Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs) is set to return on June 22nd in Mexico, ending a two-year layoff. Chavez last fought in 2017 against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs). Although he had promised a Mexican-style war, Chavez barely through any punches and lost a lop-sided unanimous decision.
Nonetheless, Chavez still believes he will be find success in the sport if he takes it seriously.
“I’ve been out of boxing for two years, I’ve seen boxing from the inside and from the outside, I’ll have another chance, but I have to take things seriously, there can be no more carelessness, I’m no longer a young man where I can do things that I should not do. I have faith that if I come back strong I will soon get a big fight,” said Chavez Jr, per boxingscene.com.
Chavez may take it seriously this time and go on to become a world champion again, but it’s hard to believe him when we’ve heard this story before.
Chavez came in to the sport of boxing with a ton of hype due to his father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. The older Chavez is considered by many as the best Mexican fighter of all time and people wondered what Jr. could accomplish in the sport. The bar was set extremely high from the start, and the younger Chavez has not lived up to it.
Chavez Jr. showed promise early on, quickly compiling a record of 42-0-1 before challenging for a world title. In 2011 Chavez fought Sebastian Zbik for the WBC middleweight title that had been unfairly stripped from Sergio Martinez. Chavez won a decision victory and the first step in following his father’s footsteps was accomplished.
He successfully defended his title 3 times, beating Peter Manfredo Jr, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Andy Lee. He was then scheduled to defend against Sergio Martinez in September 2012 in a big pay-per-view event. Martinez had previously been stripped from the title Chavez was defending, and many still regarded Martinez as the best middleweight in the world. However, if Chavez was to continue to follow in his dad’s footsteps, this is a challenge he would have to get by or at least make it competitive.
Neither of the two things happened. In the build-up to the fight it was clear Chavez wasn’t taking the fight seriously. HBO 24/7 videos showed Chavez training out of his living room in the night and eating cheerios in his speedos in the morning. This all came crashing down on fight night when Martinez battered Chavez for 11 rounds. Chavez barely threw any punches and looked outclassed in every way. It was a completely lopsided fight until the the 12th round when Chavez hurt and dropped Martinez. Unfortunately for Chavez, Martinez showed championship level heart and recovered, standing toe-to-toe until the final bell. Chavez had been outclassed and embarrassed.
Chavez Jr. never really recovered from that loss. He won two fights over Brian Vera but clearly wasn’t the same Chavez who had stopped Andy Lee. His work ethic left a lot to be desired during training camps and it showed in his fights. Chavez attempted to move to super middleweight to re-establish himself but was knocked out by Andrezej Fonfara. After getting two easy victories over weak opponents, a big opportunity came knocking on Chavez’s door in 2017 : Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was interested in fighting him on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
Up to this point, Chavez’s weak training regimen was well documented. He simply lacked his father’s work ethic and determination during training camps. However, if one fight was going to light a fire himself surely it would have been this one. A fight against rival Canelo on the biggest Mexican holiday of the year, what more could you ask for motivation. Chavez spoke about how he would be working his ass off in preparation for this fight and even hired a new trainer in the form of the legendary Nacho Beristain. The public began to wonder if Chavez was speaking the truth and was actually taking this fight with the seriousness it deserved.
All seemed to be going well until reports came that Chavez had not shown up to training in weeks. Beristain had no idea where he was and threatened to not corner him if Chavez didn’t return. Chavez had clearly been blowing smoke when he talked about how serious he was taking this fight, and it once again showed on fight night. Canelo dominated from start to finish as Chavez barely threw a punch. Chavez Sr. was shown screaming from the sidelines attempting to fire his son up but Jr seemed to be walking on quick sand. On his biggest redemption opportunity, Jr had fallen short, and not by a bit, he had barely even attempted to make a jump.
So now in 2019, Chavez Jr. is set to return in June and if you had never met him before, you’d think this was one determined young man ready to fix his past errors and become a world champion. Unfortunately, the boxing public has heard him say the same thing before. Who knows the real reasons Chavez is making his return. What we do know is if he couldn’t make something happen in the biggest redemption opportunity of his life, it would be foolish to believe he is going to it now.