Does Chavez Jr. Deserve To Fight Pacquiao, De La Hoya or Duddy?
By Chris Williams:
Having seen Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (39-0-1, 29 KOs) fight yet another handpicked opponent last weekend against Luciano Cuello (23-1, 10 KOs) in Tijuana, Mexico, I donâ€™t see how Chavez Jr. deserves a fight against Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya or John Duddy. Chavez Jr., 23, struggled mightily with the non-top 15 ranked Cuello, having both his eyes swollen and struggling from the third round on.
Ranked number #3 in the WBC light middleweight division, Chavez Jr. has done little to deserve that high ranking at this point in his career, and judging by the way Chavez Jr. fought last weekend against the smallish, 5â€²8â€³ Cuello, Chavez doesnâ€™t deserve to fight top fighters like Pacquiao, De La Hoya or Duddy.
I just hope that Chavez Jrâ€™s father, Julio Cesar Chavez, recognizes how badly over-matched Chavez Jr. would be against excellent fighters like them. Chavez Jrâ€™s promoter Bob Arum is interested in him facing them, saying â€œWeâ€™re going to look for a major opponent.
There are a number of people that come to mind. Thereâ€™s John Duddy, Oscar De La Hoya and thereâ€™s a third possibility. Thereâ€™s a little difference in size, but it would be the biggest fight of the year by far, and thatâ€™s Manny Pacquiao, if he beats Ricky Hatton. Mexico vs. the Philippines.â€
Chavez Jr. may be a popular fighter in Mexico because of his fatherâ€™s name, but Chavez Jr. hasnâ€™t stood out against the low quality competition that heâ€™s been up against thus far in his six year pro career. Iâ€™m canâ€™t point my finger on what his main problem is, because on the surface Chavez Jr. looks good both offensively and defensively.
His power is excellent, he throws to the body perhaps better than anyone in the light middleweight division, has good defensive skills, yet he seems to struggle against B class opponents. Chavez Jr. got the win last Saturday night against Cuello, but he got beaten up in the process, with both eyes swollen and he was lucky the fight was only a 10-rounder and not for 12 rounds, because Cuello was wearing him down.
Similarly, Chavez Jr. struggled against B-level fighter Matt Vanda, beating him twice in 2008, but having huge problems with him. You canâ€™t argue with success, I suppose, because after all Chavez Jr. is beating them all. However, these are fighters that Chavez Jr. should be beating with ease instead of being pushed to the limit to get a win.
If heâ€™s having problems with fighters like Vanda and Cuello, thatâ€™s red flag that Chavez Jr. isnâ€™t ready to progress to the next level. Whether he wants to or not, it looks as if his promoter sure wants him to. Why Arum would want to push Chavez Jr. into a fight against veterans like De La Hoya and Pacquiao at this early point in Chavez Jrâ€™s career seems, at least to me, that heâ€™s trying to cash out with a big payday before Chavez Jr. is beaten by one of the B class fighters that heâ€™s been struggling to beat.
Chavez Jr. is under a lot of pressure to step it up to the next level and start fighting top tier fighters due to his unbeaten record and his high number #3 ranking in the WBC. However, I canâ€™t find any fighters in the top 15 that I think heâ€™s capable of beating, which is probably why itâ€™s smarter for Arum to throw him in now with Pacquiao, De La Hoya or Duddy rather than wait a little longer and risk Chavez Jr. being beaten by the first top tier fighter he faces.
Chavez Jr. has to fight someone with a big name soon, because the way he struggled against Cuello, who was brought in largely because of his unbeaten record, lack of size and power, it wonâ€™t be long before Chavez Jr. is soundly beaten by someone.
My guess is that even if Chavez Jr. doesnâ€™t get one of the big named fighters to fight him, heâ€™ll continue along the same lines, ignoring calls for him to fight top tier fighters and continue with his fights against B class fighters until he finally gets a title shot.
However, Iâ€™m wondering if heâ€™d accept a title shot against someone like Sergio Martinez or Vernon Forrest? Neither of those fighters would bring in huge amount of money, and of course Chavez Jr. would lose badly to either of them. If Chavez Jr. were to become a mandatory, Iâ€™m guessing he wouldnâ€™t take the fight.
I'm gonna have to be killed before I lose, and I ain't going to die easy - Muhammad Ali