LAS VEGAS-The favorite son of Mexico, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., proved against Minnesota’s Matt Vanda that their first encounter was a fluke and also kept his place in line as a possible future opponent of Oscar De La Hoya.
Is it to avenge his father’s two losses to the Golden Boy?
“No, it's to make more money,” said Chavez Jr, still jubilant after his victory Saturday evening.
Chavez Jr. had beaten Vanda (38-8, 21 KOs) several months earlier in a close encounter, but because of the tainted win due to one Mexican judge’s horrible scorecard, the son of Mexico’s great champion hit the training camp and wiped away the sour taste of the first fight before more than 5,000 people at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
“I showed that what happened in Hermosillo was an aberration,” said Chavez (38-0-1, 29 KOs), who was flanked by his father and brother after the fight. “I was in better condition and physically stronger in this fight.”
Chavez, 22, sprinted ahead in the first three rounds with his usual volume punches to the body while Vanda seemed by design to be looking to tire out the popular Mexican fighter. But it wasn’t going to happen in this fight.
“He outworked me,” said Vanda, 30. “He deserves the win.”
Vanda mounted a rally in the middle rounds with some lead right hands and body punches of his own, but Chavez found his second wind and began attacking the body and head with four-punch combinations. Vanda retaliated but only with one or two punches.
“We fought when I wanted to fight,” said Chavez. “I dictated the pace of the fight.”
Vanda was willing throughout the fight to prove that Chavez’s power could not put him away. But the body shots and four and five-punch combinations did their job in impressing both the crowd and the three judges who all ruled Chavez the winner, 99-91, 97-93, 98-92.
This time there was no doubt and there were no flying bottles by the mostly pro-Mexican crowd eager to cheer on their hero’s son.
Eager to prove that he had his father’s guts, Chavez poured on the punches in the final round and found an eager partner in Vanda with a rousing 10th round that brought the crowds to a fever pitch.
“I know one thing, I entertained the crowd,” said Vanda, who was never in serious danger of being stopped but simply could not match Chavez’s number of blows.
A beaming Chavez looked around and raised a fist to the crowd.
Now the fighter they call “Chavo” has a slim chance of being considered by De La Hoya as his next choice following the Dec. 6 showdown with Manny Pacquiao.
“We’re communicating with De La Hoya’s team about a possible fight,” said Chavez Jr. “Maybe we can set something up.”
In the semi-main event, IBF flyweight world titleholder Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire injured his hand in the first round and found the going rough against South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane (22-2, 15 KOs).
“I hurt my finger on my right hand in the first round,” said Donaire (20-1, 13 KOs), who trained in Las Vegas for this fight.
It was Donaire’s second world title defense and for five rounds he had to weather the onrushing pressure tactics of Mthalane before a severe cut over the challenger’s eye from a slicing right hand forced the referee to halt the fight at 1:31 of the sixth round.
“He complained that he couldn’t see,” said Donaire, who pointed out the cut to the referee who immediately halted the fight and brought the ringside physician who advised that referee Joe Cortez stop the fight. “He was a real tough guy.”
Donaire displayed his blend of speed and power immediately but it was obvious after the first round that he was not the same fighter in the following rounds. The slick boxer often switched to southpaw to offset the injured right.
“I was switching because my hand hurt,” said Donaire, who was ahead on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped 49-46 twice and 48-47.
Popular Jorge “Travieso” Arce (51-4-1, 39 KOs) stopped fellow Mexican Isidro “Chino” Garcia (25-6-2) at 48 seconds of the fourth round in a junior bantamweight bout. It was a battle of former world champions but Arce of Los Mochis found Garcia’s weak spot with a left hook to the liver and was able to pull out a victory against the defensive-minded Garcia of Tasco.
Lamont “Havoc” Peterson (26-0, 12 KOs) out-worked Detroit’s Lanardo Tyler (19-2, 11 KOs) in a 10 round battle for the NABF junior welterweight title. Instead of Havoc, they ought to call Peterson Chain Gun because he never stops with the punches and bores through defenses with volume. The judges ruled unanimously for Peterson 98-91, 99-87, 99-90. The Washington D.C. fighter has eliminated the holding he used to employ a few fights ago and never stops punching.
Russia’s Matt Korobov (1-0), fresh off the Olympics in China, scored a third round technical knockout with a pretty right hook on Mario Evangelista’s (1-2-1) chin. The Mexican fighter was held up by the ropes and when he refused to step forward after the 10-count referee Russell Mora stopped the middleweight fight at 2:01 of the round.
Former U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (22-0, 14 KOs) didn’t waste time and landed a right hand, left hook combo that dropped Ohio’s Charlie Howe 30 seconds into the fight. Howe beat the count but was bum rushed by the Armenian-American fighter, who pummeled him until referee Toby Gibson stopped the fight for good at 1:20 of the first round.
Ty Barnett (16-0-1, 11 KOs) of Washington D.C. pulled out a majority decision over South Carolina’s game Johnny Edwards (14-3-1, 8 KOs) in a six round lightweight bout. Barnett was wobbled in the third round but mounted a counter attack in the last three rounds and nearly knocked down Morton. Judge Lisa Giampa scored it 57-57 with Al Lefkowitz tabbing it 59-54 and C.J. Ross 59-55 for Barnett.
Middleweight Mark Tucker (6-0, 5 KOs) of Maryland took a six round unanimous decision over Arkansas’s Terrence Wilson (5-4). The judges scored it 60-54 for Tucker who sports a Chuck Liddell-like Mohawk haircut.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV