Monday, May 29, 2023  |



Chavez Jr., Montiel, Soto win in TJ

Fighters Network

Fernando Montiel celebrates after knocking out Diego Silva in the third round on Saturday in Tijuana, Mexico. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will never approach the heights his father reached but he isn't afraid of a brawl.

Chavez stood toe-to-toe with a capable opponent in Luciano Cuello and gutted out a unanimous decision in a blood-filled 10-round junior middleweight bout Saturday in Tijuana, Mexico.

The scores were 98-92, 96-94 and 96-95, the latter two of which were representative of the fight.

“This was a good fight for me,” Chavez said. “I learned a lot over 10 rounds. It was probably one of my best fights.”

Cuello (23-1, nine knockouts) was a question mark coming into the fight. He had fought only once outside his native Argentina before Saturday.

However, he made it clear from the beginning that he was competent and determined. He had a good jab, which he used to get inside, and had quicker hands than the much-taller Chavez (39-0-1, 29 KOs).

Meanwhile, Chavez Jr., fighting in front of his countrymen, pounded Cuello to the body from beginning to end and probably outworked the Spain-based Argentine for most of the entertaining fight.

Cuello gushed blood from his nose for most of the fight, possibly meaning it was broken. By the end of the fight, the trunks and bodies of both fighters were as red as their boxing gloves.

The blood reflected the savage nature of the action, as neither fighter was willing to give ground or afraid to take punches.

Chavez was cut above the right eye in the sixth round, although it was never a factor in the fight.

“It was the first time I've been cut,” Chavez said. “I learned from that too.”

Chavez wants to take a step up in competition.

In the ring after the fight, his promoter, Bob Arum, threw out three possibilities: John Duddy, Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao, if he beats Ricky Hatton on May 2, although Arum acknowledged that the weight difference could pose a problem.

Chavez doesn't seem to care who he fights as long as his next opponent has a big name.

“Those are the fights that will motivate me to take it to the next level,” he said. “I look forward to those challenges.”

In undercard fights, Humberto Soto stopped Antonio Davis at 2:38 of the fourth round in the first defense of his WBC junior lightweight title.

Soto (48-7-2, 30 knockouts) put Davis (26-5, 13 KOs) down twice in the final round, hurting him both times. The challenger tried to survive by holding Soto but the referee decided he wasn't able to defend himself and stopped the fight.

Soto, of Los Mochis, Mexico, also put Davis, from Atlanta, down in the first round with a grazing punch.

Former junior bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel stopped untested Argentine Diego Silva at 2:24 of the third round of a scheduled 12-round bantamweight fight.

Montiel (39-2-3, 29 knockouts) put Silva (24-2, 12 KOs) down three times, once in the second round when Silva appears to trip and twice more in the third.

The latter two knockouts were the result of short left hands, the second of which hurt Silva badly and the referee stopped the fight immediately.

Montiel has said he wants to fight Vic Darchinyan at 118 pounds.

And Antonio Diaz outpointed Javier Castro in an entertaining 10-round welterweight bout.

Diaz (46-5-1, 29 knockouts) outworked Castro (19-2, 17 KOs) to win 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94. Castro, a Mexican who replaced injured Jose Luis Castillo as Diaz's opponent, lost one point for repeated low blows.

Diaz, a 32-year-old from Coachella, Calif., has won four in a row since a three-year hiatus in 2005-08.