Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Chavez (45-0-1, 31 KOs) will be taking a big step forward when he defends his WBC middleweight champion belt this Saturday at the Sunbowl in El Paso, Texas. He is taking on the much taller Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KOs), the Irishman from Limerick, Ireland. Chavez is trained by the recently inducted Hall of Famer, Freddie Roach and reports are that they have had a good training camp for this exciting matchup. Andy Lee, who only has one blemish on his record is coming into the fight with Emanuel Steward, another Hall of Fame trainer from the famous Kronk Gym. Steward has trained such great fighters as Tommy “the Hitman/Motor City Cobra” Hearns (61-5, 48KO’s) and many other world champions.
This will be a big step up for Chavez, who will not only be fighting a much taller fighter, but a southpaw style fighter to boot. Chavez is the younger fighter at the age of 26 and Lee is only two years older. Both are in the prime of their boxing careers but Lee is supposedly the more seasoned fighter. Lee recently avenged his 2008 knockout loss early in his career against Austin, Texas’ Brian Vera in a technical fight by unanimous decision in Atlantic City back in October of 2011. Lee also is coming into this fight with a knockout against Saul Duran (40-20, 2, 33KO’s), a fighter with a huge knockout resume. Lee is very determined coming into this fight and has been quoted as saying, "I've never been more ready to win the title," and "I am not going to El Paso to make the numbers on the card; believe me, this is the pinnacle of a lifetime's work and the opportunity is not going to pass me by. I'm going to win the title. ... I will be too strong and have too much ring craft for Chavez."
As for Chavez, the son of legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr., (107-6, 86KO‘s), he is very determined to defend his title in front of a huge contingent of fans in El Paso, Texas. According to Roach, "His biggest improvement is his work ethic," something he may have had problems with in the past, but not anymore. Chavez has made it clear that, "I believe that at this stage of my career I am putting it all together," "I now have the experience to deal with everything that might happen in the ring, and I think my last few fights have helped me to become a better fighter. What I need now, is to follow Freddie's plan and make this fight one of my best."
If Chavez wins, there is a possibility that he could face his countryman, Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez (40-0, 29KO’s), who recently fought and retired Sugar Shane Mosley (46-8, 39KO’s). Another opponent also mentioned for Chavez might be Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s), former WBC middleweight champion and current WBC Diamond middleweight champion. Martinez is probably the best middleweight in boxing and he was scheduled to fight Chavez in September, but rumors are that Chavez will be moving up in weight after this fight, which will avoid Martinez again. That is, if Chavez wins.
Look for this to be a very technically fought fight by Lee and the same for Chavez. Lee will have to contend with the straight-forward attack of hard jabs and hard right hands from Chavez and Lee will have to use his height and length to counter the attack. Look for both fighters to be landing big punches with bad intentions from the outset.
Both fighters came in tip top shape at the weigh-ins and the official weight of Chavez was 159 lbs and Lee came in at 159.25 lbs. The only controversy was when Lee’s camp wanted the officials to weigh the respective gloves of each fighter, and Chavez’ camp refused. Nevertheless, Chavez looked in much better shape than his last weigh-in from his last fight, a credit to him and his trainer Freddie Roach. Look for a lot of heavy handed punching in the beginning rounds and both fighters looking for the knockout. This is going to be the biggest fight that both fighters have ever had and the winner will more than likely fight Sergio Martinez. Look for the upset by the Irishman in around the ninth round. The HBO broadcast goes up at 10 p.m. EDT, but the live fight from El Paso will be preceded by a replay of last weekend's controversial Pacquiao vs Bradley fight from HBO PPV.
The undercard will be full of fighters from the Lone Star State, including Dallas’ own Roberto Marroquin (21-1, 14 KOs) against Arturo Santiago (7-5-1, 4 KOs) in an eight round featherweight battle. Marroquin is coming into this fight with two unanimous decisions after suffering his only loss on his record back in April of 2011. He now has a new trainer and is back on track and still fighting out of the elite Top Rank fighting stable.
Also Alex Saucedo, another up and coming fighter fighting out of the Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas, Texas, will also be on the undercard. This fighter had a phenomenal amateur record and is 3-0 with three first round knockouts. He will be fighting a four-round welterweight fight against James Harrison (1-0).
And, Fort Worth is represented by the tough Arthur Trevino (7-7, 4KO’s) against Casey Ramos (15-4, 4KO’s). Trevino is entering this fight with a two KO streak in his last two fights, but he is going against the undefeated Casey. He has his hands full this time, and hopefully he can get the knockout and put that first loss on the record of Casey.
All photos courtesy of Stacey Verbeek