This Saturday night, Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., 45-0-1, 31 KO’s, takes on his toughest test in the young and confident, Andy Lee, 28-1, 20 KO’s. Chavez currently owns the WBC Middleweight title, but his career has been guided carefully, earning him recognition as the most spoon-fed fighter and many of the “padded record” awards by boxing publications.
It’s a tough situation for the 26 year old fighter. He has huge shoes to fill. His father, Julio Cesar Chavez, SR., is possibly the best fighter ever to come out of Mexico. He was one of the most feared men to ever lace up the gloves, a devastating body puncher that found gold in several divisions. Chavez JR benefits from his dad’s reputation but it’s a double-edged sword. He is often dismissed as a fighter that has made a name for himself because of his name.
Recent wins over John Duddy, Sebastian Zbik, Peter Manfredo, JR., and Marco Antonio Rubio have proven that there is some substance there, but there are also rumors of steroid use. In his fight against Rubio, he basically came into it as a cruiserweight and used that weight to lean on and exhaust the much smaller man. That may be the plan with Lee.
Lee is a southpaw with a big punch, under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward. He has been improving with each fight and will be very motivated to defeat Chavez, JR. Remarkably, he will have a height advantage of two inches over the 6 feet even Mexican champion, and is a natural middleweight. He has all the tools to overcome the smothering style of Chavez, JR., but can he get it going on Saturday night?
For Lee, he has been through firefights. He has overcome a war with Craig McEwan to stop him in the 10th round and has avenged his only defeat, dominating Brian Vera en route to a decision win. According to reports, Lee has never looked better in sparring and has never trained harder. He’s in this to win.
The favorite in this is Chavez, JR., but I suspect that we are going to see an upset on Saturday night. At middleweight, Chavez, JR., is not a puncher. He is a mauling volume puncher that uses activity and his size to discourage his opposition. Out of his last six fights, all at middleweight, he’s only scored one stoppage. He will not be knocking Andy Lee out, which opens up a great opportunity for Lee.
Expect Lee to keep his distance and try to land his straight left hand. When Chavez, JR., gets close, expect him to launch the uppercut, a good weapon in the Lee arsenal. Chavez is not hard to find and can be tagged with regularity. Lee is not the guy that should be allowed to land as such and when he does, expect Chavez, JR., to find himself on the floor late in the fight.
Lee is a finisher and if he has Chavez, JR., in trouble, it will be over. The size may help the Mexican champion with some, but it will make him a bigger target for the ambitious and powerful challenger. He will chop the tree down and take the WBC title.
Saturday, we will crown a new champion in 8 rounds.