Julio Cesar Chavez Junior is ready to answer his critics

August 30, 2013

Los Angeles -- Sideshow.  Protected fighter.  Phony.

Throughout his career, Julio Cesar Chavez Junior's critics have given him a collection of derisive labels to describe his status in the sport.

As the son of boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez, young Julio had the benefit of a built-in fan base and a ready-to-go promotional machine that would make even the most experienced boxing veteran green with envy.

It also made him a lightning rod for critics.

When the raw, but determined Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) began piling up wins and headlining cards, he remained a mere afterthought on boxing's radar.  Critics could see that his skills were unpolished and that his competition was less-than-stellar.  His indifference to training and silver spoon circumstances did not help matters.

The addition of trainer Freddie Roach to his corner upgraded Chavez's game, and a win over Andy Lee also opened a few eyes.  Nevertheless, the old perceptions of nepotism and tomato can opposition still lingered.

That all changed in one round.

In his last fight against Sergio Martinez -- a genuine pound-for-pound superstar -- Chavez had been dominated on the scorecards for 11 rounds, but somehow managed to floor the middleweight champ with a big shot in Round 12.  Chavez at that moment became linked to his famous father, but this time in a positive way, as he seemed on the verge of duplicating his father's dramatic last-second win over Meldrick Taylor years ago.

Although Martinez weathered the storm that night and earned a unanimous decision win, the perception of Chavez changed.

It became clear that Chavez might not be the fastest guy or have much of a jab, but at the very least, he was a large man who possessed the power to wear down and floor one of the best fighters on the planet.  In other words, he had finally arrived as a legitimate contender.

But just as he got a taste of some respect, a positive marijuana drug test and a lengthy suspension derailed much of his momentum.

At a press conference Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, Chavez and his promotional team were eager to proclaim that he was ready to take that career momentum back.

"I see this as the beginning of the second part of my career," said Chavez.  "I am coming with everything, very motivated.  I am going to show everyone that I want to be the best fighter in the world, pound-for-pound."

Chavez will be facing rugged veteran Bryan Vera (23-6, 14 KOs) on September 28, 2013, in Carson, California.  The bout is an important super middleweight fight for both men because a win could inject new life into the victor's career.  Originally scheduled for September 7, the fight was postponed once after Chavez sustained a cut in training.

Chavez will enter the ring with a revamped corner, as Roach will be gone and Julio Cesar Chavez -- Junior's longtime informal advisor -- will become an official part of the team.

The bout also will be Chavez's first at 168 pounds, which could mean an eventual showdown with Andre Ward or Karl Froch in the future.

Still, one of Chavez's best assets has been his unusual ability to make weight and then re-inflate his body to his above-average size without detracting from his performance.  In this larger division, however, he will enjoy less of a size advantage in the ring come fight night.

Meanwhile, Vera is a rugged fighter who is on a bit of a hot streak himself after an up-and-down career.  The veteran is tough and has a crowd-pleasing style, but craves the stardom that a victory over a name fighter, such as Chavez, could bring.

"We could have stuck around and fought for the WBO with Peter Quillin, but we know what's at stake with this," admitted Vera.  "Obviously, he has a big name."

At the press conference, reporters gathered around Vera, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, and the legend himself, Julio Cesar Chavez.  But at one point during the afternoon the biggest crowd of journalists was around Junior.

Maybe a few of those critics already have been silenced.

By Mike Elliott
Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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