Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Beats Sebastian Zbik to Win Paper Title
By Gabriel Montoya at ringside, from Maxboxing.com (June 5, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
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 legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, for what would be his coronation as an HBO fighter and titleholder Saturday night in 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 wide left hook to 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 card.

  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 it willingly.  

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, a majority 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 round.  

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 opponent.  

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 right.  

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.

You can email Gabriel at maxgmontoya@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim or tune into hear him live on Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST when he co-hosts the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com. Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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