De La Hoya/Chavez III?

oscar de la hoya16.08.07 - By Eric R. Sloan: On September 18, 1998, a torch of sorts was grudgingly passed to Oscar De La Hoya when he defeated an aged Julio Cesar Chavez—for a second time. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. was twelve years old. Fast forward to the present day and Chavez, Jr. is now a man.

Unlike most other mini me versions of boxing greats, Chavez, Jr. appears to be special. Physically bigger than his father, Chavez, Jr. is being allowed to develop slowly—perhaps too slow. There is some speculation that he will settle at the middleweight division; however, he is currently dismantling journeyman fighters in light middleweight/junior middleweight/super welterweight division. Ironically, the same division occupied by the Golden Boy himself.

The prospect of the two fighters meeting is a boxing promoter’s dream, and De La Hoya just happens to run a promotion company. The problem is that the fight may never happen for several reasons. First, De La Hoya has two or three competitive fights left in him if he fights once a year, but another defeat along the way will expedite final retirement plans. Second, the only thing Chavez, Jr. currently brings to the table is a namesake. Third, a loss to Chavez, Jr. would taint the golden legacy unlike any other defeat because son will have avenged father. Those “problems,” however, are precisely why this fight should occur.

The reality is that quality match ups at 154 are few and far in between. A move up to middleweight for De La Hoya makes some sense, but Jermain Taylor claims to be leaving the division after his September bout with Kelly Pavlik. A De La Hoya – Pavlik fight is appealing, assuming The Ghost beats Taylor, but the power difference between the two will most likely prompt De La Hoya to look elsewhere. A move down to welterweight is the better financial decision given the competition within that weight class; however, it may be difficult for Oscar to make weight. If not, then he will likely stay clear of Paul Williams. The winner of Cotto-Mosley may be a likely candidate, but also the betting favorite. Kermit Cintron is a little less logical for De La Hoya unless he puts the belt before the payday. Mayweather – De La Hoya 2 will never happen and Ricky Hatton canned an eager Oscar in favor of a shot at Pretty Boy Floyd. Who is left? Cory Spinks and Vernon Forrest? Yawn.

With regard to Chavez, Jr., he is either being brought along too slowly or there is something suspect with his fight game that has yet to be exposed outside of training camp. A review of the alphabet soup of boxing organizations uncovers no top ten ranking for Chavez, Jr., which is interesting given that he is undefeated after thirty-four fights and has twenty-six knockouts to his credit. His lack of ranking makes sense though given that the guy has not yet fought an opponent of any significance. While he is only twenty-one, Chavez, Jr. needs to step up the quality of opposition within the next twelve months. The winner of Vargas – Mayorga is a good fit for the next level; however, the better move may be Kassim Ouma or Ike Quartey. A win over any of those fighters would certainly move Chavez, Jr. into a ranked position. A loss at that level makes this article moot.

Setting the foregoing aside, “unranked” Chavez, Jr. is technically sound, has above average speed, and impressive power. Like his dad, Chavez, Jr. is fond of working the body. De La Hoya’s chin might be up to par to deal with Chavez, Jr., but his body is certainly vulnerable at this stage of his career. With every passing year, De La Hoya’s skills will diminish faster than the opponents willing to fight him. Conversely, Chavez, Jr. will keep getting better. As such, the best battle plan for Golden Boy Promotions is to move sooner rather than later.

Regardless, De La Hoya cannot turn down what is not in front of him. According to the boxing organizations, Chavez, Jr. is not yet a worthy opponent. De La Hoya knows better, but nobody can fault him for making Chavez, Jr. work a bit more for the opportunity. A win over one ranked opponent may be all it will take to get the powers that be to make the match happen. While a title may not be there, the money will be. Prevailing over all things Chavez is the perfect way to close the golden career. Recapturing his father’s torch is a perfect way for Chavez, Jr. to begin one.

Article posted on 16.08.2007

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