Thursday, February 22, 2024  |


Injured Chavez Jr. shifts focus from Hearns to healing, Manfredo Jr.

Fighters Network

WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will move beyond the cancellation of his defense against Ronald Hearns , allow his injured right hand to heal and then begin preparation for his next bout against Peter Manfredo Jr. in November, his manager, Billy Keane, told

Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 knockouts) required stitches to close a cut his handlers said he received from a ceiling fan about two weeks ago, which forced him on Thursday to pull out of his Sept. 17 fight with Hearns (26-2, 20 KOs) in his native Culiacan, Mex.

Keane said Chavez had already received stitches before attending an Aug. 15 press conference announcing their fight.

Still, the 25-year-old had attempted to use the fist during sparring sessions up until Friday, when a second visit to a doctor concluded that he should give up on facing Hearns, said Keane.

"I spoke to Chavez today, and I just told him that 'you can't fight. It's too close. I don't know how long it's going to take to heal or if it is even going to heal at all by the time the fight rolls around,'" said Keane, referring to a conversation that took place early on Friday morning.

"I told him, 'You can't risk it.' It's not realistic that he can fight with his hand the way that it is right now, regardless of how much he wants to. Finally, today, he has agreed."

Keane said that Chavez must now focus on healing before turning his attention to his defense against Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) on Nov. 19 at Reliant Arena in Houston, Tex.

"The main thing that we have to do before we go into camp for the Manfredo fight is to let the hand heal. You can't just keep sticking it into sweaty gloves and moving forward as if the injury is not there," said Keane.

"Whether it's antibiotics or rest or whatever, we have to get him healthy before we start training again. So you need to let it heal."

Training will involve Chavez's working with five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.

Chavez's preparation for Hearns created a potential scheduling conflict for Roach and Ariza, who are to be part of an early-September publicity tour promoting Manny Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title defense against Juan Manuel Marquez.

But now that the Hearns fight is off, the problem appears to be solved.

Roach and Ariza will take part in the week-long, four-city press tour promoting the third clash between Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs). The tour will start on Sept. 3 in Manilla, Philippines, and end on Sept. 8 in Marquez's home of Mexico City. In between are stops in New York on Sept. 6, followed by Los Angeles on Sept. 8.

Immediately following the tour, Pacquiao is expected to begin training for Marquez with Roach and Ariza in his native Baguiao, Philippines.

Pacquiao-Marquez III is scheduled for Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas pay-per-view TV, one week prior to Chavez's defense against Manfredo.

So Keane and Arum are hopeful that Chavez Jr. will train alongside Pacquiao in the Philippines. If not, he could join the camp at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., where Pacquiao usually closes out the final few weeks of his preparation.

"Obviously, I'd like Julio to go to the Philippines to train with Freddie and Alex for the full camp. If Julio is not willing to do that, he can start his own camp in Mexico," said Keane.

"Then, when Freddie and Alex come back, Julio can go with them to Los Angeles. He would still be having five or six weeks with them here in Los Angeles before the fight, which is enough time."

Roach will soon return from Donetsk, Ukraine, where he guided WBA welterweight beltholder Viacheslav Senchenko (32-0, 21 KOs) to a sixth-round knockout of  Marco Avendano of Venezuela on Friday.


Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]