Saturday, September 26, 2020

Making Sense Of Chavez Jr.- Cazares


Readers who have followed this observer’s work both online and in print over the two decades I have covered combat sports and primarily Boxing are likely familiar with numerous writings through the years about the career of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. A fighter known as “The Son of the Legend “, his namesake Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.  Many years ago during my time as an overseas correspondent for The Fist Boxing Magazine, which was based in Australia, I wrote a column discussing the promise that is often placed upon fighters that follow in their parent’s footsteps by embarking on their own Boxing career and how unfortunately such promise/potential often came with unrealistic expectations that the offspring of a great fighter unfortunately could not live up to. 


The main focal point of that column centered upon Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who at that time appeared as though he might have been nearing a fight against Hector Camacho Jr,, the son of a Hall of Fame fighter in his own right, who Chavez Sr. had defeated in a memorable showdown in September 1992. Despite having a decent career in his own right where at times he was a contender, Camacho Jr. never quite fulfilled his potential and never went on to win a world championship. As most know however, Chavez Jr. did win a world championship in 2011 when he won the WBC Middleweight world championship and went on to successfully defend the crown four times before losing the championship via twelve round unanimous decision to Sergio Martinez in 2012.


Like many offspring of great fighters before him, Chavez’ career has been marked by highs where he has looked very impressive, but also lows where he has been very inconsistent both in his performances in the ring as well as his training and preparation outside the ring where despite winning a world championship, he has not been able to fulfill his potential. In recent years, he has been more known and criticized for his inconsistencies than his successes. Such inconsistencies have led many including yours truly to question whether or not Chavez Jr. was done as a serious contender who could be in a world championship picture.


Some may recall his recent bout against former IBF Middleweight world champion Daniel Jacobs in December of last year where despite holding his own early in the fight in what appeared to be a solid showing, Chavez quit after five rounds citing that he couldn’t breathe in what was later revealed by his father that he had in fact suffered a broken nose. The aftermath of the stoppage was an ugly scene that was riots from the crowd in attendance in Phoenix, AZ. Needless to say, criticism of Chavez Jr. has continued.


Chavez Jr. however, returned to the ring on September 25th in headlining a card that featured his father and fellow Hall of Famer Jorge Arce participating in an exhibition, their third such exhibition, for charity at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, MX. The opponent for Chavez Jr. came in the form of unbeaten, but unknown Light-Heavyweight Mario Cazares. Cazares, who entered the fight undefeated in eleven previous professional bouts, appeared to be at a significant disadvantage both in terms of overall time in the ring as well as quality of opposition as only one of his previous opponents had a record where he had won more fights than he had lost. Although this fight obviously had an element of the unknown, it did give the impression that the intention was to attempt to get Chavez some rounds and back in the win column before trying to secure another potential opportunity against a known contender.


What occurred instead can best be described as “Ugly.” A fight that saw Cazares frequently out work Chavez, but one that saw the unbeaten fighter frequently foul his more experienced opponent. Cazares was penalized a point in round two for what was ruled an intentional headbutt, but what appeared to be an elbow to this observer. Another foul that was ruled to be an unintentional headbutt caused a cut over Chavez’ left eye, which ultimately resulted in the fight being stopped in the sixth round. Despite the frequent fouls, Cazares’ greater activity along with Chavez’ inability to get into a rhythm and let his hands go resulted in the undefeated fighter earning a unanimous six round technical decision and the biggest win of his career.


Although there will obviously be a natural angle for a potential rematch, quite frankly this was one fight that does not require much analysis and it is debatable as to whether or not there will be any demand for a second meeting between the two even amongst the most loyal of Chavez’ supporters. Why is that? Frankly, Chavez did not look good in this fight and while it is difficult to look good against a fighter who fights dirty and is willing to foul, this along with previous inconsistencies in the career of Chavez Jr. including his previous fight against Daniel Jacobs may have left a bad taste in the mouths of his fan base.


Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. was an all-time great fighter not only because of his dominance throughout his prime including going 89-0 before his first career defeat before ultimately finishing his competitive career with 107 victories in one hundred fifteen career bouts, but also because of his willingness to fight under circumstances where he was in extreme pain and being more than willing to engage with any opponent that was put in front of him. Such traits is one of many reasons why Chavez Sr. is a beloved figure not only in Mexico, but throughout the entire sport. Although Chavez Sr. had a few instances later on in his career where he did not continue on in fights, most notably his second brutal encounter with Oscar De La Hoya in 1998 where Chavez retired in his corner after eight rounds, his status in the sport was not damaged in any way as most would say that at that point in his career as well as later on Chavez had nothing more to prove and he was fighting on well past his prime.


As someone who grew up watching Chavez Sr., covering him late in his career, and has covered his son Chavez Jr. from very early on in his career up to this point, I believe it may be time for father and son to have a heart to heart talk and discuss whether or not Chavez Jr. wants to continue with his career. While I am one who believes that no one can tell a fighter when it’s time and those of us who cover the sport like yours truly, who have never been in the ring certainly have no place to say anything, after another setback against an unknown opponent in a fight where he looked sluggish and couldn’t let his hands go consistently, Chavez Jr. needs to decide whether he wants to continue fighting and whether his commitment to the sport is serious enough where he can make a legitimate attempt to resurrect what was once a promising career.


If not, as I said many years ago in that column for The Fist, Chavez Jr.’s career, though with the accomplishment of becoming a world champion will largely resemble many of the offspring of great fighters that have come before and since. Unfulfilled promise, with unrealistic expectations.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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