Will Chavez Jr. ever live up to expectations?
By Kirk Jackson
It depends who you ask and what are the level of expectations. Of course with a name like Chavez, you certainly have HUGE SHOES to fill in the Mexican boxing community. His father, Julio Caser Chavez Sr., is a legend and one of the all-time boxing greats.
Although he has the name and the same blood flowing through his veins, I do not sense a high level of potential or latent greatness oozing from Chavez Jr.
His fighting style and ability has been criticized and rightfully so. He isn’t that good.
Lacking any kind of hand or foot speed, Chavez isn’t the most coordinated fighter out there. Despite his tall body frame, Chavez prefers to engage inside the trenches, focusing majority of his attack towards the body which is actually quite admirable. When Chavez attempts to fight on the outside and use his reach, an advantage he has over most opponents, he looks ungraceful in doing so.
Chavez doesn’t have blazing knock out power, but does possess a solid chin and over the course of his career has displayed the instinctive ability to deliver great punches to the body, ala Chavez Sr.
Taking a glance at the resume of Chavez, he has amassed over 40 fights with over 220 rounds, but has yet to go up against a high caliber fighter.
Boxing fans and media alike are finally acknowledging the lack of quality opposition Chavez has faced. Partially is due to his skills, or lack thereof, and the amount of money that can be generated off his name without having to face the best opposition.
“He still has not fought a fighter with legitimate championship quality, but he’s getting closer,” said HBO Commentator Jim Lampley.
One of the few accurate, honest comments made in recent telecasts.
Okay so the question is if he is a champion, why isn’t he fighting challengers of legitimate championship quality?
Whatever happened to facing the likes of Saul Alvarez, or Sergio Martinez? The WBC commission even ordered a match to take place between Martinez and Chavez but somehow junior was able to escape that apparent mismatch.
The answer probably lies behind Bob Arum. Recognized for his marvelous match making abilities, Chavez is just another name in a list of Top Rank fighters in recent years benefitting from the protection of Arum. See Manny Pacquiao, Kelly Pavlik.
Now to be fair, the entire blame can’t be placed on Chavez. This is a business, and Arum is doing a great job exploiting the Chavez name and manufacturing tons of money.
The job of a promoter is to make great fights, fights for the fans, fights for the overall benefit of boxing. But it seems with Arum’s position as a promoter; he is out to make the most money possible while screwing fans over and the sport itself in the process.
Look at his opponents over the years: Matt Vanda (twice), Troy Rowland, Peter Manfredo Jr., John Duddy, Sebastian Zdik and most recently Marco Antonio Rubio.
The best opposition would probably have to be Zdik and Rubio. They are seasoned veteran fighters who aren’t walk overs, but clearly they’re not world beaters.
Much of the threat of these fighters imposing serious damage is negated by Chavez consistently adding over 20 pounds of weight the night of the fight.
Speaking of which, I am also curious about his dedication and seriousness of his craft. Getting pulled over for a dui right before a fight shows the lack of discipline. So does constantly being out of shape and starving just to barely make 160. I also find it quite remarkable a guy 22 pounds heavier than his weigh in weight, who also had a dui in the same week could go an entire 12 rounds throwing as many punches as he did.
Although constantly rehydrating at least 20 pounds heavier, his handlers have no plans for Chavez to move up to super middleweight anytime in the near future.
They probably realize the dangers of going against the likes of Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch and others. Even at light heavyweight, he would have trouble facing the likes of Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal, Tavoris Cloud, or the legendary Bernard Hopkins.
In his post-fight interview with HBO after his victory over Rubio, Chavez mentioned fighting the likes of Martinez, Antonio Margarito, and Miguel Cotto.
Although Margarito may be done with boxing, wanting to make those big name fights shows us you’re willing to take a step in the right direction. But it’s one thing to say it; you have to actually do it.
This boils down to, telling your promoter who you want to fight. If you want to carry on your father’s legacy, the legacy you’re getting rich from, you have to step up and take the tests. If Top Rank and other media outlets want to hype you up as the best thing since your father fine. But you have to put in the work and fight legitimate opposition. Fight Alvarez, Martinez, Felix Sturm, guys like that.
I do not believe Chavez will live up to all of these high expectations, but hopefully in time he will prove me and some of the others that doubt him wrong.