Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. promises victory on Saturday
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Boxing fans have heard it before. Will they believe it this time or should they remain skeptical?
That depends on what Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will do on Saturday night. Even then, boxing fans may want to see more.
It is fight week and Chavez has been trying to sell the notion that he should be taken seriously as a prizefighter. He no longer wants to live in the shadow of his famous father and wants to create his own path toward greatness.
Will a new trainer serve as Chavez’s guiding light or is he solely responsible for his shortcomings?
These questions should be answered on Saturday evening when he faces Marcos Reyes in a 10-round bout at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas. The fight will headline a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
The last time boxing fans saw Chavez was on the night of April 18 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., when he remained on his stool after the end of the ninth round against Andrzej Fonfara of Poland. Chavez complained he could not see but boxing fans saw a fighter who quit when the going got tough.
That is the tip of the iceberg as there have been instances in which Chavez has drawn attention for what he has done outside of the ring as much as what he has inside of it.
There was the time Chavez (48-2-1, 32 knockouts) infamously ate breakfast cereal while wearing nothing but pink underwear and spent time lounging around his house instead of preparing for his Sept. 2012 fight against Sergio Martinez. Then there was the weight issue in the first Bryan Vera fight, in which a middleweight fight was eventually fought at a catchweight of 173 pounds.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was the fight itself, one most ringsiders thought Vera did enough to win. So did the over 5,200 in attendance at the StubHub Center, raining down a cascade of boos onto Chavez as he made his way back to the locker room.
And who could forget Chavez posting photos of the checks he received for fighting Fonfara on social media?
Believe it or not, Chavez is a smart boxing guy. It is not because of the number of fights he saw from ringside when his Dad fought but he has been a pro for almost 12 years.
To accompany his over 6-foot frame, Chavez has a lot of potential but he has been living on his name for a long time now. He trained under Freddie Roach and, most recently, Joe Goossen, neither of them getting what they and the media thought they could out of him.
Could Robert Garcia be the trainer to get Chavez to perform to his best? That remains to be seen. Chavez has worked less than seven weeks with Garcia and one has to wonder if the stellar trainer from Oxnard, Calif. did enough to work wonders on his new pupil.
Ironically, Marcos Reyes trained with Garcia for his Oct. 18 bout against Abraham “Abie “Han, one he lost by majority decision.
Reyes (33-2, 24 KOs) is now being trained by Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain.
“I know I have a tough opponent in front of me,” said Chavez at Thursday’s press conference. “I’m ready. I’ve prepared very well with Robert Garcia. [Reyes] has a great trainer too in Nacho Beristain.”
So would a win over Reyes change boxing fans’ perception of Chavez? Or could Chavez earn their respect by fighting the fight of his career, win, lose, or draw?
Sometime after the Fonfara fight – and even before stepping in the ring to face Reyes on Saturday night – Chavez should have come to the realization that he should hold himself accountable. Not Robert Garcia, not adviser Al Haymon, not anyone else.
Most people like to give second chances and boxing fans are no exception. But are they willing to give three (or more) chances, especially in the case with Chavez?
Chavez seems to understand that those chances may be waning and a loss (or a poor performance) could seriously hinder any attempt for a big-money fight or a world title bout.
Chavez does have a fan-friendly style and a trainer who could get the best out of him. It is now or never and if Chavez does find himself and build a winning streak, he can possibly pinpoint to the switch to Garcia as a reason.
“I’ve recovered well from my last fight. I had too much time away from boxing before. On Saturday, everyone will see me at my best.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since Oct. of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.