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The Namesake Son of Mexico’s Greatest Boxer Just Keeps Fouling-Up

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  • The Namesake Son of Mexico’s Greatest Boxer Just Keeps Fouling-Up

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    By Arne K. Lang

    The TSS 2019 Fighter of the Year will be announced later this week. It’s plain that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr isn’t in the running. Indeed, his name is mud after his feeble showing against Daniel Jacobs this past Friday, Dec. 20, in Phoenix. As he left the ring with his entourage after calling it a night after five rounds, he was showered with invective and pelted with garbage.

    Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has a splendid record, currently 51-4-1 with 33 KOs. He is the son of the man widely regarded as Mexico’s greatest fighter. Someday decades from now someone will look at the record of the two Chavez’s, a combined 158-10-3 with 118 KOs, and conclude that this was the greatest father-son combination in the history of the sport. At the moment, however, the younger Chavez is considered something of a fraud. And it isn’t just because of his actions in Phoenix but because it fit the pattern of a man with bad habits who is unwilling to play by the rules.

    In 2009, Chavez Jr tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide after winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Troy Rowland in a fight at the MGM Grand. The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined him $10,000, suspended him for seven months, and changed the decision to “no-contest” (as it appears in BoxRec).

    In 2012, after his match with Sergio Martinez, Chavez Jr tested positive for THC (tetrohydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana. Chavez acknowledged that he had smoked a marijuana cigarette, but said he consumed it nine days before the fight and at the behest of a member of his camp who promoted it as a stress-inhibitor.

    The Nevada Athletic Commission was unforgiving. In large part because Chavez was a multiple offender, they slapped him with a $900,000 fine (one-third of his purse) and a nine-month suspension.

    The Nevada Commission, and not Chavez Jr, became the bad guy when this draconian punishment was made known. The penalty was denounced as overkill, especially as marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug; if anything, it’s the opposite. “The $900,000 fine,” said prominent local journalist John L. Smith, “left some folks wondering what the Nevada Athletic Commission was inhaling.”

    (A simple majority of the five-man commission was required to approve the fine. The three commissioners that voted for it – Las Vegas businessman and former state legislator Bill Brady and attorneys Pat Lundvall and Francisco Aguilar – are no longer with the commission. The commission eventually conceded that it had overreacted and reduced the fine to $100,000. As of Jan. 1, 2017, marijuana is legal in Nevada for recreational purposes. The NSAC has removed it from the list of banned substances. Nowadays, trucks bearing billboards for cannabis dispensaries troll the Las Vegas Strip 24/7).

    Whatever sympathy Chavez Jr earned was squandered on April 18, 2015, when he quit on his stool after nine rounds in his bout with Andrzej Fonfara. Chavez Jr was taking quite a beating, but it never redounds well to a fighter when he initiates a stoppage. The fans want to see him go out on his shield.

    Chavez Jr began his pro career as a skinny 17-year-old carrying 130 pounds on his 6’0” frame. His fight with Fonfara was contested at the catch-weight of 173. It isn’t all that uncommon for a boxer to put on more than 40 pounds during the course of a long career (think James Toney), but yet the general feeling was that Chavez Jr. had allowed himself to get too heavy. “Truth be told,” said Brian Mazique, then writing for Bleacher Report, “160 pounds is still the best weight class for Chavez but there are serious concerns as to whether he’s willing to discipline himself enough to make the weight.”

    Chavez Jr’s next important engagement was his May 6, 2017 match with countryman Canelo Alvarez at Las Vegas’ recently opened T-Mobile Arena. The bout was contested before a sold-out crowd of 20,510 (17,143 paid). This was Cinco de Mayo weekend, always a gala weekend in Las Vegas. Many of the attendees traveled thousands of miles to witness the battle for Mexican boxing supremacy and Chavez Jr, who was not lacking for crowd support, let everyone down. He fought to survive, not to win, and lost every round on all three scorecards in a fight without an indelible moment.

    Chavez Jr’s fight with Daniel Jacobs was set to play out at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Chavez Jr completed his preparation at Freddie Roach’s famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. On Oct. 24, emissaries for the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) visited the Wild Card for the purpose of collecting a urine sample from him. Chavez Jr blew them off. According to Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman, the co-founder of VADA, this was the first instance in which a fighter flat-out refused to take a random drug test (as opposed to being impossible to find).

    The NSAC acted quickly, hitting Chavez with a temporary suspension and then extending it for an indefinite period at their monthly meeting in November, knocking the fight out of Nevada. Francisco Meneses, the executive director of Arizona’s Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission, then reached out to the bout’s promoter, Great Britain’s Eddie Hearn, about the feasibility of moving the fight to Arizona pending an okay from the commission’s legal counsel.

    The obstacles to holding the fight in Phoenix were removed – and least in the opinion of Meneses and his consultants -- when attorneys for Chavez Jr succeeded in obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order against the Nevada Athletic Commission. They argued that the agency had no power to suspend an unlicensed boxer and because Chavez hadn’t yet renewed his license, he could not be suspended; he was immune. District Court Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey, a native Nevadan like Chavez’s lead attorney Ross Goodman, signed off on the Restraining Order.

    One thing that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has been very good at is picking attorneys. Ross Goodman is the son of Oscar and Caroline Goodman. Oscar Goodman was a well-known mob attorney before he was elected mayor of Las Vegas. He served three terms and was succeeded by his wife, the current mayor. Oscar and Caroline have controlled the mayor’s office for the last 20 years.

    Some of the members of the Nevada Athletic Commission have a considerable amount of influence, but none has as much juice as Ross Goodman. If you go to court in Las Vegas, you don’t want to look up and find Oscar and Caroline’s son representing the other side.

    There would be more drama on the day before the fight when Chavez Jr weighed in almost five pounds above the stipulated 168-pound limit. The bout was salvaged when Chavez agreed to pay forfeit money to Daniel Jacobs, reportedly a cool $1 million, one-third or one-half of Chavez’s purse depending on the source.

    Then came the fight and a performance widely derided as disgraceful. Chavez Jr had a few good moments, but even before the end of the fourth round there were indications that he didn’t have enough fuel in his tank to last the distance. When he called it quits, the crowd, which was overwhelmingly pro-Chavez before the start of the match, erupted in indignation. Chairs were overturned, there were fights in the crowd, and there was almost a full-blown riot. Chavez did not attend the post-fight press conference. A spokesman said that he had broken his nose and that it would require reconstructive surgery.

    Approbation was swift. “This spoiled and petulant man has none of the blue-collar work ethic that made his father a legend,” fumed Yahoo’s Kevin Iole.

    Perhaps we should cut Junior a little slack. It can’t be easy being the namesake son of a legend; that’s a heavy burden to bear. Giving and receiving a steady stream of punches over the course of a 12-round fight is an under-appreciated feat of endurance and Chavez Jr, it’s worth remembering, went the full 12 with future Hall of Famer Sergio Martinez and nearly pulled that fight out of the fire with a late rally, his signature moment in a career largely devoid of signature wins.

    But it’s hard to feel sorry for him. At the pre-fight press conference, he sounded confident. “There are a lot of good fighters out there at 168 pounds; not big names but strong guys. I feel I can beat them all,” he said. After the bout he said he only lost because Jacobs fought dirty, complaining that he had been repeatedly elbowed and head-butted, infractions that weren’t evident to those in the arena or those watching the live-stream on DAZN.

    One thing we learned once again, as if we needed reminding, was that a professional fighter’s won-loss record is one of the most worthless statistics in all of sports. (No disrespect to the elder Chavez who fought a lot of stiffs, yes, but was really, really good.) And we learned that while boxing is the theater of the unexpected, a line credited to Larry Merchant, a promoter can increase the odds of unexpectedness in a bad way by employing a recidivist like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Maybe we should cut Junior a little slack precisely because he is the son of a legend; The easiest thing is to go after someone when they are down, and what this guy is receiving on Facebook and on other sites in pure hate. It's even coming from some ex-boxers. Jerry Quarry once said "no one who ever stepped into a ring is a bum." I tend to lean toward that except in cases ;like Resto and Margo, but keep in mind that young Chavez was throwing some decent stuff in there so I'm willing to say "hey, maybe he did have his nose broken."


    • #3
      The same people who just a few months ago were writing sanctimonious articles and social media posts about never calling a fighter a quitter or a bum because Patrick Day and others (“it’s wrong!!”) are the same people today calling Chavez Jr. a QUITTER and a BUM in their headlines! These are the same kind of morally defective maniacs who prostrated themselves for President Barack Obama (most high) and swore up and down that respect for the office of the Presidency was tantamount and that of course they would show it when their fallen messiah was gone. Well, newsflash: They. Have. Not.

      And neither have the hypocrites of boxing.


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        Hypocrisy in boxing is rampant. The Facebook stuff has been unreal---and even from some ex-boxers. Yet, photos just released show Junior getting headbutted twice and elbowed once. I'm not excusing his weight issues but once he steps into that ring, it's a different story. Fans also forget that Chavez senior was quite the whiner and complained frequently about some of his decisions. He also quit on the stool against De La Hoya.

    • #4
      Yes, it's too easy for someone who has never been in the prize ring to label someone a quitter. Thanks for sharing the Jerry Quarry quote.


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment

    • #5
      all i want to know ....what happened to JR's hair ? ...didn't want Freddy to look out of place ?


      • #6
        Yes Ted even fighters are joining in the pig pile of hate. Has Ring 10 voted to publicly rebuke Chavez Jr. and cut off any future funding? Is even John Scully now saying it’s OK to dump **** on Jr.’s head and label him a quitter/bum? I’m reminded of a quote by Heath Ledger’s Joker: “Their morals, their code; it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. You'll see, I'll show you. When the chips are down these, uh, civilized people? They'll eat each other. See I'm not a monster, I'm just ahead of the curve.”


        • Kid Blast
          Kid Blast commented
          Editing a comment
          I don't follow Scully any more.But he is always for the boxer no matter what. Ring 19 would never engage the topic.

          TSS excluded, I have never seen worse sniping and petty stuff than I have seen from some of the writers out there. They go after Junior like he was fresh Omaha steak, Junior was not doing all that badly until he quit--but God forbid that a boxer quits. Naw, for me, it;s safer to refrain from being judgmental about something like this.

      • #7
        Their little code of “I’m a boxer and you’re not so only I can call another boxer a bum or a quitter and you better never!” is a bad joke told by translucent hypocrites. Once the writers and the fighters colluded against Junior it was over, all bets off, no holds barred and where the fukk is the pizza box fans threw at Victor Ortiz so we can use it to bash Chavez Jr. some more with extra cheese?!? You don’t follow Scully anymore? What the?!?