He isnt exactly a chip off the old block, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, but he showed that hes no mere punchline, looking to trade on his dads legacy. No, his hook isnt as lethal, his footwork isnt anything like dads, his relentlessness pales in comparison to dads. But Junior showed that theres a lot to like as he whacked John Duddy around for 12 rounds in the Latin Fury 15-Top Rank PPV main event at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday Night and made his pop smile proudly as scores of 120-108, 116-112, and 117-111, reached his ears.
Will Junior ever win six titles in three weight divisions? Heck no; he might not win one. But hes no bum, no cynic looking to just trade off his fathers legend. Duddy will tell you that; he ate piles of left hooks to the body, and right hands, from minute one. TSS scored it 10 rounds to 2 for the son of JC.
Junior (age 24; ) weighed 160 pounds, while Duddy (age 31; from Derry, Ireland; 29-1 with 18 KOs coming in) was 159 pounds. Duddy was not accustomed to hearing boos which rained down on him as he strode to the ring. He didnt look too put off as U2 blared on the PA, though. Junior was brought to the ring by his pop, who wore a tux and red Chavez Jr headband.
In the first, the now-Freddie Roach trained Junior looked a tad surprised at Duddys hand speed. He perked up with a counter right, then ate a right himself. But Juniors right hand was on point early. Duddy, trained by Harry Keitt after stints with Keitt, then Don Turner and then Patrick Burns, came forward, straight on, mostly behind a jab.
In the second, Duddy tried to close the gap more. He had a solid round, and acted the aggressor. No, he didnt move his head after throwing, and left himself open to counters, but thats part of his charm.
In the third, we saw more in-fighting. Duddy can and did score with his left hook, but the power on that thing isnt scary. Junior wasnt overawed by this big stage, and he had the power edge in the round.
In the fourth, Junior disobeyed Freddie, and rumbled on the ropes. In center ring, Junior stung Duddy, more flush than before. His mixture of inside and outside work was impressive. Youre giving it away, trainer Keitt said to Duddy after. John, you want this? It felt like a game changer round, and I think Keitt saw that too.
In the fifth, Duddy came out with a bee in his bonnet. But he still had the same defensive skills…Not much he could do, short of dancing more nimbly, about the left hooks clanging off his torso. Duddys eyes were both a bit swollen, we saw post-round. Youve taken his best, John, Keitt said encouragingly. Some blood dripped from Duddys nose.
In the sixth, Duddy landed a solid bomb. The shot was a counter right, and Junior had to shake it off, quick. The round was probably the Irishmans. But Chavez landed a sweet uppercut.
In the seventh, we saw that Junior didnt get enough time with Freddie. He stood in front of Duddy, and traded, instead of using the jab to set things up, and moving smartly and constantly.
In the eighth, Junior stayed chill, waited for the other guy to finish, and then returned fire. This is just his way of fighting…Duddy got wobbled before the bell by left hooks.
In the ninth, Duddy was wobbly again. The man in green tried to answer as best he could, but that body work had worn on him. Junior went in for the kill with 30 seconds left and Duddy flurried off the ropes. But his reflexes were pretty kaput.
In the tenth, Duddy started out with combos. Junior went back to work, however. He hurt Duddy with a left hook at the 20 seconds to go mark. You need a knockout to win, Keitt said after. Hat off to Harry, speaking the total truth. Id given Duddy only two rounds to this point, if that.
In the 11th, the left hook to the body made Duddy flinch. But still he tried to muster the energy to answer and he did. A monster right hurt Duddy in the last minute. Bless that kids heart. Junior looked to stop the Irishman, but Duddys heart wouldnt allow it. We went to the cards.
Roach afterwards gave the kid high marks. Junior gave Duddy a shoutout for his toughness. I hope everyone finally believes in me, I am going to be a world champion, I proved that to everyone tonight, Junior said. Tonight we have a new star, he can fight anybody, any place, promoter Bob Arum said. The old Cesar Chavez wouldve been demolished, he would have run out of gas, Arum said
Marco Antonio Barrera (five-time champ in three weight classes; 141 pounds; 65-7 with 43 KOs, 1 ND; from Mexico) got back on the horse, against Adailton De Jesus (26-4 entering with 21 KOs; from Brazil; won last four by KO; 138 pounds). He had not in fact announced his retirement, unlike Erik Morales, for the record, and had been working as a broadcaster. He admitted coming in that he feels his age, and knows that hes not a pup now. Barrera, who turned 36 on June 17, lost his last outing, to Amir Khan. That ended badly, with a 38 stitch cut on his scalp. He looked like he had his legs under him on this night. He calmly stalked DeJ, but gave himself ample time to get loose. (Bob Arum has said that hed like to match Barrera with Humberto Soto or Miguel Acosta in a title crack. Think itll get that far TSS U? Should it? Not sure what happened to that five-year-contract Barrera signed with Don King in 2008, by the way. Anyone knows, leave a comment….) In the second, a left hook hurt the underdog. Left hooks to the body bothered the heck out of DeJesus, and it looked like Barrera could close the show within the distance. In the third, Barrera still looked crisp, not sluggish, not egregiously pudgy at that weight…all in all, better than most expected, Id venture to say. DeJ picked it up a bit in the fourth. Hed been in catcher mode and tried to get more aggressive. The Brazilian whined repeatedly at blows that didnt look low, but Barrera didnt back off his body work. His no-foul protector was hiked up to his throat, for cripes sake…A sharp 1-1-2 rang De Jesus bell at the end of the sixth. In the eighth, Barrera was able to get off, countered speedily..sorry if I seem surprised…But the Mexican can still get er done against a certain level of hitter, and maybe he could give Soto some trouble. We went to the cards after ten, and no one who drank less than 15 cups of beer thought anyone other than Barrera won it. He did, by scores of 100-90, 98-92, 99-91. Nice guy, the guy who hooked up undeserving DeJesus with two rounds. He tried to cheer up the loser.
Before the main event, Freddie Roach chatted with Rich Marotta, and he admitted that hes going to have to say no to taking on more clients. He said he hopes no one takes it personally, because he lives to help fighters get better, but that its not fair to his current stable.
In the TV opener, Salvador Sanchez (age 25; 125 1/4; 19-3-2 entering; from Mexico) met Tomas Villa (age 26; 22-7-4 entering; 126 1/2; born in Mexico, living in Texas) in a scheduled eight rounder. The nephew of the Mexican legend, who died in a car crash in 1982, has that same untamed fro the ex featherweight champion did. No one thinks hes on par with his uncle, of course, thats a mega-tall order. Analyst Raul Marquez said prior to the opening bell that we could see an upset.
Villa in fact took the first, as he smothered Sal, and didnt allow him to box from the outside as desired. Sal ate a right which buzzed him, considerably, in the first. Villa plunged ahead, as Sal stayed mobile in the second. Not mobile enough in the fourth. Sals lack of pop didnt deter Villa from steaming forward, and winging shots. Villa lost some steam as we went deeper, and Sals training at high altitude in Big Bear paid off somewhat in 5-6-7-8. But…All in all, Sal is what he is. His hand speed is below average, he squares up all the time, etc. He is to be commended for trying to advance the family legacy, however. Its not easy to try and shine on the same stage as an iconic relative. The judges spoke after eight: 77-75, 79-73, 78-74…for Villa.
Eighteen year-old Jose Benavidez (now 7-0 with 7 KOs; from California) took out Rhode Islands Josh Beeman in the first off a left hook to the body after setting it up with a right to the torso. Trainer Freddie Roach looked on with a grin at his sweet prospect of a junior welterweight.
Gabriel Elizondo (22-3-1 with 10 KOs entering; from San Antonio; 114 3/4 pounds) clashed with Raul Martinez, (26-1 with 15 KOs entering; also from San Antonio; No. 3 in IBF; 114 1/2) a texting buddy, in a scheduled junior bantamweight ten rounder. Ellie looked to move and stick, while Martinez looked to cut off the ring, and do some damage with a power shot. Martinez loads up, and looks to scramble synapses when he tosses. Coming in, Ellie had lost big step ups, to Jhonny Gonzalez, Jose Navarro, and Bernabe Concepcio. Same thing for Martinez; when he got a chance against Nonito Donaire April 2009, he got stopped in the fourth. A long lead right hurt Ellie in the third. His legs looked OK, but almost 2:30 remained in the round. He did escape to the fourth. And to the fifth, when a gash opened over the left eye of Ellie. He went to the mat, on a flash knockdown with 20 seconds left in the heat. More pain in the next round…A shot at the bell dropped Ellie; he made it up, but was on queer street to end the sixth, from a left hook. The ref stopped it after another knockdown, from an overhand right, in the seventh. Time of TKO was 2:00 elapsed.
SPEEDBAG Johns uncle, Jack Duddy, shot and killed while protesting unarmed by British soldiers on Jan. 30, 1972, in the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry, Ireland received an honorary ten count. A boxer himself, Jackie was just 17 when he was slain, while fleeing the violence.
-Is it just me, or was the feed not overly crisp for you? My wife said it looked blurry, like it was shot on tape. Anyone else?
—Also, the producers have to mike up the trainers better. A patron has to hear what Roach is saying in between rounds.