Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. ain't dad, but he ain't half bad.
The son of the legend overwhelmed Peter Manfredo in the fifth round of the main event which unfolded at Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas on Saturday night. The end, via TKO, came at 1:52 of the fifth, one round after Manfredo had started to find some success.
In the stat department, Chavez went 98-221, while Manfredo went 67-284 in a bout shown on HBO.
Manfredo (turns 31 next week; 37-6 entering; from Providence, RI) weighed 159 1/4, 178 on fight night, while WBC middleweight champion Chavez (age 25; from Culiacan, Mexico; 43-0-1 entering) was 159 3/4, to 179 on fight night.
Before the first bell, Manfredo told Max Kellerman that he'd like to engage in a Ward-Gatti type scrap. He said he knows he's no Roy Jones type, but he'd like to offer the people stunning and stellar entertainment. He'd also said this would quite likely be it if he didn't beat Chavez Jr. We may have seen the last of the Pride of Providence, as after the bout, he told Kellerman that he was done, that he's not an HBO fighter.
Sergio Martinez sat in the front row and scouted.
Kellerman at first said he thought it was a quick stoppage, but Harold Lederman overruled him. Manfredo said after he thought it was a quick hook, but he wasn't answering and the ref didn't want to risk his well being. To Kellerman, Manfredo said, "I'm done, it didn't go my way, I'm not an HBO fighter, I guess. Every time I step up the plate on HBO, I lose."
In the first, Manfredo didn't look out of place. He pumped a decent jab while Jr hit with a few left hooks to the body.
In the second, Jr landed a straight right in close, and a left which semi stunned Manfredo. He backed up, set, landed, and jetted, rinse and repeat.
In the third, Manfredo shook his head after a right landed high on his head. Junior has pretty quick hands, and Manfredo had difficulty blocking launches. The Pride landed a right after the bell. Junior's trainer Freddie Roach told Junior to land the right over Manfredo's jab after the round.
In the fourth, Manfredo landed a left hook clean while Junior lay on the ropes, and invited the Pride to trade. It was a busy, entertaining round.
In the fifth, Junior moved, while Manfredo stalked, but he got hit by a right as he came forward. He was buzzed, and backed up, drunken-legged. Junior hopped on him, and he ate a load of shots. He was caught on the ropes, much as he was when he tried to step up against Joe Calzaghe in April 2007.* He wasn't landing, or holding, and the ref, Laurence Cole, hopped in to stop it. Junior actually had a poor connect percentage in this final flurry, and Manfredo was still trying to duck shots with a bit of success, but a fighter has to answer, show the ref he's capable of offense, and not a punching bag. Manfredo successfully held only when Cole hopped in.
* : Manfredo told Kellerman he thought this one and the Calzaghe fight were stopped early. He was hurt worse by Junior than he was Calzaghe at the end of each bout. Calzaghe was busy shoe-shining the Pride, while Junior was landing heavier stuff. This stoppage was more appropriate than that one.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV