A potential grudge match is forming right now on, of all places, Twitter.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has been going at it with Bernard Hopkins, the all-time legend who lost badly in his last outing, but is resisting hanging up the mitts. Junior, the son of a legend who has carved out a nice niche for himself as a willing banger, has been on the shelf since March 1, 2104 (W over Brian Vera).
The son of Mexico's maybe best of all time has been battling Top Rank over his contract and has a date set for April 18, against Andrzej Fonfara. He maintains he is no longer contracted to Top Rank, though that matter is still up for debate in some circles. Junior is currently advised by Al Haymon, and Haymon fighters don't' appear on HBO, where Jr. has been doing his thing. Hopkins' last fight was on HBO, though, as his promoter Golden Boy is back to doing business with HBO. Now, all that might be getting ahead of ourselves…
I reached out to Hopkins a couple days ago to ask if he wanted to weigh in on his challenge to Carl Froch and he declined. Junior, though, weighed in, and floated an idea: Basically, he thinks Hopkins could fight Gennady Golovkin, at 168 pounds or less. (The 160 champ Golovkin has targeted a May 16 date, after his Feb. 21 outing against Martin Murray). Junior said he will beat Fonfara, and then he could fight Carl Froch. “Because now Chavez versus Froch is the biggest pay-per-view fight now,” he said. “I am ready for anyone.” The winners of those two bouts could then fight each other, Junior suggested.
On Wednesday morning, Junior went at B-Hop on Twitter. “You call yourself a legend? A dirty, coward fighter! Who doesn't give the fans a show….I never faked an injury or being a coward like you were with Chad Dawson.”
Ouch. Super straight-forward.
Hopkins responded, and told him to stop smoking whatever he'd been puffing. (Junior was fined for having weed in his system in 2013.) #Imalegend, Hopkins offered as hashtag commentary. “Combine all of those guys' career against mine! None of these fighters is going to (Hall of Fame).”
Junior was unmoved.
He told me a Hopkins fight is a great money fight, and that this back and forth is moving him toward wanting to shut up the legend. “Boxing is a business,” he continued. “I respect Hopkins a lot but I have better numbers. And Chavez vs. Froch is the biggest now is what I say. Hopkins is a true legend. But my style is for the people, and Hopkins' style is for (himself). I am open to fighting the best. After Fonfara if I win…And actually I don't respect Hopkins now (because he made that 'smoking' comment).”
I followed up on that train of thought, seeing as how it seemed to hit a nerve. Does he ingest marijuana now, I asked Jr. “No,” he answered. His dad had a drug and alcohol problems years back, in the 90s and 2000s, and has been sober for six years, he stated. “I have a daughter now, Julia. And Hopkins didn't respect that. So, I have family. And never had a marijuana problem. But I never try it again.”
Bottom line, the substance abuse issue hits a nerve in this kid. I have been guilty of being flippant it about it myself, and I know intimately of what he speaks, so I thanked him for reminding me about treating the issue flippantly.
Stay tuned…and get on Twitter, and follow me, if you care to.