By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. biggest problem is his last name and heritage. If he was Julio Ramirez and didn’t have a famous Hall of Fame fighter as a father, we would say that he is a good fighter, a contender and note that he held for a brief time, a piece of the Middleweight championship. The reality is that being Chavez Jr. is a curse since we expect so much more and certainly seeing him losing to Andrzej Fonfara by not coming out for the tenth round was a stunner for those who remember his father for the warrior he was.
Marco Reyes was picked as the comeback fight for obvious reason, he was a natural Middleweight who had not fight the quality of opposition Chavez has and from the first round, it was obvious that while Reyes knocked out 24 fighters in his 33 wins; that his punch did not match Chavez’s power at Super Middleweight. And Chavez did came in overweight; leaving many questioning how does a fighter who supposedly trained like he never before and sparred 100 rounds under the guidance of Robert Garcia, come in overweight?
The first round saw Chavez retreating almost the entire round until near the end before he unleashed his first offensive volley. From the second round through the fifth round, Chavez put the pressure on and while Reyes would box and connect on combinations; it was Chavez who would take control of the round with his piston like jab followed by left hooks and right hands. Throughout the sixth round, Reyes boxed his way as he landed combinations and Chavez didn’t use the jab or punch his way. Chavez tried to steal the round with a four punch volley at the end of the round. Showtime Steve Farhood had Chavez ahead halfway through by 58-56.
Chavez used his power and size to win the seventh round as he pounded Reyes from one side to the other but Reyes boxed his way throughout the eighth round just as he did most of the sixth round while Chavez allowed Reyes to fight unencumbered.
An accidental head opened up a cut over Chavez in the ninth round and Chavez immediately complained to the referee who simply immediately deducted a point from Reyes. Chavez appeared to be winning the round so it probably became a 10-8 round.
Reyes threw double the punches and connected on more but Compubox numbers didn’t mean anything in this fight for two reason. The first as Steve Farhood noted, this is professional boxing and the quality and power of the punches count. Chavez connect rate was double the rate than Reyes and Reyes never really hurt Chavez.
Team Chavez can’t really be pleased since Reyes is a good fighter but he is not an elite fighter nor a major contender. Chavez stated after the fight that he had sore left hand and thought he broke the hand. While he won the fight, it was hardly impressive. I had the fight 96-93, same as Steve Farhood and as one Showtime pundit observed, “It is hard to see what effect Robert Garcia” since Chavez simply overpowered his opponent and showed no improvement from his last fight against Fonfara.
Chavez will get a big fight simply because of his name but the big question is whether he will show dedication outside the ring as he came in overweight and at times looked like he trying to conserve energy as to conserve his energy. The one fighter that Chavez is starting to resemble is Heavyweight Chris Arreola who earlier that same day had a majority draw against Fred Kassi, which cost him a bout with Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Chris Arreola is a warrior in the ring but for years, he never kept in shape in between fights and this cost him a shot at being a champion. Chavez is following the same path as he doesn’t seem to taking his sport seriously outside the ring as he has come in fights overweight and not in top shape. He is cheating himself out of a career.