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The Namesake Son of Mexico’s Greatest Fighter Just Keeps Fouling-Up

Arne K. Lang

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The TSS 2019 Fighter of the Year will be announced later this week. It’s plain that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr isn’t in the running. Indeed, his name is mud after his feeble showing against Daniel Jacobs this past Friday, Dec. 20, in Phoenix. As he left the ring with his entourage after calling it a night after five rounds, he was showered with invective and pelted with garbage.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has a splendid record, currently 51-4-1 with 33 KOs. He is the son of the man widely regarded as Mexico’s greatest fighter. Someday decades from now someone will look at the record of the two Chavez’s, a combined 158-10-3 with 118 KOs, and conclude that this was the greatest father-son combination in the history of the sport. At the moment, however, the younger Chavez is considered something of a fraud. And it isn’t just because of his actions in Phoenix but because it fit the pattern of a man with bad habits who is unwilling to play by the rules.

In 2009, Chavez Jr tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide after winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Troy Rowland in a fight at the MGM Grand. The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined him $10,000, suspended him for seven months, and changed the decision to “no-contest” (as it appears in BoxRec).

In 2012, after his match with Sergio Martinez, Chavez Jr tested positive for THC (tetrohydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana. Chavez acknowledged that he had smoked a marijuana cigarette, but said he consumed it nine days before the fight and at the behest of a member of his camp who promoted it as a stress-inhibitor.

The Nevada Athletic Commission was unforgiving. In large part because Chavez was a multiple offender, they slapped him with a $900,000 fine (one-third of his purse) and a nine-month suspension.

The Nevada Commission, and not Chavez Jr, became the bad guy when this draconian punishment was made known. The penalty was denounced as overkill, especially as marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug; if anything, it’s the opposite. “The $900,000 fine,” said prominent local journalist John L. Smith, “left some folks wondering what the Nevada Athletic Commission was inhaling.”

(A simple majority of the five-man commission was required to approve the fine. The three commissioners that voted for it – Las Vegas businessman and former state legislator Bill Brady and attorneys Pat Lundvall and Francisco Aguilar – are no longer with the commission. The commission eventually conceded that it had overreacted and reduced the fine to $100,000. As of Jan. 1, 2017, marijuana is legal in Nevada for recreational purposes. The NSAC has removed it from the list of banned substances. Nowadays, trucks bearing billboards for cannabis dispensaries troll the Las Vegas Strip 24/7).

Whatever sympathy Chavez Jr earned was squandered on April 18, 2015, when he quit on his stool after nine rounds in his bout with Andrzej Fonfara. Chavez Jr was taking quite a beating, but it never redounds well to a fighter when he initiates a stoppage. The fans want to see him go out on his shield.

Chavez Jr began his pro career as a skinny 17-year-old carrying 130 pounds on his 6’0” frame. His fight with Fonfara was contested at the catch-weight of 173. It isn’t all that uncommon for a boxer to put on more than 40 pounds during the course of a long career (think James Toney), but yet the general feeling was that Chavez Jr. had allowed himself to get too heavy. “Truth be told,” said Brian Mazique, then writing for Bleacher Report, “160 pounds is still the best weight class for Chavez but there are serious concerns as to whether he’s willing to discipline himself enough to make the weight.”

Chavez Jr’s next important engagement was his May 6, 2017 match with countryman Canelo Alvarez at Las Vegas’ recently opened T-Mobile Arena. The bout was contested before a sold-out crowd of 20,510 (17,143 paid). This was Cinco de Mayo weekend, always a gala weekend in Las Vegas. Many of the attendees traveled thousands of miles to witness the battle for Mexican boxing supremacy and Chavez Jr, who was not lacking for crowd support, let everyone down. He fought to survive, not to win, and lost every round on all three scorecards in a fight without an indelible moment.

Chavez Jr’s fight with Daniel Jacobs was set to play out at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Chavez Jr completed his preparation at Freddie Roach’s famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. On Oct. 24, emissaries for the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) visited the Wild Card for the purpose of collecting a urine sample from him. Chavez Jr blew them off. According to Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman, the co-founder of VADA, this was the first instance in which a fighter flat-out refused to take a random drug test (as opposed to being impossible to find).

The NSAC acted quickly, hitting Chavez with a temporary suspension and then extending it for an indefinite period at their monthly meeting in November, knocking the fight out of Nevada. Francisco Meneses, the executive director of Arizona’s Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission, then reached out to the bout’s promoter, Great Britain’s Eddie Hearn, about the feasibility of moving the fight to Arizona pending an okay from the commission’s legal counsel.

The obstacles to holding the fight in Phoenix were removed – and least in the opinion of Meneses and his consultants — when attorneys for Chavez Jr succeeded in obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order against the Nevada Athletic Commission. They argued that the agency had no power to suspend an unlicensed boxer and because Chavez hadn’t yet renewed his license, he could not be suspended; he was immune. District Court Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey, a native Nevadan like Chavez’s lead attorney Ross Goodman, signed off on the Restraining Order.

One thing that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has been very good at is picking attorneys. Ross Goodman is the son of Oscar and Caroline Goodman. Oscar Goodman was a well-known mob attorney before he was elected mayor of Las Vegas. He served three terms and was succeeded by his wife, the current mayor. Oscar and Caroline have controlled the mayor’s office for the last 20 years.

Some of the members of the Nevada Athletic Commission have a considerable amount of influence, but none has as much juice as Ross Goodman. If you go to court in Las Vegas, you don’t want to look up and find Oscar and Caroline’s son representing the other side.

There would be more drama on the day before the fight when Chavez Jr weighed in almost five pounds above the stipulated 168-pound limit. The bout was salvaged when Chavez agreed to pay forfeit money to Daniel Jacobs, reportedly a cool $1 million, one-third or one-half of Chavez’s purse depending on the source.

Then came the fight and a performance widely derided as disgraceful. Chavez Jr had a few good moments, but even before the end of the fourth round there were indications that he didn’t have enough fuel in his tank to last the distance. When he called it quits, the crowd, which was overwhelmingly pro-Chavez before the start of the match, erupted in indignation. Chairs were overturned, there were fights in the crowd, and there was almost a full-blown riot. Chavez did not attend the post-fight press conference. A spokesman said that he had broken his nose and that it would require reconstructive surgery.

Approbation was swift. “This spoiled and petulant man has none of the blue-collar work ethic that made his father a legend,” fumed Yahoo’s Kevin Iole.

Perhaps we should cut Junior a little slack. It can’t be easy being the namesake son of a legend; that’s a heavy burden to bear. Giving and receiving a steady stream of punches over the course of a 12-round fight is an under-appreciated feat of endurance and Chavez Jr, it’s worth remembering, went the full 12 with future Hall of Famer Sergio Martinez and nearly pulled that fight out of the fire with a late rally, his signature moment in a career largely devoid of signature wins.

But it’s hard to feel sorry for him. At the pre-fight press conference, he sounded confident. “There are a lot of good fighters out there at 168 pounds; not big names but strong guys. I feel I can beat them all,” he said. After the bout he said he only lost because Jacobs fought dirty, complaining that he had been repeatedly elbowed and head-butted, infractions that weren’t evident to those in the arena or those watching the live-stream on DAZN.

One thing we learned once again, as if we needed reminding, was that a professional fighter’s won-loss record is one of the most worthless statistics in all of sports. (No disrespect to the elder Chavez who fought a lot of stiffs, yes, but was really, really good.) And we learned that while boxing is the theater of the unexpected, a line credited to Larry Merchant, a promoter can increase the odds of unexpectedness in a bad way by employing a recidivist like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

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Tyson and Jones Box to an Unofficial Draw in a Predictable Stinker

Arne K. Lang

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American institution, went belly-up in 2017, but a different kind of circus played to an empty house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The main attraction wasn’t Jumbo the elephant but Iron Mike Tyson in his first ring appearance in 15 years. In the opposite corner was Roy Jones Jr, who at age 51 was the younger man by three years.

Tyson vs. Jones was the main piece of a 4-hour boxing and music festival live-streamed in the U.S. on the TysononTriller.com app at a list price of $49.95. This was the first live event on “Triller” which allows people to create their own music videos and was designed as a rival to China-owned TikTok, one of the biggest recent success stories in the internet world.

The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the match, insisted that Tyson vs. Jones would be an exhibition. They would fight 8 two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves and if there were a knockdown, the referee would not give a count and the bout would or would not continue at his discretion. The rounds would not be scored and no winner would be named.

Of course, the promoter chafed at these restraints and did his best to create the impression that this was a legitimate prizefight. Retired boxers Vinny Pazienza, Chad Dawson, and Christy Martin were lassoed to serve as judges, scoring the fight from a remote location, and the WBC commissioned an honorary belt to present to the winner.

The advance hype was enormous. A clickbait-obsessed media lapped it up including photoshop-enhanced images of Mike Tyson’s physique.

In the second round, Tyson landed a double left hook and that was the only indelible moment in the match. By the third round, both looked and sounded tired and by the sixth round Jones was thoroughly gassed out and took to clinching to make it to the final bell.

For the record, the scores were 79-73 for Tyson (Martin), 80-76 for Jones (Pazienza), and 76-76 (Dawson). On the internet, the clear consensus was that Tyson had the best of it.

Mike Tyson, 50-6, 2 NC (44 KOs) last fought in June of 2005 when he was stopped by third-rater Kevin McBride. Roy Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was active as recently as 2018 and won his last four, but against hand-picked opponents including a boxer making his pro debut. His last fight of significance came in 2011 when he was brutally KOed by Dennis Lebedev in Moscow.

Jones, who weighed 210 ½ tonight, weighed 157 when he made his pro debut in 1989. In his prime, he was pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but that was back in the previous century.

Both fighters were reportedly guaranteed $1 million with Tyson’s take potentially reaching $10 million if certain financial targets were met.

Other Bouts

YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who we reluctantly concede has more than a modicum of talent in the fisticuffing department, knocked out Nate Robinson in the second round and it was a clean knockout with Robinson knocked out cold. The 36-year-old Robinson, the former NBA point guard who was a three-time slam dunk champion during his 11-year NBA career, is a well-rounded athlete, good enough to start as a cornerback in football during his freshman year at the University of Washington, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the squared circle as he looked like a common bar brawler.

Former two-division belt-holder Badou Jack (22-3-4), who said he appeared on the card as a favor to his friend Mike Tyson, was a clear-cut winner over hard-trying but out-classed Blake McKernan in an 8-round cruiserweight match.

At age 37, Jack’s career is winding down. He tipped the scales at 188 ¾, 14 pounds more than in his previous engagement vs. Jean Pascal. McKernan, a natural cruiserweight from Sacramento, was undefeated coming in (13-0), but was in over his head against Jack, a former Olympian and veteran of seven world title fights.

In a good action fight, Worcester, Massachusetts lightweight Jamaine Ortiz, a carpenter by trade, improved to 14-0 (8) with a seventh-round stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1), a Maryland-based Ugandan.

In the first bout on the program, Fort Worth featherweight Edward Vazquez improved to 9-0 (1) with an 8-round split decision over Jamaine Ortiz stablemate Irvin Gonzalez (14-3).

Heavyweight Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano improved to 19-3 (17) with a sixth-round stoppage of late sub Gregory Corbin (15-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the 40-year-old Corbin who came in at a beefy 291 ¾ pounds.

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Fast Results from London: Joe Joyce Stops Daniel Dubois in the 10th

Arne K. Lang

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The historic Church House which sits in the shadow of Westminster Abbey was the site of tonight’s clash in London between unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce. The bout lacked the gloss of a world title fight, but didn’t need it. The oft-postponed match, originally slated for the 02 Arena in London on April 11 with promoter Frank Warren anticipating a sellout, was fairly hyped as the most anticipated fight since Fury-Wilder II which was the last big fight before the coronavirus clampdown.

Dubois, 15-0 with 14 KOs heading in, was a consensus 7/2 favorite in man-to-man betting, He was younger, faster and punched harder, but ultimately it would be his “O” that had to go. Joe Joyce, an inch taller at six-foot-six and 15 pounds heavier at 259, emerged victorious with a 10th-round stoppage in what was a good back-and-forth fight with a divided opinion as to who had the edge through the completed rounds.

Joyce really didn’t do much but throw a jab, but he landed that jab consistently and it was a hard, thudding jab that caused Dubois’s left eye to start swelling during the mid-rounds of the fight. The damaged eye eventually shut and when Joyce reached it with another hard jab in the 10th, Dubois surrendered by taking a knee. The presumption was that he had suffered a broken orbital bone.

The 35-year-old Joyce, nicknamed Juggernaut, is of Scotch-Irish and Nigerian descent. He lost by split decision to Tony Yoka in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics and had to settle for a silver medal. Prior to turning pro, he was 12-1 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. With today’s career-defining win, he upped his pro ledger to 12-0 (11).

Other Bouts

Top-rated WBC super lightweight contender Jack Catterall (26-0) won a predictably one-sided 10-round triumph over 33-year-old Tunisian Abderrazak Houya (14-3). Catterall scored two knockdowns en route to winning by a 99-90 score. This was a stay-busy fight for the Lancashire man who was the mandatory challenger for title-holder Jose Carlos Ramirez and accepted step-aside money with the promise that he would meet the winner of the unification fight between Ramirez and Josh Taylor which is expected to come off in February.

The lead-in fight was a 10-round contest in the super welterweight division between 21-year-old Hamzah Sheeraz and 33-year-old Guido Nicolas Pitto. The fight was monotonous until Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KOs) kicked it into a higher career in the final stanza and brought about the stoppage. Pitto, from Spain by way of Argentina, declined to 26-8-2. The official time was 1:11 of round 10.

In an 8-round cruiserweight bout, Jack Massey improved to 17-1 (8) with a 79-74 referee’s decision over Mohammad Ali Farid (16-2-1). Massey was making his first start since losing a close 12-round decision to Richard Raikporhe in December of 2019 for the vacant BBBofC title. The well-traveled, one-dimensional Farid had scored 16 knockouts in his previous 18 fights while answering the bell for only 33 rounds.

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Daniel Jacobs Edges Past Gabe Rosado on a Matchroom card in Florida

David A. Avila

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Former world champion Daniel Jacobs needed the last round to win by split decision against upset-minded Gabe Rosado and keep his place in line on Friday for lucrative super middleweight matchups.

But when the ring announcer erroneously announced the winner was from Philadelphia, confusion reigned for a moment until Jacobs was correctly called the winner.

Brooklyn’s Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) jumped out ahead against Philly fighter Rosado (25-13-1, 14 KOs) and held on for the win in front of no fans at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. For a second, many thought Rosado had won.

Both were careful during the first three rounds measuring each other’s distance and looking for openings to counter. There were very few.

It was the kind of fight expected by those who know boxing: two veterans with immense experience against top-flight world champions. Mistakes were few.

Jacobs, a former middleweight world champion, had fought Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in close but losing efforts.

Rosado had battled Golovkin too, six years ago in a bloody affair that ended in a loss. He had also lost to other champions like Peter Quillin and Jermell Charlo. But none were able to knock him out.

Both were aware of each other’s reputation. Bitter words had been exchanged for years and now they finally got their chance to prove their mettle and they did.

Though Jacobs was recognized as a knockout puncher, Rosado’s resilience was just as well known. Both neutralized each other for most of the fight with their feints and jabs to the body. Neither was willing to leave openings for each other.

Jacobs scored big with a left uppercut at the end of the seventh round. While Rosado wowed viewers with a sizzling right cross in the 11th round.

It was 1950s style, boxing with intelligence. Each found it difficult to land combinations, let alone find openings to score knockout blows. Instead, they had to be satisfied with scoring enough to convince three judges the actual winner.

Neither was able to pull out ahead with any conviction.

After 12 rounds one judge saw Rosado the winner 115-113 while two others saw Jacobs the winner 115-113 to give him the win by split decision.

“It felt just a little weird. It felt like a sparring match,” said Jacobs about fighting without fans in the audience. “This wasn’t a valiant effort.”

Rosado was certain he was the true winner.

“I thought I won the fight. I surprised him,” said Rosado who trained with Freddie Roach for this fight. “I’m a veteran, I know how to fight.”

Indeed, he does.

Jacobs now stands poised to fight one of many super middleweight champions in need of a marquee name.

“I live to see another day,” he said honestly.

Other Bouts

Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov (10-0, 6 KOs) proved he was not an easy touch and knocked out former world champion Julius Indongo (23-3, 12 KOs) to march forward in the welterweight division while grabbing the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title.

In a fight featuring southpaw versus southpaw Yeleussinov caught Indongo with a roundhouse left the first time they exchanged and down went the former super lightweight world champion. Indongo beat the count and survived the round.

Indongo wasn’t as lucky in the second round as Yeleussinov again connected with a left and down went the fighter from Namibia again. He would not get up at 1:24 of round two giving the knockout win for Yeleussinov.

A battle between undefeated heavyweights saw Azerbaijan’s Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0, 3 KOs) use roundhouse rights to stagger the heavier Sahret Delgado (8-1) to win by knockout in the third round. Majidov actually helped Delgado get to his stool after knocking him out on his feet at 47 seconds of the third round.

Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1) defeated Mason Menard (36-5) by majority decision after a 10- round lightweight fight that saw a lot of clinching and leaning.

Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy (10-0) out-fought Detroit’s Brandon Maddox (7-4-1) to win by unanimous decision after six rounds in a middleweight clash. Ababiy hurt Maddox with body shots but found Maddox more resilient than expected.

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