Let the Son Shine

By Robert Ecksel on February 14, 2014
Let the Son Shine
“I know that I owe the fans a great performance and that is what they will get.” (HBO)

There are too few happy endings in boxing. Maybe Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. hasn’t peaked. Maybe he can turn it around…

On Saturday, March 1, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KOs), from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, fights a rematch with Bryan Vera (23-7, 14 KOs), from Austin, Texas, in a fight televised live on HBO at 9:45 PM ET/PT.

The loss to Sergio Martinez on Sept. 15, 2012, followed by a failed drug test, followed by a disputed unanimous decision over ham-and-egger Vera a year later, has caused many to wonder if Chavez Jr. is the real deal.

Being the “Son of the Legend” has its plusses and minuses. On the plus side, doors have opened that might have otherwise stayed closed. On the minus side, expectations run high and accusations of favoritism are inevitable.

But Chavez has dealt with the pros and cons as best he could. He was sometimes successful and sometimes not, but there are easier professions than boxing in which to fail.

Chavez Jr. knows he screwed up. Often out of shape, often desultory in his training, he nevertheless hits hard, has a great chin, and is apparently taking boxing as seriously as it needs to be taken.

In an attempt to make amends, or to persuade those that have lost faith in his ability to deliver, Chavez Jr. has penned an open letter to his fans. The letter, a boilerplate epistle posted on boxingscene.com, sounds sincere, and however well crafted, it’s possible that it wasn’t written by a journalist disguised as a publicist doubling as a ventriloquist.

“I am looking forward to returning to the ring on March 1 in San Antonio,” he wrote. “The fans in the great state of Texas have always been very kind and supportive of me throughout my professional career and the people of San Antonio in particular have been great to me.

“For many people, my fight in San Antonio in June 2010 against John Duddy was my breakout fight and it led me to my first championship fight one year later. It made believers out of many boxing fans that had doubts about my abilities.

“In February 2012, I returned to San Antonio as a world champion and beat the number one-rated contender, Marco Antonio Rubio, in a fight many felt I would lose. That night the people came out and really supported me as I successfully defended my title against Rubio.

“The only other time I fought in San Antonio was in 2007 when I was just beginning my climb up the rankings. My upcoming March 1 fight will be the 15th time I’ve fought in Texas, but this fight will be one of the most important of my career, following two disappointing performances—my first professional loss, to Sergio Martinez, and a disputed victory over Bryan Vera last September in Los Angeles.

“I know that expectations prior to my first fight against Vera were that it would be an easy fight for me, but it did not turn out that way for many reasons. But I won’t make any excuses. I know that I owe the fans a great performance and that is what they will get—a great performance on March 1st.

“I believe that Vera fought as well as he could in the first fight and I know that I did not fight my best by a long shot. I will be more prepared physically and mentally for this second fight because I know that I need to get an impressive win against Vera. There is a lot at stake for me in this fight.

“We are fighting in Vera’s home state this time around and he will have a lot of support in the stands, but inside the ring it will just be us—mano a mano. And while I felt that I won the first fight with my power and accurate punching, I know that I left some doubt in many people minds because of my weight issues and the fact that I did not have the consistency in my attack that I needed during that fight.

“In boxing it always come down to being prepared and being ready to go in the ring and performing to the best of my ability and that is what will happen against Vera this second time around. I need to be active, consistent and land my shots with power and do as much damage as I can early so I can finish the fight with a big flourish.

“My fans in Texas and around the world know that I will always give them the best fight possible for them to enjoy no matter the circumstances. Rest assured that for this fight on March 1, they will see me at my best and I will get the win in a very clear and decisive fashion.”

Vera is a rugged competitor who I’d like to see win. But I’d like to see Chavez Jr. win as well. There are too few happy endings in boxing. Maybe Junior hasn’t peaked. Maybe he can turn it around.

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  1. Charlie 05:34am, 02/16/2014

    NYIrish, you’re probably right about that.

  2. Charlie 05:29am, 02/16/2014

    I think it’s totally clear that Junior didn’t write that; it was written by someone else and distributed in Junior’s name.  It sounds similar to Tiger Woods’ “apology”.

  3. NYIrish 09:45pm, 02/14/2014

    Put up or shut up time Junior. But the judges in the Alamo City have their cards filled out already.

  4. Ted 01:29pm, 02/14/2014

    Junior by big KO

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