The roof of Staples Center
nearly came off as the strains of “We Will Rock You” began and young Julio
Cesar Chavez Jr., 43-0-1 (30), entered the ring proceeded by his father, the
legendaryJulio Cesar Chavez,
for what would be his coronation as an HBO fighter and titleholderSaturday nightin Los Angeles. The music quickly
turned to a mariachi melody as the two Chavezes approached the ropes and
entered the ring for Junior’s first title shot.
The WBC middleweight
titleholder, German-born Sebastian Zbik, 30-1 (10), followed to boos (and some
cheers) that were soon drowned out as Chavez Sr. was introduced.
As the fight began, the
chants of “Chavez!” immediately began and Zbik came out jabbing to the belly of
Chavez Jr. Zbik got in a couple right hands early and Junior responded with a
wideleft hookto the body. Zbik came right back,
however, and landed two more right hands. A small contingent of German fans
chanted for Zbik and were quickly drowned out by chants of “Mexico!” The action
went in close and Zbik worked to Chavez’s body. Late in the round, Chavez was
able to get off a right hand and land a couple good shots inside. Zbik finished
off with a right hand a left uppercut to take the first round on this writer’s
With Zbik having an edge in
hand speed when they kept things to the head, Chavez instead went to the body,
landing to Zbik’s in flurries. Zbik landed a nice left hook off the jab and a
good right hand but when the action went inside, he ate a lot of shots to the
ribs. Junior landed a low blow with a minute to go that hurt Zbik but the
action quickly resumed and Chavez went right back to the body. Zbik landed a
nice right hand late in the round that was not lacking for action.
Chavez’s right eye was
already showing signs of swelling to start the third and Zbik kept at it with
hard right hands and a steady jab. Over and over, Zbik landed his right hand
which prompted Chavez to showboat in the corner to show he was not hurt. A
follow-up flurry by Chavez seemed to get blocked but a right hand late in the
round was not; the young challenger then seized the chance to make a statement.
Overall, it was still a Zbik round though in close, Junior was able to get in
quality body work.
The fourth was another Zbik
round as Chavez’s offensive output dwindled to nothing. Zbik pressed the action
and kept landing his crisp right hand. Chavez could only stare at him and eat
The action stayed at center
ring for much of round five as the two men fought it out on the inside. This
played into Chavez’s hands as he was able to get his uppercut going and landed
a nice right hand, rocking Zbik just a bit. This was the first round that
seemed possible to score for Chavez as he got to Zbik’s body, while the
German’s offense lacked throughout.
Zbik seemed to tire in the
sixth as Chavez’s physical strength pushed him back and wore him out over the
previous few rounds. Outside the ring, Chavez Sr. stood, chewing gum rapidly
and yelling instructions to his son, urging him forward. Junior seemed to hear
him and let his hands go, getting in a left hook that shook Zbik.
Chavez seemed to take over
even more in the seventh. The body work was paying off as Zbik looked more and
more weary. A hard right hand by Chavez rocked Zbik late and the kid opened up
with Zbik on the ropes. When the bell rang, Zbik walked awkwardly and wearily
to his corner.
Zbik went right back to
fighting on the inside as Chavez pressed forward. A hard left hook by
Junior seemed to hurt Zbik but the German pressed on. They traded right hands
but it was clear Chavez had the heavier hands. As the round pressed on, Chavez
backed Zbik into the ropes and unloaded to his body.
Zbik began the round going
to the body of Chavez with right hands. Chavez egged him on to throw more and
then unloaded his own shots. The crowd got excited but Zbik answered right back
and Chavez went dormant. It was a tight round but Zbik seemed to get the better
of Chavez, landing a nice right hand to punctuate the round. Still, with both
men not letting their hands go so much, it was a tough round to score.
Chavez ramped up his body
attack and almost stayed to it exclusively throughout the tenth round, causing
Zbik to back up and establish distance.
Zbik seemed totally spent in
the 11th as Chavez kept at his midsection. Zbik would arm-punch to
the face of Chavez to zero effect and Junior would just keep coming and going
at him. Zbik had hit the wall completely.
The action was back and
forth in the 12th round as both stood and traded for much of the
fight. Chavez stayed to the body; Zbik tried to answer him upstairs but he
seemed weary and unable to keep the kid off him with power much less quickness.
In the end, it was all Chavez, who came forward and kept his hands busy.
In the end, judge Steve Morrow
had it 114-114 while Raul Caiz Jr. and John Keane had it for Chavez, Jr. by
scores of 115-114 and 116-112, respectively, amajority decision.
My scorecard had it even.
With the win, Chavez Jr.
stays undefeated and picks up a sham of a title belt at middleweight.
It was a tight first round
for featherweights Miguel “Mikey” Garcia, 26-0 (22), and late replacement
Rafael “Cho Cho” Guzman, 28-3 (20). It took time for Garcia to get used to the
awkward and rangy Guzman’s style. Garcia was able to get in a good shot at the
end of the round but mainly it was a feel-out affair in the first stanza.
Garcia found his rhythm in
the second as he began to find a home for his left hook and right hand. Guzman
was cut, seemingly by a punch, over his right eye and blood streamed down the
side of his face as he was strafed by Garcia power punches throughout the
In the third, Garcia began
to really dig into Guzman, shooting the left hook to his body and then coming
upstairs on him with an overhand right that set up the left hook once again.
Guzman spent more time looking for reasons to complain than fighting back and
ate more and more leather as the round wore on. Down the stretch, the end
seemed inevitable but the bell rang before Garcia could finish off his
Guzman seemed to have his
bearings back in the fourth as he went on the attack, try to fend off Garcia’s
oncoming train. However, Garcia had to have it and the economic power-puncher
picked away at Guzman and bided his time until finally a long range right hand
landed flush and dropped Guzman hard. He tried to rise but fell over on his
side. Fight over at 1:55 and another exciting win for Mikey Garcia, who is quickly
becoming one to watch.
It was a tentative first
minute of round one for both junior middles Vanes Martirosyan and Saul Roman. Martirosyan
took initiative and landed a good right hand to get things going early. However,
pushing the aggression cost Vanes a moment later as a Roman right hand left
hook dropped Vanes on the seat of his pants as he came in looking to land a
combination. Vanes got up and went after Roman and landed a few good right
hands but the round belonged to Roman off that knockdown.
Roman came to fight and landed
a good right hand, consistently landing his counter left hook inside. Vanes’
nose was bloodied badly already one minute into the round. Roman stayed patient
as Vanes bounced around the ring looking to flurry in spots. Roman landed a
nice right hand left hook again to end the round.
The third was a close as
both men landed quality shots. Vanes spent a lot of the round moving and dancing
in order to set up his long-range right hand while missing his left hook early
on. Roman used his counter right in those moments to excellent effect and it
was clear he was the one with the better power in the ring. Still, Vanes was
able to get in his right hand and left hook in the middle and back of the round
while Roman was only in control in the first minute with his jab and counter
Martirosyan took over the
fourth round, moving Roman into position for counters, using his jab and right
hand from long range, and getting in a couple hard left hooks. Roman did a lot of
following around and was outboxed for most of it.
Bleeding under his right
eye, Martirosyan seemed to feel some urgency in the fifth and began to unload a
few uppercuts and nice hand right hand that snapped back Roman’s head. He took
a few but landed the majority of the telling blows to win the round.
Roman started out the sixth
round going right after Martirosyan, seemingly backing him up for a lot of the
round, getting in uppercuts and his left hook. Vanes tried to keep things
boxing but Roman’s plan seemed to be to weather the early storm and attack
aggressively in the back of the fight. It worked for much of this round.
Roman went on the offensive again
in the seventh, working Vanes into the ropes and landing power shots. Vanes
responded well, getting his bearings, and landing a series of right hands that
hurt Roman more and more until finally he slumped into the ropes, prompting the
referee to begin his count. Roman would rise and get his bearings but Vanes,
sensing the end was possible, stepped on the gas and let his hands go. Left
hooks landed flush, then more right hands. Finally, with just seconds left in
the round, Martirosyan moved in and landed right after right. Roman went into
the ropes, his head began snapping back and that was that, a TKO at 2:58 of the
seventh round. Vanes Martirosyan has now positioned himself as the number one
contender to Saul Alvarez’s WBC belt at 154 pounds.