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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.

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Another Victory for Ukraine as Berinchyk Upsets Navarrete in San Diego

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Whether it was inspiration or perspiration, Ukraine’s Denys Berinchyk motored past Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete by split decision to become the WBO lightweight world titlist on Saturday.

Just hours after his fellow countryman Oleksandr Usyk became undisputed heavyweight world champion, Berinchyk joined the club.

“This is a great night for all people of Ukraine,” Berinchyk said.

The undefeated Ukrainian Berinchyk (19-0, 9 KOs) gutted out a win over Navarrete (38-2-1, 31 KOs) who was attempting to join Mexico’s four-division world champion club in San Diego. The lanky fighter known as “Vaquero” fell a little short.

Through all 12 rounds neither fighter was able to dominate and neither was able to score a knockdown. Just when it seemed one fighter gathered enough momentum, the other fighter would rally.

A butt caused a slight cut on Navarrete in the 10th round. That seemed to ignite anger from the Mexican fighter and he powered through the Ukrainian fighter the next two rounds.

In the final round Berinchyk bore down and slugged it out with the Mexican fighter as both relied on their weapons of choice. For most of the night Navarrete scored with long-range uppercuts and Berinchyk scored with overhand rights.

After 12 rounds two judges scored it 115-113, 116-112 for Berinchyk and one 116-112 for Navarrete. Ukraine gained its third world titlist in one a week. Berinchyk joins Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko as world titlists.

“He’s a very tough guy,” said Berinchyk of Navarrete.

Welterweights

A battle between undefeated welterweights saw Brian Norman (26-0, 20 KOs) knock out Giovany Santillan (32-1, 17 KOs) in the 10th round to become the interim WBO titlist.

For nine rounds both welterweights engaged in brutal inside warfare as each tried to beat the sense out of each other.

Norman worked the body early as Santillan targeted the head. Neither fought more than two inches from each other.

The younger Norman, 23, connected with a right cross during an exchange that wobbled Santillan in the eighth round. From that point on the Georgia fighter began setting up for his power shots. Finally, in the 10th round, uppercuts dropped Santillan twice. In the second knockdown Santillan went down hard as referee Ray Corona stopped the fight immediately at 1:33 of the 10th round.

Other Bouts

Heavyweight Richard Torrez (10-0, 10 KOs) knocked out Brandon Moore (14-1) in the fifth round for a regional title.

Lightweight Alan Garcia (10-0) defeated Wilfredo Flores (10-3-1) by decision after eight.

Photo credit: German Villasenor

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UNDISPUTED ! – Usyk Defeats Fury ! – Plus Undercard Results from Riyadh

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The most ballyhooed fight of the young century played out today at Riyadh Arena in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where Ukraine’s amazing Oleksandr Usyk became an undisputed world champion in a second weight class with a split decision over WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

This was a memorable fight with twists and turns. Usyk had some good moments early, but the middle rounds belonged to the Gypsy King. Heading into the second half of the bout, the old saying that a good big man will always beat a good little man, appeared to be holding up once again. Fury was having good success working the body as his trainer SugarHill Steward exhorted him to do, and when he went upstairs, he rattled Usyk, notably in round five when a big uppercut appeared to lift the Ukrainian off his feet. But Usyk finished round seven strong, a prelude of what was to come.

Usyk plainly won round eight and in round nine, he came within a whisper of ending it. A flurry of punches sent Fury reeling. He crashed into the ring ropes which dictated a standing-8 count from referee Mark Nelson. If Nelson had waited a few more seconds, he would have likely waved the fight off as Fury was on queer street. But this dramatic turnaround came late in the round and the Gypsy King was saved by the bell.

Among other things, Tyson Fury is known for his amazing powers of recuperation. He not only stayed the course, but appeared to win the final round. But in the end, Oleksandr Usyk, now 22-0 (14) saddled Fury (34-1-1) with his first defeat. Two of the judges favored him (115-112, 114-113) with the dissenter scoring it for Fury 114-113.

A draw wouldn’t have caused much of a stink and now they will do it again. The sequel is tentatively scheduled for October. Both are getting a little long in the tooth – Usyk is 37 and Fury is 35 – so we will be surprised if the rematch lives up to the hype.

Semi-wind-up

The first encounter between Jai Opetaia and Mairis Briedis was a grueling fight. Opetaia, an Australian Olympian at age 16, won the battle (a fair decision) but yet took the worst of it. Early in that bout, he had his jaw fractured in two places and for the next two months was forced to eat out of a straw.

The rematch tonight in Riyadh was a monotonous fight through the first nine rounds. Briedis, now 39 years old and inactive since their first meeting, looked old and rusty. But the fight heated up in round 10 and the championship rounds belonged to the Latvian.

It came too little, too late, however, as Briedis needed a knockout to win. At the conclusion, the judges favored the Aussie by scores of 117-111 and 116-112 twice.

Opetaia, 28, improved to 25-0 (19).  Briedis, who has defeated everyone that he has fought with the exceptions of Opetaia and Oleksandr Usyk (and the Usyk fight was close) falls to 28-3.

The first fight between Opetaia and Briedis was for the IBF cruiserweight title. Tonight’s match is for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title (don’t ask).

Cordina-Cacace

In a major upset, Belfast’s Anthony Cacace, a 12-year pro, captured the IBF 130-pound world title with a seventh-round stoppage of previously undefeated Joe Cordina who went to post a consensus 7/1 favorite. The end came 39 seconds into round seven with Cacace pummeling Cordina against the ropes.

The Irishman was the busier fighter and landed the harder punches, but the bout was not without controversy. In the third frame, Cacace stunned Cordina with a punch that landed after the referee ordered the fighters to break. That put Cordina on the defensive and before the round was over, Cacace put him on the canvas with a wicked uppercut and Cordina, badly hurt, barely survived the round. Cacace (22-1, 8 KOs) had a big sixth round and closed the show in the next stanza.

Cordina, a 2016 Olympian who was undefeated in 17 pro fights heading in, is a close friend and frequent workout partner of Lauren Price who captured the WBC female welterweight title last week. She now stands alone as the only current world champion from Wales.

Kabayel-Sanchez

In a mild upset, Agit Kabayel continued his late career surge with a seventh-round KO of previously undefeated Frank Sanchez. As was the case in his last fight when he upset Arslanbek Makhmudov, Kabayel (25-0, 17 KOs) finished his opponent with body punches. A left-right combination knocked Sanchez to his knees and then, after Sanchez got to his feet, a straight right to the belly sent him down again and he wasn’t able to beat the count.

Sanchez, who was 24-0 heading in, entered the bout with a brace over his right knee that compromised his mobility. Kabayel, the aggressor throughout, was comfortably ahead at the time of the stoppage. The official time was 2:23 of round seven.

Kovalev-Safar

In a dull 10-rounder, unsung Robin Safar, a Swedish-born fighter of Kurdish descent, may have written the finish for the career of Sergey Kovalev. At age 41 in his second fight as a cruiserweight and coming off a two-year layoff, the “Krusher” was a pale imitation of the fighter that won nine straight light heavyweight title fights before losing a controversial decision to Andre Ward in their first encounter.

Safar, who improved to 17-0 (12) punctuated his triumph by knocking down Kovalev (35-5-1) with a big right hand inside the final 10 seconds of the final round. The judges had it 99-90, 97-92, and 95-94.

Two early fights ended in early knockouts.

Moses Itauma, a 19-year-old, six-foot-six southpaw who was raised in London by a Nigerian father and a Slovakian mother, stopped Ilya Mezercev at the 50-second mark of the second round. Mezercev made it to his feet after being decked with a big right hook, but his legs were jelly and the fight was waved off.

Trained by Ben Davison, Itauma (9-0, 7 KOs) has been hailed as the next Anthony Joshua. As an amateur, he was reportedly 24-0. Mezercev, a Germany-based Kazkh, declined to 25-9.

British lightweight Mark “Thunder” Chamberlain (16-0, 12 KOs) looked sensational while blasting out Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab in the opening stanza. Chamberlain had Wahab (23-2) on the deck twice before the bout was waived off at the 2:42 mark.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 284: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Much More

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 284: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Much More

Argue all you want about the appeal of other sports, only boxing grabs fans on all levels and stratum.

It’s the oldest sport that has an international swag that only the World Cup can rival once every four years. Boxing has it every year.

Heavyweights take the forefront in Saudi Arabia while lightweights battle in Southern California. It’s an all-day affair pitting champions from all parts of the world.

Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs), the WBC and lineal heavyweight champion, finally meets Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 15 KOs) who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday, May 18, at Riyadh. DAZN ppv, ESPN ppv, and PPV.Com will stream the massive fight card at 9 a.m. PT/ 12 p.m. ET.

It’s a rare opportunity to decide who truly is the “baddest man on the planet.” Ever since the emergence of the alphabet titles, few know the name of the heavyweight champion. Not since Mike Tyson ruled the prize ring could fans tell you the name of the champ.

Some people still think Tyson is the heavyweight champ.

Now we have England’s “Gypsy King” Fury ready to prove that he indeed is the biggest and baddest of all the heavyweights in the world. He’s got his dad head-butting people to prove it.

“I predict that somebody’s ‘0’ has got to go. And it’s going to be that team over there, unfortunately for them,” said Tyson Fury who at six-feet, nine-inches tall towers over most opponents.

Facing Fury is Usyk, the Ukrainian fighter who twice defeated Anthony Joshua for several versions of the heavyweight championship.

Though several inches shorter and much lighter in weight, Usyk has displayed mobility and agility that allows him to dart in and out of danger. Will this tactic work against Fury?

“I have a plan. It’s a better plan. And it’s a great plan,” said Usyk. “I will have the opportunity to become undisputed for a second time.”

Of course, size doesn’t always matter when it comes to heavyweights. History has taught us the bigger man doesn’t always win. From Jack Dempsey whipping Jess Willard to Joe Frazier beating Buster Mathis, size doesn’t dictate the winner when it comes to heavyweights.

Top Rank’s Bob Arum summed up the importance of this heavyweight clash.

“After this fight, there is one ‘Baddest Man on the Planet,’ the undisputed heavyweight champion. That means everything in the sport of boxing. That means everything for fans who love boxing,” said Arum.

Two other world titles fights are also planned.

IBF super featherweight titlist Joe Cordina (17-0, 9 KOs) defends against Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs).

Cordina was seen in Santa Monica, California sparring various super featherweights in preparation for this match. His last match against Texan Edwin Vazquez was a squeaker but you can never tell what the Welsh fighter will do.

Who can forget his two-round demolition of Japan’s Kenichi Ogawa?

Cruiserweights also battle. IBF titlist Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) of Australia defends against Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs). This is a rematch. They fought two years ago with Opetaia winning by decision in Australia. Can Opetaia do it again in neutral territory?

PPV.Com

Headlining the PPV.COM announcing crew for the Fury-Usyk card will be Dan Canobbio, Chris Algieri and Kevin Iole. They will be commentating and also discussing the fight via text on social media.

It’s been almost a year since this this style of reporting was adopted. Fans like the opportunity to discuss the fight with the experts.

San Diego Fights

Three-division world champion Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) attempts to become a four-division world champion when he meets Ukraine’s Denys Berinchyk (18-0, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBO lightweight title on Saturday, May 18, at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif. ESPN will televise.

The Mexican fighter known as “El Vaquero” seeks to become the sixth Mexican fighter with four division world titles and join the prestigious elite. Among those accomplishing the feat are Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Jorge Arce and Leo Santa Cruz.

Navarrete barely survived his last fight with a majority draw against Robson Conceicao last November in Las Vegas. Perhaps the extra five pounds will help?

On the co-main event welterweight contender Giovani Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) of San Diego returns home to face Georgia’s Brian Norman (25-0, 19 KOs) for the interim WBO welterweight title.

Santillan, 32, is coming off a big knockout win over Alexis Rocha last year. The southpaw has always stepped up when bigger and better competition confronts him. Can he do it again?

Norman, 23, is a hard-hitting welterweight who fought 16 times in his first two years. Many of those fights took place in Mexico. It’s a big test for him.

East L.A. Fights

Super featherweights Dariial Kuchmenov (7-0) and Daniel Lugo (5-2) meet Saturday May 18, at Salesian High School in East Los Angeles. The Elite Boxing USA promotions card begins at 6 p.m. The card features several other bouts including female fighter Mayra Ruiz.

For tickets go to www.tix.com/ticket-sales/eliteboxing/7

18th & Grand Exhibit

The final day to visit the “18th & Grand” exhibit takes place on Sunday May 19, at La Plaza De Cultura Y Artes located at 501 N. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles 90012. The exhibit is free.

Inside you will find photos and art of the Olympic Auditorium that was the center of boxing, wrestling, roller derby, and rock concerts for decades.

For boxing fans, its where the sport showcased the likes of Henry Armstrong, Baby Arizmendi, Art Aragon, Jerry Quarry, Mando Ramos, Scrap Iron Johnson, Art Hafey, and many others.

The exhibit is free of charge.

Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson

Tickets went on sale this week for the return of Iron Mike Tyson who will face Jake Paul in a heavyweight match commissioned as an actual fight.

Most Valuable Promotions will stage Tyson versus Paul along with the rematch between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano on July 20, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Netflix will stream the card live.

A number of other bouts are planned for the mega event.

Paul’s first actual boxing match took place when Tyson fought Roy Jones Jr. in Los Angeles several years ago.

“I started Jake off and I’m gonna finish him,” promised Tyson when they fight.

Paul said he respects Tyson like family.

“I love you like a father loves his son, but I must discipline you. You’re going down, man,” said Paul.

Fights to Watch

Sat. PPV.COM 9 a.m. Tyson Fury (34-0-1) vs Oleksandr Usyk (21-0).

Sat. ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1) vs Denys Berinchyk (18-0).

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