27.11.07 – By Matthew Hurley: There are a lot of questions surrounding the young heir apparent Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. His detractors point to the quality level of his opposition and the lack of a proper amateur background while his supporters choose to observe and appreciate his slow but steady maturation in the ring and the filling out of his twenty-one year old body. Indeed it’s his physical stature, once seeming so frail, that is now beginning to catch the attention of both fans and boxing insiders. He is growing into his lanky frame and his skill set is growing along with it..
Using the word “lanky” to describe the young Chavez still seems a bit odd considering that his legendary father was the prototypical stout, compact, Mexican left-hooking machine. The son fights nothing like the father, preferring to use his height and reach to land what are now developing into heavy handed power shots. He does have a crisp left hook to the body, befitting his heritage, but he is more of the boxer than the inside assassin his father was.
Certainly his pedigree has garnered him more fame and television visibility than his resume should allow but it was decided at the very start of his career that because he chose to step into the ring so late, foregoing a lengthy training ground that is the amateur ranks he would use his name in a blatant attempt to rise quickly and possibly crash and burn like another son of a famous boxing father Hector Camacho Jr. But Chavez, unlike the skittish Camacho Jr., was not only blessed with the name but a fiery Mexican pride that demands he please not only his father but his father’s fans.
It is difficult to follow in the shadow of a legendary performer, sometimes it proves to be psychologically impossible, but Chavez Sr. has not only embraced and encouraged his son’s attempts at fistic glory he somewhat painfully acknowledges that it his son and his son’s fledgling career that helped rescue him from a downward spiral of booze and depression in the wake of his retirement from the ring.
Now, as his son fights on stages his father had to toil for years to step onto, Chavez Sr. is a permanent fixture at ringside, shouting instructions and worrying like any other father who watches his child give and take punches. But it is that very support that gives Chavez Jr. an added edge – at least against the competition he has been facing.
On December 1st Chavez, 33-0-1 with 26 KOs will take on Ray Sanchez, 20-1 with 15 KOs at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a junior middleweight contest. The fight, which inexplicably is being sold by Top Rank as a pay per view card, will also feature Jorge Arce, 47-4-1 with 36 KOs taking on Medgoen Singsurat, 53-4 with 39 KOs for the WBC Latino Bantamweight title. It is indicative of Chavez’s growing popularity that promoter Bob Arum is now selling the young fighter as a pay per view attraction. He has used him on several pay per view undercards and the returns on this show will indicate just how big his fan base truly is.
As for the fighters, both attended a press conference on Monday and they appeared to realize that this would be the biggest fight yet in their respective careers. Sanchez is a good fighter with a decent punch and he realizes a win over boxing’s latest hyped prodigy could lead to bigger pay days down the road.
“I worked fifteen years to get to this fight,” he told the assembled media. “I’ll be the man to first beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.”
Chavez, for his part, appeared focused and reserved. “We both want to win,” he said. “I trained hard and I will beat Sanchez.”
Should Chavez do so it will be another step towards what he hopes will be the ultimate goal – a championship and his own boxing legacy.