SAN DIEGO, September 28, 2013 – It is both a blessing and a curse to be born with a famous name and the legacy that goes with it. You reap the benefits of experience and connections. Doors open for you more easily. You also face doubters who believe your achievements are not earned, but handed to you on a silver platter.
This is the dilemma facing Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., son of one of Mexico’s most legendary boxers and athletes in any sport. After a year out the ring, Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KO) faces workhorse middleweight Brian Vera (23-6, 14 KO) of Austin, Texas on Saturday at one of the best venues in boxing, the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. The fight will be broadcast on HBO Boxing at 10:15 p.m. ET.
Chavez the son has never captured the public’s affection the way his father did. Chavez Senior was a six-time world champion in three divisions with a record of 107-9. This is a nearly impossible act to follow and perhaps it’s too much to ask.
In his last bout against Sergio Martinez, Chavez was worked over for 11 rounds. He came out a different fighter in Round 12, knocking down Martinez who got up and hung on for the victory. Chavez tested positive for marijuana afer the fight and was fined and suspended for nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Chavez Jr.’s ongoing issue is making weight. Vera originally agreed to fight 12 rounds at 162 pounds, slightly above the middleweight limit. Then the Chavez camp got Vera to increase the weight limit to super middleweight, 168 pounds. Chavez apparently still struggled, and in a last minute discussion with Vera’s camp, the weight limit was reset. Amid a lot of rumors, no one really knows where it ended up. The length of the bout has been shortened from 12 to 10 rounds.
At Friday’s weigh-in, Vera came in at 171.2 pounds, looking strong. Chavez Jr. needed a cookie. He weighed 172.4 pounds. It didn’t help his case when he looked like he borrowed his pink briefs from one of the Tecate girls.
When Chavez faced Marco Antonio Rubio in February 2012, by some miracle he cleared 160 pounds at the weigh-in. By the opening bell, he weighted 181 pounds. What will Chavez Jr. weigh tonight? It’s personally disgraceful and disrespectful for a fighter not to make weight. This is his JOB.
Friday night on Twitter, the great British heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis expressed his opinion, tweeting, “If ur a PROFESSIONAL fighter, it’s ur duty to show up in shape at contracted weight and ready to fight! Just that simple … Ppl think they can fake it & some can.. But only for so long. The fight game will keep u honest or eat u up if u don’t treat it seriously … If ur not willing to do EVERYTHING it takes to be ur best… Then why do u even fight? #MessageToFighters”
It’s a shame the sport will never return to weigh-ins the day of the bout, because they have become too big a promotional event for boxing.
But when your opponent outweighs you by several weight classes, how can it be considered an even contest? How much meaning can the outcome have when it’s like watching a collision between a truck and a sedan? It’s bad for the sport and shows a lack of work ethic by a boxer.
Chavez Jr. has plenty of natural talent and access to the best trainers and advisors. It appears he’s squandering his opportunity because he is a party boy who lacks work ethic. He isn’t expected to lose but Vera has a reputation as an upset artist. If Chavez Jr. does lose, the fans will turn their backs on him for good. As well they should.
If he comes out with a victory, Chavez Jr. needs to stop fooling around with bouts anywhere near middleweight. Fans would see quickly what Chavez Jr. is really all about.
For example, imagine Chavez Jr. in the ring with the competitors in the other featured event Saturday night, a true light heavyweight contest from the Bell Centre in Montreal. Adonis Stevenson returns to his hometown after a stunning first round knockout over “Bad” Chad Dawson in June. In the time it took you to read this sentence, the fight was over.
Stevenson (21-1-0, 18 KOs), 36, a legitimate contender in two weight classes, will face Tavoris Cloud, 31 (24-1-0, 19 KOs) of Tallahassee, Florida. Stevenson weighed in at 173.8 pounds. at Friday’s weigh-in. Cloud weighed a little heavier at 174.6 pounds.
Stevenson is fast for his size with the power to put a hurt on anyone. He’s working on a string of nine straight knockouts. He will not have any trouble landing punches against Cloud. Cloud is tough although his recent wins haven’t been as impressive as Stevenson’s performances. His last fight was a loss by unanimous decision to the ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins who schooled the much younger Cloud.
Stevenson is poised to face bigger names like Hopkins, Andre Ward, and Carl Froch. Another spectacular victory will put in position to do it.
Remind yourself as you watch both main events tonight they feature fighters who are basically the same size. If Chavez Jr. stepped into the ring against Stevenson or Cloud, his party would be over.
Stevenson vs. Cloud and Chavez Jr. vs. Vera air on HBO Boxing Saturday, September 28, at 10:15 ET.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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