'Call Em Out Fridays': Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - A Case Of Mistaken Identity?

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.By Vivek Wallace: In this week's 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment we take a look at a figure who you would think needs no introduction. Trouble is, once you get past the name itself and see the word jr. at the end, few hardcore fight fans on a global scale truly know a great deal about the man at the center of the spectacle. Last July, the young Chavez found himself the subject of much criticism after earning a close points win - via Split Decision. Fast forward four months later, and you'll notice the questions have mounted higher, while his divisional ranking remains lower.

Throughout life we've all learned that there's three sides to every story, so in an effort to see what's really going on with Chavez jr., we take a look at him like no other forum in the sport of boxing does. Every week in each of my 'Call Em Out Friday' segments, we'll analyze the "Supportive" perspective of the subject, the "Critics" perspective of the subject, and as we attempt to tie up all loose ends, we shine light on a more "Neutral" perspective as well. When all the talk is over and the rubber hits the pavement, we let you, the reader chime in with a view of your own in the end. So with no further ado.......

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - (Supportive Perspective): Some 22 years ago in the hills of Mexico the off-spring of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez produced a son that would later walk his very same footsteps. The young Chavez, whom decided to turn pro in the sport at the tender age of 17 entered the fight game with a familiar name, yet a somewhat opposite identity. For starters, he doesn't fall into the same vertically challenged group that his Dad does, standing at a sleek 6'1" while his Dad never quite got above 5'7". Chavez Sr. was far more aggressive with his foes, while the younger Chavez chooses to take a more methodical approach in the ring, turning on aggression when the coast is clear. There are many things that separate the two Chavez's, but the one thing so far that has paralleled is the fact that after 38 professional fights, both found themselves undefeated. Although the young Chavez's skill level is not said to be on the same level, he has shown improvement in recent fights in every area from ring intelligence to simple execution of a fight plan. In his last fight in particular he found himself in a few moments of adversity, only to overcome the odds and do enough in the end to get the nod by the judges who ultimately scored the bout. As the old adage goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day", and as Mexican fight fans rally around the namesake of one of their greatest legend, most have become content with that learning curve, supporting him as he constantly evolves. The modest ways of the young Chavez combined with many other things make it very easy to like him, but as we've come to find in life, like isn't always good enough. This saga would be no different, as recently, critics of the sport have found much to question about the young Chavez. To analyze the critics perspective, we shift the spotlight to some of the not-so-supportive theories and thoughts that bare his name.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - (Critics Perspective): When the name Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. gets tossed into the hat, recently there have been just as many nay-sayers as their have ever been fans. The angles taken by the critics have been both shrude and somewhat disrespectful, but when analyzed, there's no doubt that those views are consistently true as well. Many talk about the positive parallels between the Sr. Chavez and his son, but one of the major critical parallels between the two is the fact that of their first 38 fights, (which is where the young Chavez currently stands), neither had faced a named opponent. The Sr. Chavez did face a fighter by the name of Jerry Lewis within that span, but as it relates to the fight game, that name would be as comical as the very namesake himself. Another angle taken by the critics of Chavez Jr. is the fact that few around the globe actually have been able to watch him because for whatever reason, his promoter, (Bob Arum of Top Rank), has opted to keep him on the Pay-Per-View circuit despite the fact that name aside, he's still a somewhat unknown commodity to the average fan. The WBC has him ranked within the top 10, but one would be hard-pressed to find him anywhere in the consensus top 10 list of any of the other organizations. Adding more punch to the critics perspective of the young Chavez is the fact that the overall perception of him is that he's been more 'guarded' than proven, more 'protected' than powerful, and more 'green' than gravy. Would be nice to support the guy with the legendary name, but in this case, he simply hasn't lived up to it.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - (The Neutral Perspective): When it all boils down, similar to the article published yesterday ('Don't Call It A Comeback': Why Should A Loss Today Mean Game Over Tomorrow -, the fans and media of the fight world have a huge knack for lifting someone high so they can tear them down on the low. This same type of pressure to succeed makes it very difficult for the handlers of Chavez Jr. to put him in against a real lion. In this case, it probably isn't the media and fans as much as the expectation itself of bearing the name he has, but coupled together, all those things become relative. This was highly evidenced in the last fight Chavez had when he was heckled to the point of retirement consideration after his last fight where most in attendance felt he was given the gift decision based on categorical name notoriety. It's hard to say if that theory was true because there were a few at ringside who actually had him winning a close fight, but all the other questions around him and his talent made it very easy to throw that particular question in the mix. In the end, hopefully the recent evolution we've seen in the skill of Jr. Chavez comes full circle and allows him to grow into the spotlight rather than being thrown into it. That would be a best case scenario as we can all agree, a devastating loss now would be career threatening, and if it came early in the fight, potentially life threatening as well. The pressure on Jr. Chavez is very high, and only success can provide the type of disconnect he needs. If he continues to win, he'll continue to be viewed as Julio Cesar Chavez. If he loses, he'll be quickly known as a man with the name, but simply not the talent. So which will it be? A positive identification, or simply another case of mistaken identity? Right now nobody knows, but the ink pad's out and come next Saturday night, the fingerprint will be taken!

(Got Questions Or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, or show some love at

Article posted on 24.10.2008

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