Becoming a Bubble: Chavez Jr vs Golovkin
Aside from Canelo Alvarez and Juan Manuel Marquez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is the top Mexican attraction in boxing today. And how could he not be? He bears the same name as his father, the legendary Mexican champion Julio Cesar Chavez who won six world champions in three weight classes. He made a record 27 world title defenses and won 31 of 37 title fights in his career. As ESPN’s #24 greatest boxer of All-Time, the elder Chavez is widely considered as the greatest fighter from Mexico.
Julio Jr. and his brother Omar, were popular little kids when their father was still a world boxing champion. The elder Chavez would carry one them on his shoulders and take them to the ring during his fights. So when Julio decided to be a boxer, Mexico instantly connected with him and adored him like his father. And although he doesn’t have the technical skills of his father, Julio Jr. is as tough as any Mexican fighter out there.
His toughness is complimented by a granite chin that enables to him to take a lot of punishment while he launches his relentless and vicious body punches. Another advantage of Julio Jr is his size, and at 6’1″ with a walking weight of around 180 lbs, he is a very big guy in the 160 lbs weight class. He uses that size to walk though punches and force his opponents to the ropes and send them at the mercy of his body punching.
But while Chavez Jr is a special specimen, he is not without weaknesses. He has had troubles making weight and is noted for not training hard for bouts. He was even suspended for nine months and fined $900,000 for failing a drug test after the first loss of his career to Sergio Martinez. Chavez pointed to personal problems and stress as the reasons why he got into marijuana. These weaknesses have prevented Julio Jr. from blossoming into a full-fledged star. But despite his weaknesses, Mexico always welcomed back its prodigal son.
He came out flat after the suspension and won a controversial decision over American Brian Vera. Again, he struggled to make weight for the fight. After the final bell, Julio’s face was swollen and his nose was bleeding. Vera looked unscathed and seemed to have pulled off a monumental upset. But the judges gifted the young Chavez with the victory. They fought a second time last March 1, and this time Chavez showed his true worth. He used his reach to pepper Vera with laser jabs and punished him with powerful punches. Junior was back and so was the hype.
The Antithesis of Mayweather
Gennady Golovkin was born in Kazakhstan to a Russian father and a Korean mother. He had two brothers who joined the Russian army and both of them died in action. The young Gennady used those tragedies to inspire him in boxing. He won the middleweight division title in the World Championship of Boxing in 2003 and earned a silver medal during the 2004 Athens Olympics. Golovkin finished his amateur career with an incredible 345-5 record.
When Golovkin turned pro, he signed with K2 Promotions and began training at Big Bear, California under Abel Sanchez. Sanchez was noted for his work with the legendary Terry Norris. It was there where Golovkin transformed into a hybrid boxer. Sanchez combined the aggressive Mexican style of fighting with Golovkin’s Russian discipline. And together with Gennady’s work ethic and unbelievable punching power, he started gaining a reputation of being a destroyer, much like Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao during their heydays.
Golovkin is the antithesis of Floyd Mayweather Jr. He fights like a freak and doesn’t care about risking his record against anybody, as long as it is inside the ring. Golovkin doesn’t even look for big money bouts, he just crushes and demolishes the opponent that is put in front of him.
In December 2010, Golovkin wrested the WBA interim middleweight title by knocking out Milton Nunez in the first round. Since then, he has made 10 successful title defenses and has annexed the IBO belt in the process. All those wins were by knockout or technical knockout.
And so while the destruction tales of Golovkin have spread like fire, he has not yet faced a big name that would cement his status as a legitimate superstar in boxing. That’s where Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. comes in. Golovkin accepted the challenge to move up to super middleweight (168 lbs) in order to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. But it seems that the dream match is about to lose steam. The fight was originally scheduled for July 19 but the negotiations have been stalled by the contract extension of Chavez.
While Golovkin has already signed the contract for the bout, Chavez has not because he was required by his promoter, Bob Arum to sign an extension of his contract along with the documents for the Golovkin bout. Chavez has repeatedly said that he is willing to take the Golovkin bout, but that he wants to be a free agent once his contract with Top Rank expires.
Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 says that he’s leaving the door open for Chavez, but he is not willing to put his fighter’s future on hold just to wait for Julio. The Golovkin camp does not want to miss a July bout, and they hinted that they may make a title defense at 160 lbs to keep Gennady Golovkin busy and in shape.
The next potential opponent for Golovkin would be WBO middleweight king Peter Quillin, but he is with Golden Boy and Golovkin is HBO’s crown jewel. We all know that HBO doesn’t do business with Golden Boy, so that could be a difficult fight to make. AS for Chavez, he is standing firm on his decision not to sign the contract extension, and he may be willing to take July off just to drive home his point.
It would be a pity if we don’t see a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs Gennady Golovkin bout because of a contract extension that Junior doesn’t want to sign. This matchup has the potential to be one of the best in 2014. Both men at the top of their games and are in their peak. Both have the tendency to fight with reckless abandon, and that’s the kind of fighters that fans pay to watch.
The business part of boxing has denied us of some potentially great match ups. Let’s hope that Arum and Todd Du Boef will get their act together and give us this explosive matchup of two big bangers.
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