The Julio Cesar Chavez Jr Chronicles: Killing him SOFTLY!

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.By P.H. Burbridge (A voice in the crowd) - Creating a boxing superstar is much like running for President of the United States. You pick your fights carefully and your team spends most of their time spinning your accomplishments so that you appear to be more then you actually are. For Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, it’s getting to the point where no amount of spin will change the public’s perception and unless he makes a big “statement” soon he can easily end up being another in a long line of 2nd generation BUSTS.

Talk about pressure!

On Saturday, November 1st Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (37-0-1, 29 KO’s) is scheduled to meet Matt Vanda (38-7, 21 KO’s) in a rematch of a fight that took place back on July 12th. Although this bout does not qualify as a “big statement” it is an important fight for Chavez Jr. Frankly, this fight is more about repairing Jr’s physce then anything else. The last go around with Vanda was an unexpected learning experience for Jr and he now understands just how “unsupportive” unimpressed fight fans can be. Aside from engaging in his own private “Thrilla in Manila” with Vanda, Chavez Jr had a minor meltdown after the fight and hinted that he might retire as a result of his performance! He was clearly overwhelmed not only by the challenge Vanda put forth but also by the negative reaction he received from the Mexican fans in attendance. He now feels compelled to win back their favor.

From a career perspective you have to wonder what the plan is for Chavez Jr and what his team is doing wrong. Some of the issues are obvious. First and foremost he needs an upper echelon highly respected trainer who can correct his technical flaws (defense) before it’s too late. Watching him apply the wrong tactical approach fight after fight is enough to convince anybody of the disaster just around the corner. Without a trainer who can teach him the mechanics of defensive fighting he is guaranteed to fail. His Uncle, Rodolfo Chavez, Julio Sr’s older brother is the current head trainer and has done a good job of training Jr to mimic Sr’s styl e but he hasn’t done a very good job of bringing out the kids natural talents as a boxer-puncher. The fact that he doesn’t use his jab when he has such a good one is a clear indicator that Tio Rodolfo is sending him into one fight after another with the wrong game plan. His jab can easily be his most potent weapon. So far he’s made it past the “D and C” level fighters that he’s faced which is a positive considering he has close to no amateur experience. But, what happens when he steps up in class? Don’t let the 37-0-1 record fool you there’s not one “B” level fighter on his resume. And forget about the WBC’s ridiculous #7 ranking. (In August, they had him at #5!). That ran king speaks volumes about the LACK of credibility and comical almost criminal ineptitude of that particular sanctioning body. In a past article titled “The Crucifixion (and rebirth?) of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr” I wrote that I believed Floyd Mayweather Sr could fix the problems with Chavez Jr’s style but to be honest any technique driven trainer could do a heck of a lot more for Jr then his uncle. Fortunately, Jr appears to be a fast learner and is still young so a new trainer would be walking into a fixable situation. It can and must be done in order for him to emerge as a threat in a division jam packed with talent!

The Jr middleweight division is one of the deepest in the game! There are so many match up’s that have the potential to be explosive that you’ve got to ask yourself how does Jr fit in, if at all! You’ve got contenders like James Kirkland, Alfredo Angulo, Joel Julio, Ronald Hearns, Joe Greene and Yuri Foreman not to mention ex-champions like Cory Spinks, Sergio Mora, Kassim Ouma and Ricardo Mayorga. ALL those guys can fight! And if that’s not enough you’ve got four solid champions, Vernon Forrest, Daniel Santos, Verno Philips and Sergei Dzindziruk. It’s a ROCK solid division with no easy fights at the top. All the planets will have to align for Jr to make a dent in this division. The fact that Chavez Sr has been calling De La Hoya out in the press lately in an attempt to secure a fight for Jr in 2009 is simply BAD managing. First off, Jr needs to fight someone who’s relevant in the division and De La Hoya certainly is NOT. Secondly, how does Chavez Sr think Jr is even ready for De La Hoya without beating one legitimate contender? No one has been more critical of De La Hoya then me but the guy IS a world class fighter and right NOW Jr is NOT! It makes you wonder if Jr also needs a new manager!& nbsp; Chavez Sr should be focused on finding a new trainer as well as a conditioning coach. That’s a no brainer!

Jr gassed out against Matt Vanda and it nearly cost him the fight. There’s no excuse for a 22 year old kid to gas out. I don’t remember Chavez Sr gassing out until after he passed 30 and even then only once in a blue moon. Team Chavez will need an established conditioning coach who can help him maintain his weight properly. He’s listed at 5’ 11” but recent reports have listed him as tall as 6’ 0”. Anyway you slice it he looks too big to comfortably make this weight for too long so they need to keep him on track with a proper dietary regimen to avoid future problems at the scale. He must campaign in this division and attempt to gain his first world title here rather then in the middleweight division. Fix your problems while you’re still fighting smaller fighters so you have the tools to compete with bigger men and NOT get hurt! His frame tells us that he will eventually campaign at middleweight.

If Julio Sr is truly guiding Jr’s career then he’s got to get a Floyd Mayweather Sr or a Nacho Berenstain to take Jr under their wing. Jr could be an EXCELLENT fighter by 26 and be a LEGITIMATE threat in either the Jr middleweight or middleweight division. Floyd Sr has changed Oscar for the better (at least in the ring!) and Nacho has done an AMAZING job with Juan Manuel Marquez. Chavez Jr needs some of that magic! Rodolfo Chavez can play a supporting role for the new head trainer. He’s performed in that capacity in the past when Chavez Sr was fighting and I’m sure he’ll want to do what’s in the best interest of his nephew. Chavez Sr has got to step in and make this necessary change for this thing to work long term. So far, Bob Arum has kept Jr relatively busy. He’s been a headliner on “Latin Fury” and Arum has touted him as a “special fighter” for a while now. But I’m sure even Bob Arum is starting to worry a little about the quality of the product. Arum knew that he had to get Jr back into the ring with Vanda ASAP to redeem himself so he delivered this fight.

Jr must show that he is in the best shape of his life and he must turn it on and KEEP it on for the entire fight. If he stays on the outside with his jab and comes over the top with his right hand he should get Vanda out of there, NO problem! Jr’s excuse last time was that he was sick just prior to the fight and because of it his strength was sapped. Well, now at a 100% he must PROVE it by knocking Vanda out. You’re supposed to take care of guy’s like this when you’re a hot young prospect and if you don’t then you’re NOT. So make it happen. Stop leaning in and hooking with Vanda on the inside because you ’re inviting him to nail you with an uppercut or take a step back and land his right hand which he did over and over the last time around. Set up your hook with a jab and once you land it then fire the right and THEN jab your way out. Stop putting your head on his shoulder and engaging in a brawl when you can easily beat him from the outside with your jab. Both the right hand and the hook will be there for you. Remember these are supposed to be “showcase” fights and you’re supposed to SHINE! You have got to give the people a reason to believe.

Whether Julio Sr or Bob Arum know it or not they’re killing Jr with their bad tactical advice and soft match making. Only time will tell us how much damage is really being done to the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

What happens AFTER the Vanda fight? If we don’t start seeing some changes go into effect ASAP then one thing is for certain, the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr Express will run off the tracks.

AND, maybe sooner then later!

(Keep your eyes open for the next installment of “The Julio Cesar Chavez Jr Chronicles” as we follow the up’s and downs of a “can’t miss” prospect!)

Article posted on 22.09.2008

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