They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but telling that to Mexico’s legendary fighter Julio Cesar Chavez would be downright disrespectful.
No, young Julio isn’t cut from the same cloth as his father Chavez Sr. Honestly speaking the same could apply to the majority of the modern day fighters in contrast to the 200-300 fight warriors from days of old.
That said becoming a boxer is not exactly the easiest profession and for all the crap that’s been shoveled on him, most of it deserved, when in shape Junior is a solid chinned entertaining fighter that has challenged with limited success late in his fight, the lineal legitimate world titleholder and pound for pound member Sergio Martinez.
Before it was lack of competition that fans would drag Chavez Jr. through the coals for, now it’s his issues outside the ring that surfaced in the winter of 2012.
Julio was charged with the very common crime of drinking while driving. What made it worse was the fact that it was in the middle of training camp for his fight against fellow countryman Marco Antonio Rubio.
His image of being a spoiled slacker wasn’t helped by waking up in the late afternoon during the biggest fight of his career on HBO’s 24-7. Things got even worse for Junior when he tested positive for weed in a post fight urine sample resulting in a suspension and a hefty fine, his second fine the first being for using a diet pill.
Reports of weigh issues have long dogged Chavez Jr. and in his last two fights it forced him to be reluctant to throw punches in the early to mid rounds for fear of burning too much energy.
Many people had him losing his last fight versus Brian Vera, a fight that was pushed back for numerous reasons with weight being the main one along with a small cut.
His opponent was already facing a disadvantage for a catch weight fight that eventually was agreed on at 168 pounds, only to be renegotiated mid fight week all the way up to 173 pounds.
The son of boxing immortality has recently become a father and judging by his comments may have found a way to find balance.
Only time will tell if Junior actually takes his career 100% serious, judging from some pictures that were taken when he and his team were getting off a plane, he looks fairly fit or at least a hell of a lot better than he did around this time last September.
Brian Vera has fought solid competition throughout his career, a career that has had plenty of up and downs heading into to this showdown in San Antonio.
After suffering the first loss of his career Vera bounced back scoring a T.K.O. over than unbeaten rising prospect Andy Lee.
From the end of 2008 to early 2010 Vera loss three fights in a row. He also loss a rematch with Andy Lee but has since got himself back on track scoring solid wins over the always awkward Sergio Mora(2nd time) and Sergey Dzinziruk.
In those victories he has show much improvement with his jab and head movement on the way inside. His fight against Chavez Junior was his best overall performance making everyone wonder can he duplicate it the second time around.
Adding the weight disadvantage to the equation makes it even more impressive. We know he will still be outweighed again but it could be solid weight added to Junior’s frame this time instead of the flab we saw before.
The only thing I would change from the Vera camp perspective is to maintain focus the entire the fight. Brian was hurt or at least buzzed a few times when he slowed down at times smiling at Chavez instead of busy work.
A fit Junior makes the rematch even more entertaining than the first which is rarity for rematches. A fit Junior should translate into a busier offensive load coming Vera’s way once Julio’s engines warm up.
Vera will have to remain busy but in this one will also be pushed back unlike the first encounter that saw Vera pushing full steam ahead.
Chavez Jr. likes to work the body and a left hook to the body than to the head will set up those powerful overhand rights.
At some point Vera won’t be able to hold up under the pressure resulting in a knockdown or a series of wild exchanges which got him into trouble in previous fights.
Bottom line is if Chavez was able to land flush on his back foot moving logic tells us he will be able to increase his power shots instead of boxing on the outside saving his energy for the later rounds.
Even the smallest improvement in work rate combined with the doubt that Vera can stop Junior can only add up to another victory on the judge’s scorecards for the bigger name fighter.
Keep in mind the picture I saw was a fully clothed Julio not at the weight in about to step on a scale. There is always a chance that Junior walked through the motions in training camp.
With so much pressure on Chavez to win and look good doing it to secure big fights with major purses on the horizon I feel he had to have put enough work in this camp to get the job done.
Maybe this will be the camp Junior turns a new leaf in his boxing career? Or maybe this will be his best and last great camp of his career and once he gets another big pay day he will fall right back in to the slacker that many fans and scribes think he is.
My official prediction is Julio Chavez Junior by Unanimous Decision.
The HBO undercard features in my eye the most intriguing fight thus far for 2014. With so many unknowns and what if’s this fight between Orlando Salido and Vasyl Lomachencko is difficult to breakdown.
On the surface looking at the style matchup Lomachencko clearly has the skill and athletic advantage over Salido. If Vasyl is able to keep Orlando off of him he should be able to use his foot and hand speed to score at will.
Enter the badass from Mexico who even when hit repeatedly to the point of being stopped in his tracks has shown an ability to keep the train on the tracks picking up strength as the fight gets into the late rounds.
By now you have heard or seen the amateur record or fights that brought two gold medals home with Lomachencko.
In the first fight of his professional career he pretty much displayed the goods that made him one of the best amateur fighters ever.
Vasyl is very accurate, efficient, mixing up his punch combos making it hard to catch a beat on him. He also works the body well something he showed in his first outing as a pro.
Counter punching and overall movement will be a key along with defense. The one weakness I saw in his debut and from his amateur days is his uppercut can be thrown from too far of a distance. Facing a head first Salido Lomachencko will be tempted to throw that uppercut which is fine if he’s in good position. If not it could result in Salido timing his patent overhand right that when it lands has and will do much damage.
Obviously, as the fight gets into the mid to late rounds all eyes will be on Vasyl to see if he has the lung supply to keep a steady work rate. Odds are that this will be the most punches that Lomachencko has thrown in a fight ever, combo that with lots of movement and we could see a tired and vulnerable two time gold medal winner.
I know it’s a freaking broken record for my podcast and articles when I mention this but Salido is a very live dog on the books. Whether you’re a betting person or not you may want to take a flier out on this fight being that a solid chinned power punching Mexican in Orlando Salido is across the board a 5-1 all the way up to 6-1 and 7-1 underdog on a few websites.
My official prediction is Vasyl Lomachencko by Unanimous Decision.
The hand and foot speed will be too much for Salido to handle. No two fighters fight the same but the way I look at this matchup is if Mikey Garcia was able to counter punch and dominate Salido my guess is Lomachencko will too.
The mid to late rounds is we’re it will become very intriguing to see if Salido can wear him down.
In both fights questions will be answered about all four fighter which makes this HBO Doubleheader must see television.
Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of Rope A Dope Radio at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
Follow Chris on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio & http://ropeadoperadio.wordpress.com/