez down, and one suspects, if it were a fifteen rounder, he might have provided fans with a Leonard vs. Hearns I-esque upset.
Being the son of an all time legend, and bearing a name that is instantly recognizable to fight fans can’t be easy. Many had doubts for a long while that – to echo Greg Hauser’s unforgivable slur – Chavez Jr. had beefed his record up by fighting glorified taxi drivers; but in spite of his sometimes petulant attitude, his difficulty in keeping both physical and mental discipline and his marijuana related run-ins with the boxing authorities, I – for one – love watching this guy fight. He is, and most probably never will be as good as his father was, but Chavez Jr. possesses much of the same skill and assets that made Chavez Sr. the fighter he was: a relentless stalking down of opponents; thunderous body blows; an iron chin. Just as Chavez Sr. was the ‘archetypal’ Mexican fighter, Chavez Jr. has adopted these tactics, and it’s worked for him. For me, he is a very exciting boxer, as he’ll hit – and get hit – a whole bunch in his fights.
After too long out of the ring, it’ll be intriguing to see how he adapts after his first professional loss. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment in the box below, I’ll get back to you. Very interested to hear how far others think Chavez Jr. can go in the game.
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