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

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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.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Tyson Fury Returns on Saturday with a Familiar Foe in the Opposite Corner

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“Tyson Fury made a name for himself last night, one that already has a ready-made ring about it and will be destined to become familiar in boxing.” Alan Hubbard, a ringside correspondent for The (London) Examiner wrote those words after Fury wrested the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles from Derek Chisora with a comprehensive 12-round decision on July 23, 2011.

Those words were prescient. Tyson Fury did go on to become a familiar name in the sport. Indeed, one could argue that at this moment in history no active boxer is more famous.

More than 11 full years have elapsed since Fury toppled Chisora. In the ensuing years, the Gypsy King outpointed Wladimir Klitschko in Germany to win the world heavyweight title, battled personal demons that sidelined him for two-and-half years, returned to the ring with a flourish, ultimately regaining the world heavyweight title, or at least a version of it, in the second chapter of his memorable trilogy with Deontay Wilder, and rising so high in the opinion of boxing enthusiasts that he would be favored over any other boxer on the planet.

Oh, and lest we forget, since defeating Chisora in 2011, Fury whipped Chisora again, stopping him after 10 one-sided frames in 2014. Fury’s eight-inch height advantage enabled him to control the distance vs. “Dell Boy” who was never knocked down but who absorbed a great deal of punishment before his chief second said, “no mas.”

A third meeting between Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) and the soon-to-be-39-year-old Chisora (33-12) would seem to be superfluous. Del Boy, coming off a narrow win over Kubrat Pulev, has lost three of his last four. But on Saturday, Dec. 3, they will go at it again. The venue is London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, capacity 62,850, and by all indications, despite a chill in the air (the temperature is expected to hover around 40 degrees), there won’t be too many empty seats.

For promoter Frank Warren, Fury vs Chisora is Plan B – he was hoping to match Fury against Anthony Joshua – but he believes that Fury has become so popular that he can make a tidy profit no matter who is in the opposite corner. The Gypsy King, once referenced as the enfant terrible of British boxing, has toned down his rhetoric (one might say that he proactively distanced himself from Kanye West) and become almost cuddly, a source of inspiration for many Brits, the first member of the black sheep Traveler community about whom this could ever be said.

Fury, needless to say, is a heavy favorite. The odds are in the 25/1 range. The co-feature is likewise looked upon as a mismatch. Daniel Dubois, who shares the diluted WBA heavyweight title with Oleksandr Usyk, is a consensus 16/1 favorite over Kevin Lerena (28-1, 19 KOs) who rides in on a 17-fight winning streak. The six-foot-one Lerena carried a career-high 234 pounds for his last assignment against ancient Mariusz Wach, but the South African southpaw has fought most of his career as a cruiserweight.

The undercard includes featherweight Isaac Lowe, Tyson Fury’s bosom buddy, and Hosea Burton, Fury’s cousin, both of whom appear to be matched soft in scheduled six-rounders, plus 18-year-old phenom Royston Barney Smith in a 4-rounder against a transplanted Nicaraguan.

This is a pay-per-view event in the UK, but U.S. fight fans who subscribe to ESPN+ can see it for free. The ring walks for the main event are expected to go about 4 pm ET.

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What Path will Yokasta Valle Choose Next?

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After the recent controversial ruling that made her a world champion in three different divisions, the fans of the Costa Rican Yokasta Valle are wondering: What path will the successful boxer choose next?

On Saturday, November 26th, in a fight of continuous exchanges with the then undefeated Argentine Evelyn Bermúdez (17-1-1, 6 KOs), “Yoka” Valle (27-2, 9 KOs) came out with her arm raised at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, where she won the IBF and WBO belts, which Bermúdez was defending for the seventh and second time, respectively.

Although the Costa Rican fighter (pictured on the right) went on the attack for practically the entire 10 rounds, the exchanges were even, give and take, with good moments for both fighters, which made it difficult to evaluate each round. Hence the discomfort of many fans, especially in the Bermúdez camp, with the card of judge Adalaide Byrd (99-91), which apparently had Bermúdez prevailing in only one round. Neither did Judge Daniel Sandoval’s card (97-93) represent what transpired in the ring, while Zachary Young’s score of 95-95 was more accurate, distributing five rounds for each combatant.

In the case of Byrd, she also received innumerable criticism in the first fight between Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, which was held in September 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and which ended with a favorable scorecard for each boxer and another of 114-114.

At that time, Byrd had judged more than 400 fights over a 20-year span, and her discordant scorecard of 118-110 reflected Canelo winning 10 rounds and GGG only two (the fourth and the seventh). Dave Moretti leaned towards Golovkin (115-113), while Don Trella (114-114) saw it even.

CHAMPION IN THREE CATEGORIES

Born in Matagalpa, Nicaragua on August 28, 1992 and living in Costa Rica since her childhood, Valle made her boxing debut at the age of 22 in the light flyweight category. In that first experience at the pro level, she defeated Mexican María Guadalupe Gómez by unanimous decision in four rounds, on July 26, 2014, in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Two years later, in her twelfth fight, she conquered the IBF title at 102 pounds by split decision against Ana Victoria Polo in San José, Costa Rica. In December 2017, Valle suffered her first professional failure against the local Naoko Fujioka, who won by unanimous decision at Korakuén Hall in Tokyo where they fought for the vacant WBO light flyweight belt.

Six months later, on June 16, 2018, Valle lost again by unanimous decision against German Christina Rupprecht (11-0-1, 3 KOs) in Munich, a duel that was for the WBO strawweight interim belt. Rupprecht maintains that belt and is again in Valle’s sights.

Following those two setbacks, “Yoka” Valle compiled 14 victories, including the one she obtained in Marbella against Spaniard Joana Pastrana in August 2019, which she won by split decision securing the IBF 105-pound belt.

More recently, on September 8th in Costa Rica, Valle became a two-division champion at 105 pounds, by unanimously prevailing (the three judges scored the fight 100-90) over Vietnamese Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen, who ceded the WBO title. And then with her success against Bermúdez last weekend, Valle made history in Costa Rican boxing by adding her third crown in three different divisions (102, 105 and 108 pounds).

WHERE WILL YOKASTA VALLE GO NEXT?

Valle, who now owns two light flyweight titles (IBF and WBO) could next go in search of unification with Mexican Jéssica Nery (WBA super champion) or with Canadian Kim Clavel, who holds the WBC title. (Clavel and Nery collide on Thursday in Laval, Quebec.)

However, a more viable option would be to return to 105 pounds and seek a fight with American Seniesa Estrada (23-0, 9 KOs), who maintains the WBA belt, or with Rupprecht, who remains unbeaten. That seemed to be Valle’s immediate objective, as she affirmed it in the ring after defeating Nguyen. In an indirect reference to Seniesa Estrada and Tina Rupprecht, Valle said “I want the belts. I’ve been saying it from the beginning, I want the WBC and WBA next, whoever has ’em.”

At Friday’s weigh-in for her fight with Bermúdez, Valle stated “I want to fight the best. I want to be undisputed. When Tina (Rupprecht) and Seniesa (Estrada) were not available, my team and I made the decision to move up in weight and challenge Evelyn for her world title belts. I have to fight. [MarvNation CEO] Marvin Rodriguez presented this fight to me. This is the type of fight I want. It is champion versus champion. I want to give the fans these types of fights.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kim Clavel caught the flu and pulled out on Wednesday just prior to the weigh-in. Her match with Jessica Nery was rescheduled for Jan. 13.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Hogan Photos

Article submitted by Jorge Juan Alvarez in Spanish

Please note any adjustments made for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.

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Regis Prograis Knocks Out José Zepeda and Clears the Way for José Ramírez

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American Regis Prograis had to wait three years and a month for the opportunity to hold a world crown once again. On Saturday, November 26, at the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson, California, Prograis faced José Zepeda for the vacant WBC junior welterweight belt. Prograis was victorious by applying chloroform to Zepeda in the eleventh round.

Previously, on October 26, 2019, Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) had lost the WBA junior welterweight belt by majority decision to Scotsman Josh Taylor at the 02 Arena in England.

Since then, the thirty-three-year-old Prograis who is based in Houston, Texas has obtained four wins (including vs Zepeda), all before the limit, as proof of the devilish power of his powerful fists, especially the left one.

Prior to the duel with Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs), most experts favored Prograis, who after winning the intense battle, recognized that it was the most demanding fight of his career. “That dude is tough, tough, tough. He came to fight, he probably gave me one of my hardest fights, I’m not even gonna lie,” said Prograis. “This dude is tough, bro. I’ve got so much respect for you. You prepared me to get this belt and hold this belt. I congratulate you. All the best to you, bro. Don’t stop, I feel like you can still be a world champion.”

Almost from the very beginning of the fight, Prograis showed greater speed with his hands and legs, and a general sense of technical superiority over Zepeda, who in the second round opened up a wound above his left eye with a legal blow.

From then on, Prograis’s strong impacts gradually undermined Zepeda’s resistance. Zepeda arrived totally exhausted in the eleventh round, where he received a straight left to the face, putting him in poor condition. A run with both fists from Prograis knocked him down and referee Ray Corona called the match with 59 seconds remaining in the round. This is the first setback that Zepeda has suffered by knockout in professional boxing.

On several occasions, Prograis has stated that he wants revenge against the undefeated Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs), but now, by order of the WBC, he must face American José Carlos Ramírez (27-1, 17 KOs).

Ramírez, 30 years old, is currently ranked second by the WBC. In February of 2019, in his second defense of his 140-pound belt, he defeated Zepeda by majority decision.

Twenty-five months later, Ramírez succumbed by unanimous decision to Taylor at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, enabling the Scotsman to become the undisputed king of the category by winning the four most prestigious belts (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF).

Recently, Ramírez expressed an interest in dueling with the main 140-pound contenders, including a second fight with Zepeda; although he did not rule out clashing with Prograis or Taylor. “Every fighter has the same amount of risk,” said Ramirez. “We’re a little under-promoted compared to other weight classes but I think that the best fights are at 140. You see guys fighting twice or three times, doing a trilogy. Honestly, I would love to face Regis, because I’ve never faced him. I would love to make the rematch with Zepeda, because he’s such a good fighter. Obviously I want Josh Taylor, man. I want Josh Taylor bad.”

Photo credit: Al Applerose

Article submitted by Jorge Juan Alvarez in Spanish.

Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.

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