For weeks Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and his father were calling out Oscar De La Hoya for a fight as if they deserved it.
First, you got to beat Matt Vanda.
Chavez (37-0-1, 29 KOs) and his father will step in the ring for a rematch against Vanda (39-7, 22 KOs) after their first bout ended in a draw three months ago. On Saturday Nov.1, the world will see if Chavez dare even mention De La Hoya’s name on the pay-per-view card that also features IBF flyweight champion Nonito Donaire and former champion Jorge “El Travieso” Arce.
You can’t just call out De La Hoya because you’re undefeated, especially after only being fed fighters out of the Midwest who are not accustomed to high level pro boxing.
Chavez had been fighting people out of the Bible belt who had good records built on subpar opposition. They tried matching him against a California fighter who was deemed on a downward plummet and found they were mistaken, as Jose Celaya gave the son of the Mexican great a boxing lesson until he suddenly folded with an injury.
An Italian boxer was brought in to restore faith in Chavez and then they returned to the Midwest to find another opponent. Vanda was chosen based on his seven losses but it turns out he could still handle himself in the ring.
After 10 rounds of back and forth action in a boxing ring in the middle of Mexico, Chavez was judged the winner by split decision in Hermosillo. Everything was somewhat cool until one of the Mexican judges had his scorecard read and he failed to give Vanda a single round.
A small riot ensued with bottles and other items flying like missiles in the ring. Even poppa Chavez was pummeled by irate Mexican fans who don’t mind one of their own winning, but outright cheating leaves a distaste in their mouths they will not tolerate.
“The fans knew who won the fight,” said Vanda (39-7, 22 KOs), who out-fought Chavez with inside fighting in several rounds. “Maybe I didn’t beat him, but it was at the worst a draw.”
This is a very touchy operation, leading Chavez into the promise land of riches and glory. For half a decade the son of Mexico’s most revered living legend has been handled like a Leonardo Da Vinci painting, only it’s really a mock up of the original.
Sure Chavez has some talent, but there are holes in his game that the elite fighters will surely expose at some point.
Vanda, though not an elite fighter, is an old pro at 30 who has been in the ring against the tough guys in the welterweight and middleweight levels. Armando Velardez, Yory Boy Campas, and Andy Kolle are some of those he battled against.
Chavez hasn’t fought anybody on that level except Celaya and he was lucky the Northern Californian couldn’t continue.
It’s the fork of the road for Chavez. No more wrong turns on this Monopoly board.
Chavez vows to win big.
“Matt Vanda is a good fighter with a lot of experience,” said Chavez, 22, whose only blemish was a draw against Carlos Molina three years ago. “In reality that fight was close. But I did win.”
Though Chavez has won 29 bouts by knockout, he expects the fight to last 10 rounds.
“This fight is going to be hard,” said Chavez who disliked hearing boos from Mexican fans. “I’m coming to this rematch to remove those doubts about my ability.”
Doubts will be over if he can knock out Vanda. Anything else and the pay-per-views will probably dry up for Chavez.
And all that calling out De La Hoya…you can forget that.
Donaire defends his IBF flyweight title against South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane (22-1, 15 KOs) on Saturday. It’s the fast-rising Filipino star’s second world title defense.
The electrifying Donaire had been flying under the radar of his fellow countryman Manny Pacquiao’s popularity until a single punch burst that cloud. A right hook knockout over Australia’s Vic Darchinyan shot Donaire to instant fame.
That’s what a vicious knockout win can do for a prizefighter.
“Just everything just went up and skyrocketed,” said Donaire (19-1, 12 KOs) about his status in the boxing world. “I know that I can take on anybody now in my weight class.”
Just like Pacquiao, the flyweight champion Donaire has left-handed speed and power that helps him blitz by opponents by points or end fights suddenly by knockout. Sometimes opponents can’t believe the fight is over.
When Donaire knocked out Darchinyan last year to grab the title, the former Aussie titleholder couldn’t believe he had been floored and rendered unconscious. He also still believes he was winning the fight.
Donaire simply shrugs off Darchinyan’s self-denial.
“Vic just can’t accept it,” said Donaire, who has defended his IBF title once by knockout win. “I took everything away from him that night. Everything.”
Until Donaire knocked out Darchinyan, the Aussie boxer was one of the most feared fighters in the world. Then Donaire showed that his speed, agility and two-handed power was equal or better than any other fighter in his weight class.
However, though his own status has been propelled upward, he pays homage to Pacquiao for opening the doors for all Filipino prizefighters.
“He (Pacquiao) was the key to opening the door. He’s done everything for all the Filipino fighters and we can thank him for everything,” said Donaire, who hails from the same hometown, General Santos, in the Philippines. “We just bow our head. We’re just thankful for him being there.”
Though many lucrative and interesting matches are available for Donaire in the future, he realizes his title defense against Mthalane is extremely important for his future.
“I’m going into the ring as hungry as I came into the ring against Darchinyan,” said Donaire about his defense with Mthalane. “He can take a punch. He dish out a lot of punches too.”
A win by Donaire could set up a match with Mexico’s popular Arce.
Arce, a former two-time junior flyweight world champion, is matched against another former flyweight world champion Isidro “Chino” Garcia. Arce is from Los Mochis, Mexico and Garcia from Guerrero, Mexico.
It should be an interesting match. Arce (50-4-1, 38 KOs) is a puncher who prefers to attack and Garcia (25-5-2, 8 KOs) is a boxer who prefers to slip and punch.
Several years ago Arce was a contestant on a Mexican television reality show and surprised people with his likeability and comedic flair. He formerly held the WBO and WBC junior flyweight titles.
Garcia is famous for winning the WBO flyweight title at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio when he was eating a donut as a spectator and asked to fill in for a world title bout hours before the actual fight. He won the title and defended it once in 2000.
Former 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (21-0, 13 KOs) continues to streak toward the top of the junior middleweight contender list and engages in a 10 round bout with Charles Howe (17-4-2, 9 KOs).
Martirosyan, a Glendale, California resident, now trains in Houston with Ronnie Shields. He’s quickly transforming from a safety-first boxer to an aggressive boxer-puncher utilizing speed and power.
The popular Armenian fighter is just about ready for a title shot should he beat Howe.
In a junior welterweight bout, Lamont Peterson (25-0, 12 KOs) faces Houston’s Lanardo Tyner (19-1, 11 KOs) in a 10 round bout. Peterson is a Winky Wright-type of fighter who counters behind his peek-a-boo defense.
The fights will be televised on pay-per-view.