I don't feel the temptation to kick ole Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., bust on him for his eccentricities. Sure, I lightly bust chops on Junior by sometimes referring to him as “Cheech,” referencing his testing positive for THC in his system following his loss to Sergio Martinez back in Sept. 2012. But to my thinking, he's already surpassed expectations as a fighter, considering that he probably could have sponged money off his dad and piggybacked of his father's name enough to cobble together an income stream and comfortable existence.
But sometimes Junior (46-1 with 32 KOs) does make it hard for himself, as when he gets busted for using a banned diuretic, in 2008. Or when he is AWOL on a conference call, as he was for a couple minutes on Tuesday afternoon, on a Top Rank media event.
That said, the son of the legend did make it to the call, and promised that his first foray at 168 pounds will be successful. Junior will fight journeyman Brian Vera (23-6 with 14 KOs; the two pictured in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) at the Stub Hub Center, in Carson, CA, and on HBO, though the maximum weight allowed for the fighters is still fluid.
Junior's promoter, Bob Arum, said the max weight will be determined Wednesday, after the boxers weigh in, unofficially. I asked Junior what he weighed today, and he said 173 pounds, for the record.
Arum said he and Vera's promoter Art Pelullo will sit down on Wednesday and hash out the max weight.
The fighter said he looks forward to winning a title at 168 and even 175, but would indeed go back to 160 if he were to secure a rematch with Sergio Martinez. “It was difficult making 160,” Chavez said. “It was time for me to move to 168.” Arum concurred, saying he's not sure if Junior stayed too long at middleweight, and that he is a “big, big kid.”
This fight was shifted to Sept. 28 from Sept. 7 after Junior was cut in sparring, but he said the cut has healed nicely.
The boxer said he's motivated to perform well, and that his gal is pregnant, and that he is looking forward to being a father for the first time. The suspension and fine from the Nevada Commission he thought was overboard but he said he learned from the mistake. Promoter Arum chimed in, and said that a pot positive is “preposterous” and that marijuana is no performance enhancer. “Pot can even be beneficial,” said “Chong” Arum.
The fighter didn't sound defensive, but he did stick up for himself, saying, “You can't say I didn't train for those fights..people don't realize how hard it is to make 160.” He did sound reasonably pleased that his Hall of Fame father will be in his corner, and not shouting from the stands on Saturday night. Junior didn't rule out hooking up with trainer Robert Garcia, or even a Freddie Roach reunion…but he wants to see how his corner works on Saturday before deciding.
The call had some comedy gold on it, as when Arum yelled, “Where the eff is he?” when it became apparent Junior was not present. The kid does provide drama, in the ring and out, it must be said.
Readers, could we see an upset special, from Vera, who owns solid wins, over Andy Lee, Sergio Mora and Sergiy Dzinziruk? Is Junior looking past the journeyman, or perhaps is still immersed in outside the ring chaos of the mind? Weigh in, in our Forum.
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