Sunday, June 17, 2012

Son of a legend doesn't make you one, yet.

In the sport of boxing, all because you are the son of a legend, doesn't necessarily make you one; in most cases, history has shown it turns out to be just the opposite. Marvis Frazier, Hector Camacho, Jr. and Aaron Pryor, Jr. are just a few notable examples that quickly come to mind. However, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. is trying to break that history and become a legend in his own right.

On Saturday night he did his best to continue to stake his own claim as he successfully defended his WBC middleweight title. He did so by defeating challenger Andy Lee (28-2, 20 KO's) via TKO in the seventh round. Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KO's) looked impressive in the finish, but started off sluggish in his second consecutive fight. He raised some concerns, along with some eyebrows, to me anyway, with not only his performance, but his physicality as well.

Ready for a conspiracy theory, because here it comes? Now normally I used to hate when fans and journalists quickly turned to performance enhancing drugs as reasoning behind a fighter's success either in the ring or in the cage. It is not fair to the athlete to prejudge without proof, although I'm about to do my best courtroom lawyer act and raise some questions here; and for the record, no I'm not hating on poor little Junior, so hear me out.

Up until two or three fights ago, it was universally agreed upon that Junior's record had been strategically put into place; don't believe me, well let's take a look. In his second pro fight, he fought a guy who was (5-13); in his sixth fight, when competition should be rising, his opponent was (0-14). In his 13th pro fight his opponent was an undermanned (1-6); and in his 21st fight, when he was undefeated, his opponent was an average (10-10). So, while he does have 32 KO's to his credit, his opposition leaves something to be desired.

That said, he was never considered a heavy puncher, up until lately anyway. In his last three fights against some decent fighters at least, he's mustered two TKO finishes. However before that, in his previous eight fights, he only mustered one TKO finish; right around the time he started to step up in competition against the likes of durable journeymen fighters such as Matt Vanda and John Duddy. So, here's where the questions come in.

Is it possible that maybe Junior's camp saw that he may have some trouble against viable contenders in his division and decided that he can possibly use an edge? Once again, there is no proof, thus this is merely speculation on my part. However, let's take a look at some of the circumstantial evidence.

In his last three fights he's suddenly having trouble making weight; I mean serious trouble. In his previous fight against Marco Antonio Rubio, he had to cut 15 lbs. two days before the fight and ended up coming into the fight well over 180 lbs.; this in a division where fighters weigh in at 160. Sure, people say he's big for the division, but that wasn't always the case.

Speaking of big, he wasn't always the heaviest of punchers either, but a/o late he's been teeing off with a lot more power in his punches. To finish off guys like Peter Manfredo, Jr. and Andy Lee the way he did, who have been know to have pretty decent chins, was pretty impressive. Yet, he says if it wasn't an on-going problem with his legs cramping up before and during the fight, he would finish them even sooner; hmmmm?

Another big brow raiser is his sudden propensity to not "be able" to provide urine samples to the state commissions before his fights. I say "be able," because is it that he was not able or not willing. Saturday night for example a concession was made to have him provide a sample after the fight. Now I would think if you are unable to provide a sample before the fight, then after the fight would be even more difficult after you've depleted your body of fluids through sweat after going seven rounds in the ring; I don't know, that's just me.

Finally, while I understand Junior is now a grown man of 26 and no longer the baby faced assassin pictured above, the sudden and wolfman like growth of facial hair does make me wonder. Okay, I know I may be reaching on this one, but I don't remember the legend Senior, even to this day, ever walking around with facial hair. Maybe instead of possible PED's he's taking Rogaine, I don't know.

Conspiracy theories set aside, Chavez, Jr. is starting to become a star in a sport where young stars are sorely needed. I just hope that my theories are just that and he proves that he's just an improving fighter, which he'll get a chance to do on September 15 when he faces Sergio Martinez in Las Vegas. His game better be correct on that night, because he'll be fighting one of the best pound for pound fighters today. Remember son, all because your father was a legend, doesn't necessarily make you one, yet.

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