Chavez Jr focused on 172lb catch-weight fight against Fonfara on Saturday
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) By Dan Ambrose: #3 WBA, #3 WBC super middleweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (48-1-1, 32 KOs) will be making his first fight in 13 months this Saturday night against #4 WBA, #4 WBC, #8 WBO, #10 IBF light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara (26-3, 15 KOs) in their catch-weight fight at 172 pounds at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The Chavez Jr-Fonfara fight will be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing at 10:00 ET. This will be Chavez Jr’s first fight under the guidance of new trainer Joe Goosen, who he is hoping will take him to a world title at 168. Chavez Jr. wants to fight at super middleweight rather than light heavyweight.
The only reason he’s fighting in the 175 pound division is because he’s been out of the ring due to contract issues with his former promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. Chavez Jr. is no longer with Arum and Top Rank, and he’s now looking to continue his career after the layoff.
Chavez Jr’s famous father Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. didn’t want him to fight the hard hitting Fonfara in his first fight back. Chavez Sr. was hoping he would fight someone else, preferably a softer opponent.
“I would’ve liked to have seen him take a tune-up fight instead [of Fonfara] because of his long layoff,” Chavez Sr. said via ESPN.com. “I particularly didn’t want this fight,” Chavez Sr. said. “Julio wants credibility in this sport and that’s why he made the decision to take this fight.”
This probably will be a difficult fight for the 29-year-old Chavez Jr., because even when he was fighting on a regular basis at 160, he wasn’t really destroying his opposition. He usually had to struggle to get wins, and he frequently had to drain down in weight to make the 160 pound limit.
Chavez Jr. had tough fights against the likes of Marco Antonio Rubio and Matt Vanda. In 2012, he was beaten by Sergio Martinez. Chavez Jr. was subsequently suspended after that fight due to him testing positive for marijuana. He’s only fought twice since then in beating middleweight Brian Vera. He didn’t look good in either fight.
If Fonfara, 27, can beat Chavez Jr. then he’ll spoil his plans on fighting WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch. That’s the fight that Chavez Jr. wants to take. The fight could still go ahead even if Chavez Jr. does lose to Fonfara, but it would mean that Froch would receive a great deal of criticism from fans for taking the fight.
“I am very focused going into this fight. I have changed a lot mentally this past year,” said Chavez. “When I was training with Freddie Roach, it was very different. I think Freddie is a great trainer, but Joe also has a lot of experience and we have made a connection together.”
There’s a weight penalty for the Fonfara fight. If Chavez Jr. comes in over the limit, he’ll be charged $100K per pound over the limit. For his first fight against Vera in 2013, Chavez Jr. was unable to make the 168 pound limit.
Eventually the fight had to be moved to 173. Chavez Jr. reportedly rehydrated up to 187 pounds the night of the fight.
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