upon a time (according to popular perception and retelling), Julio
Cesar Chavez Jr. grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth with servants
and anything he wanted in all of Mexico if he would merely say the word.
In reality, when he was just a little kid, the same harsh life any
other boxer could tell you about began.
always say that I was born into money, I was the son of a millionaire
and all that,” the WBC middleweight champ Chavez Jr. told Maxboxing.com
and a gaggle of press in Los Angeles back in July. The young titleholder
was in town announcing his September 15 fight on HBO Pay-Per-View at
the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV against the actual
middleweight champion of the world, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. “That’s
reality is that Chavez Jr. is, at the same time, the son of a legendary
fighter and a recovering addict. One can imagine just being one of
those things would be hard. Together, they can only be understood on
some level by those with addicts in their inner circle. Julio Jr. has
worked very hard to get his father sober over the years and keep him
that way. That much is apparent when the perception of him as a young,
spoiled prince who had everything handed to him comes up.
had a very tough life. My parents divorced when I was young. My father
was on drugs for 15, 20 years. When he stopped fighting, he had no
money. We all had to work our way up to where I am now,” said Chavez. “I
am happy that he is better now but it wasn’t easy growing up with that
kind of family. I had to work very hard to get where I am. It hasn’t
been all roses over here.”
he is 46-0-1 with 32 knockouts (including an impressive TKO win in
seven over Andy Lee in June), Chavez is still seen as a spoiled, lazy
kid by many in the media. Certainly Top Rank, his promoter, has taken
advantage of his name (what good promoter wouldn’t?) but they have also
invested quite a large amount of their own money developing Chavez over
eight years to get him HBO-ready. It’s taken time, energy and focus. A
big part of that has been the Chavez Sr.’s sobriety which has given his
son peace of mind to focus on fighting.
you really look at it, it was the John Duddy fight that he stopped
drinking and doing drugs, everything. You will see because before that, I
wasn’t sure what would happen. I wasn’t sure if I was going to see my
dad again. I didn’t know what was going to happen with him,” said
Chavez. “But the last few years, he has cleaned up his act. That helps
me because it helps me concentrate on my boxing because I don’t have to
worry about him.”
hardly an amateur career to speak of (two fights total), Chavez Jr.
came up the hardest way you can. Even with the matchmaking favoring him,
he was learning how to fight through a trial by fire. Still, he never
felt forced into boxing or like he might want to find another
I never in my mind thought about getting out of boxing but there were
some times that were difficult with everything that was happening around
me. In boxing, sometimes there are a lot of emotions,” said Chavez Jr.
inherited his father’s name and chin which has thus far not been
dented. In all his fights (though he may have gotten cut), he has not
been hurt or stunned. Not when Sebastian Zbik (albeit a weak puncher)
teed off for the first half of their fight or when Andy Lee landed his
Sunday best right on the button. Nothing happened and that fight was
effectively over. Even when he tires, Chavez Jr. seems to take a good
that has readied him for this moment: heading into his toughest fight
against an aging champion (Martinez is 37 years old with a record of
49-2-2 and 28 knockouts) with a tricky, slickster style. Chavez will
have to take everything he has learned to take advantage of this step
toward superstar status.
a doubt,” he said. “You go get the experience. You learn how to fight.
You learn how to move in the ring. And I know how far I can go, what I
can and what I can’t do. And that is very important to a fighter.”
are some who say he takes a good shot because he comes into the ring
closer to 190 than he does the 160-pound middleweight limit. In this
fight, watching both men side by side, the difference in their frames is
obvious. Martinez is a small middleweight better suited to 154 pounds.
Chavez looks like he will go up at least one weight class from here.
weight doesn’t matter if I don’t know how to use it,” insisted Chavez
Jr. “For this fight, he’s going to see a lot of different things no one
has ever seen me do. We have a lot of surprises for him. We will use all
our advantages that we have.”
Martinez’s age is a factor. He is, by nature, a mover and a
counterpuncher. He circles out of the southpaw stance with his arms down
or in a defensive posture, hoping you’ll make a mistake. When you do,
he attacks at angles and spins off before you can do anything about it.
Chavez Jr. already knows he will have to employ his best weapon, a
relentless body attack, in order to win.
my trademark now: body punching, going inside. This fight, it is going
to be key,” said Chavez. “When [Martinez] fought in his last fight, his
cup was way up here, almost to his chest. So I know that is what he is
made his father great was not only his style, the vicious body attack,
the relentless pressure or the willingness to get in with just about
anyone on the planet. No, it was something more that made Chavez Sr.
great. It’s what all great fighters share, an ability to go to another
level when the going gets tough. Martinez has shown that ability. Chavez
Sr. showed it time and again. Now it’s his son’s turn to pull away on
his own and forge his own legend. It starts with Martinez, a champion
whose belt he believes Chavez is wearing through political chicanery. If
Junior is to become the real middleweight champion, prove Martinez wrong and become his own man, he cannot lose on Saturday. He has to prevail.
is a great tradition obviously; the great champions that have given us
satisfaction as the best sport in Mexico. I think the people enjoy
seeing us succeed,” said Chavez when this writer asked what boxing meant
to Mexico and his place in its future. “The people right now are
looking for the next big Mexican star and if I can bring it to them in
this important fight, that is important to me and my future.”
Thoughts and note of clarification…
“Sorry about that, Lou”
afternoon at the Fortune Gym, Sergio Martinez had his media day. Lou
DiBella, his promoter, was there. I asked Lou what he thought of a bet
WBC President-for-Life Jose Sulaiman had made with my leaveitintheringradio.com co-host
David Duenez, picking Chavez Jr. The bet was dinner, which I did not
include in my original question but mentioned to Lou later. But in the
interim, he went off and people filmed it and made it into a story.
As Lou would tell me, he was overzealous.
“While I prefer he didn’t make a dinner bet,” Lou told me later in the evening, “it’s not a federal offense. I overreacted.”
gotta say, it brought a little life into the presser. Martinez appears
very focused on the task at hand. His normally longer answers were short
across the board.
I cannot wait for this fight.
can I say? Boy, was I wrong. I rolled with Ward all through the “Super
Six” and then went a bit crazy thinking Chad Dawson could make 168
pounds after six years of not doing it. Make no mistake, Ward was
spectacular. He dominated from bell to bell on my card but Dawson looked
spent from moment one. Listless, lifeless and passionless, Dawson
looked like a guy who did not recover in the rehydration process.
seeing them fight, it’s clear under any circumstances that Ward is the
overall well-rounded fighter. No question. I’d like to see Ward vs.
Andre Dirrell sooner rather than later. To me, it’s really the only
worthwhile fight for Ward at 168, barring someone like Gennady Golovkin
jumping up. The division is now clean.
And no, I won’t be picking against Andre Ward again anytime soon.
“Andre Ward reached for greatness,” HBO’s Max Kellerman said after referee Steve Smoger stopped the fight in the 10th per Dawson’s capitulation.
he didn’t, Max. Had Ward moved up to 175 to challenge for Dawson’s
belt, he would have. Ward defended his turf. Dawson made the weight
sacrifice and the reach for greatness taking on a dangerous, superior
fighter in his hometown.
there a more dangerous fighter at 140 than Lucas Matthysse? The answer
is no. Let’s see if the WBC will allow him near the winner of Danny
Garcia vs. Erik Morales II. Yeah, I know.
my money right now, give me Golovkin and Matthysse as two of the most
exciting guys out there. We need more knockout artists and these guys
are becoming just that.
like this make you remember why people love heavyweights so much
throughout history. There is something about two big dudes beating the
hell out of each other until one of them can’t go anymore. Travis Walker
may be an upset special to win but he is a lock to make any heavyweight
fight exciting. Adamek is at that point but it made for some exciting
of “It’s getting to be that time,” Vitali Klitschko is out of opponents
and things to prove in my opinion. Thanks for the memories. You should
be a pound-for-pound guy. Let’s get to the part where you relinquish
that belt and a bunch of contenders square off for it.
think John Molina Jr. panicked in there against Antonio DeMarco and ref
Jack Reiss may have pulled the plug too soon. I’d have preferred him
calling it a knockdown and going from there. Molina never got going. An
absolute shame. I think the fight had more fun left in it.
DeMarco came to win and win he did. Bring me DeMarco vs. anyone. If
Broner wants it, I’d love that fight. If he doesn’t, we may have to
consider caring about him as someone who wants to entertain us. I’m
tired of all these different leagues in the sport. Let’s see some