Bryan Bradley breaks down Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s future possibilities

 

By: Bryan Bradley

 

In a fight that staged one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport challenging the son of a Legend, middleweight king Sergio Martinez put on a display of pure boxing and ring generalship to outclass previously undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.  Martinez was doing so for 11 and a half rounds before finally making a mistake in the 12th and final round. Having hurt Martinez with a left hand, Chavez scored a dramatic knockdown of Martinez.

 

Unfortunately for Chavez Jr., in his last ditch effort to emerge victorious in the biggest fight of his career, Martinez beat the count, finished the fight, and was saved by the final bell. When the scores of the three official ringside judges were read, Martinez was the victor by unanimous decision. Chavez’s near conquest of Martinez was reminiscent of his father’s controversial final second knockout of Meldrick Taylor in their memorable title unification battle in March of 1990.

 

More important than just winning the fight, Chavez’s knockdown of Martinez may have signaled dollar signs and additional opportunities for bigger fights in the years to come. Immediately following the Martinez vs. Chavez Jr. battle at the MGM Grand last Saturday night, people in the boxing world were already talking rematch. One would argue that a fighter who dominates a fight and gets hurt in one round is not a big deal. After all, Shane Mosley hurt pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather with two massive right hands in the second round of their mega fight in May of 2010. However, there is a significant difference in those two scenarios.

 

While Mayweather was visibly shook by the right hands, he gathered himself, put his skills on display to methodically fight his way back into the fight, and won the next eight rounds.  The last vision we had of Martinez was the knockdown in the 12th round.  We also remember what happened in the 2005 rematch between Zab Judah and Cory Spinks, after Judah had nearly knocked Spinks out in the final seconds of their first fight in 2004.

 

Perhaps a rematch between Chavez Jr. and Martinez would be intriguing.  Well, the rematch appeared to be a likely prospect in the foreseeable future, up until last Wednesday when Chavez’s promoter Top Rank Inc. released the statement confirming that Chavez Jr. tested positive for marijuana. Chavez Jr. immediately issued a public apology on Saturday for the positive drug test, but he is still likely to forfeit his $3 million dollar purse depending on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s reception of his explanation for the offense.

 

Fighters such as Antonio Tarver, a former world champion, had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs this year. Such news serves as a black eye to the sport of boxing. While it is true that marijuana is likely to hinder performance as opposed to the benefits incurred by using a performance enhancing drug, it should be noted that no positive test result for a banned substance should ever go unacknowledged in professional sports.

 

Athletes who operate under the use of banned substances, whether the effects are advantageous or taxing, could be just as capable of using other banned substances. By giving an athlete a pass for failing any particular drug test, it sends a negative message to other offenders that it is acceptable to use banned substances in their training regimen regardless of the effect that the substance may have. Therefore, this observer believes that boxing commissions must hold all offenders accountable for their actions.Although his career now faces serious damage control, fans have not seen the last of Chavez Jr. He is tall for a middleweight and it is conceivable that he could move up in weight. One could easily see him moving up to the super middleweight division, where 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and undisputed champion Andre Ward is enjoying what appears to be an increasingly insurmountable reign.

 

Following his recent one-sided 10th round stoppage of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, it is clear that the undefeated Ward is ready, willing, and able to take on all comers.  With each outing Ward is looking more and more like a future pound for pound king; a special fighter who is entering his prime.  What do Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, and Arthur Abraham all have in common? Each one of these fighters lost to Ward during the Showtime Super Six Tournament and went on to win world titles afterwards.

 

Given the fact that Chavez Jr. still has that legendary name recognition and almost repeated his father’s nearly impossible victory 22 years ago, a future fight with Ward would make both dollars and sense.  Ward would be the clear favorite to win, as he brings the far superior skill set and resume of opponents, but Chavez has a solid chin and has shown the ability to create suspense in the ring. The combination of the qualities that those two men possess has the potential to put people in seats.

 

A matchup between Chavez Jr. and former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, now campaigning at super middleweight, would be far more entertaining, much more evenly matched, and would have the makings of a bloody war. Both Chavez and Pavlik are tall, but they customarily stand and trade as if they were shorter in height.

 

Before any future fights can transpire, however, it is painfully apparent that Chavez Jr. will have to learn from the setbacks of his loss to Martinez, as well as the positive drug test, by cleaning up his lifestyle and taking a more serious and dedicated approach to his professional career. Whether or not he realizes it, Chavez Jr. does have a future in the sport of the boxing. From this day forward, however, his actions will determine exactly what type of future that will be.

 

While we’re on the topic of future matchups, where does Martinez go from here?  The fact that Martinez, 37, threw over 900 punches over the course of 12 rounds against his 26 year old challenger is astonishing to say the least. Yours truly believes that a fight between Martinez and undefeated WBC super welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez would be a pleasure to witness. Martinez would provide a severe test for the 22 year old from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, who has yet to be legitimately challenged at the world class level.

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