Chris Farina photo
LOS ANGELES-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. got it going late, couldn’t be stopped by Germany’s Sebastian Zbik and took the WBC middleweight title by majority decision on Saturday.
Chavez part two begins.
A raucous crowd at Staples Center saw Chavez (43-0-1, 30 KOs) follow his father’s footsteps and beat Germany’s Zbik (30-1, 10 KOs) who held the title. It began as a slow trot but ended in an all out gallop as Chavez used a body attack to come from behind after a bad beginning.
The father, Julio Cesar Chavez, smiled broadly after the title belt was given to his son. But those first four rounds had the former Mexican looking like anything but happy.
Zbik launched out of his corner in the first round snapping jabs in Chavez’s head and rights to the head. It didn’t take him long to get confidence, though Chavez landed some body shots.
Rounds two and three showed that Chavez was going to continue his attack to the body. A left hook to the head snapped Zbik’s head, but the German landed more effective punches again and again.
Chavez poured on the punches in round five to win his first round of the fight. Zbik seemed to be slightly dazed by a right hand near the end of the frame.
After a blatant left elbow by the German boxer, Chavez retaliated with some heavy handed blows including a right behind the ear that slightly stunned Zbik. Chavez finished the round with a combination to perhaps win another round in the sixth.
Things definitely looked good for Chavez in round seven as he blistered the slowing German fighter with some combinations from long range including another right cross that had Zbik shaking his head at the end of the round.
“The title is won on the inside below. I knew he wouldn’t be able to continue in the later rounds,” said Chavez after about his plan to attack the body continuously.
Chavez and Zbik were no longer fighting toe to toe and it slipped into another type of fight. Chavez had better luck from the outside with his long arms and new head movement.
Germany’s Zbik began to tire noticeably from round seven on as Chavez pummeled him to the body, with some going below the belt. Zbik complained but was met with more body shots while he complained.
Going into the final two rounds both dug deep for extra juice and it appeared all of the hard work by Chavez at trainer Freddie Roach’s gym paid off.
“I knew it was crucial to win the (12th) round,” Chavez said, adding that Roach told him to increase his attack.
One judge Steve Morrow scored it 114-114, John Keane 116-112 and Raul Caiz Jr. 115-113 both for Chavez.
“He was a good fighter but I fought with everything to win it for Mexico,” said Chavez, the former Ramona High school student in Riverside.
Zbik was gracious in defeat.
“What can I say. I knew the rounds were close and the judges gave them to Chavez,” Zbik said. “He’s a strong fighter.”
Moreno Valley’s Mikey Garcia (26-0, 22 KOs) was another who began slowly but turned on the steam to knock out Mexico’s Rafael Guzman (28-3, 20 KOs) in round four.
The usual careful first round for Garcia ended with a crackling left hook that shook Guzman at the bell. In round two another left hook busted Guzman’s guard and sent him across the ring.
Garcia’s sharp-shooting made things progressively worse for the Mexican featherweight. A right hand through the gloves snapped Guzman’s head violently but he remained on his feet until the bell in round three. It would get worse.
After 1:55 in round four, an overhand right by Garcia dropped Guzman like a bag of rocks for a clean knockdown of the much taller Mexican fighter. He tried to get up but fell down again and it was over. Moreno Valley’s Garcia had struck again.
“He came to fight and that was better for me,” said Garcia about Guzman who was a late substitute for Miguel Beltran, who canceled due to an injury. “I’m not flashy or spectacular but I’m ready for any featherweight.”
Vanes Martirosyan (30-0, 19 KOs) kept his place in line for a title shot. Junior middleweight gatekeeper Saul Roman (34-9, 29 KOs) was prepared to shut the gate on contender Martirosyan but the Glendale boxer busted through with a gutsy performance. After a left hook knocked down Martirosyan in the first round, the former US Olympian rallied back with a more aggressive approach to keep his place in line for a world title bid. A six punch barrage in round seven sent Roman to the mat and then another pummeling at 2:58 of the same round force the referee to halt the fight.
“I threw a real straight right hand and that was what finished him,” said Martirosyan. “He hits real hard.”
Dakota Stone (10-8-4) beat Christy Martin (49-6-3, 32 KOs) by technical knockout when that fighter suffered a fractured right hand and could not continue in the sixth and final round. Martin was winning according to the judges’ cards.
Martin floored Stone with a perfect overhand right but also hurt her hand in the process. She continued to belt Stone around the ring but it became obvious that she had injured herself. By round six, both the ringside doctor and referee David Mendoza stopped the fight though Martin protested vehemently.
Garden Grove’s Jessie Roman (6-0, 4 KOs) floored James Grant (2-3-1) twice, the last one forcing referee Raul Caiz to end the fight following a vicious left hook that crumpled Grant in a heap at 1:00 of round two of a lightweight bout.
East L.A.’s left-hand crazy Oscar Andrade (6-0, 3 KOs) floored Japan’s Kai Zama (5-4, 3 KOs) three times in winning by knockout in the first round. Four successive uppercuts dropped Zama for the first knockdown. A straight left floored him again. After beating the count slowly, Zama was knocked out for good with a single left cross that seemed to stretch across the ring at 2:15 of the first round.
Bellflower’s Alex Luna (6-0, 5 KOs) battered Mexicali’s Cesar Garcia (3-7-1) four rounds but couldn’t continue the knockout winning streak. Garcia was too tough for Luna to dispose of without a decision. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Luna.
Riverside’s Saul Rodriguez did not fight. Top Rank could not find an opponent in time for his first pro bout to occur.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV