Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Andrzej Fonfara

StubHub Center, Carson, California, April 18
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

In over his head at 175 pounds, Chavez's slack training ethic and partying lifestyle catches up with him in this fight. In Fonfara (26-3, 15 KOs), Chavez faces a natural, full-fledged light heavyweight who will be unfazed by his bread-and-butter left hooks and return fire with gusto and authority. Chavez (48-1-1, 32 KOs) might find a measure of success if he uses his jab, boxes and counter punches, but those moments will be fleeting once Fonfara catches on, adjusts and reestablishes control. Giving Chavez a taste of his own medicine, Fonfara will impose his will and bully the bully to win a comfortable decision.


From an evolutionary standpoint, species thrive when they duplicate the successes while circumventing the failures of their forebearers. In the case of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., he appears to have inherited his father's exceptional pugilistic DNA, but has followed his footsteps down the path to surefire defeat as well.

Chavez Jr.'s loss to Andrzej Fonfara was reminiscent of his father's shortfalls against naturally bigger and stronger fighters. While their punches shook, rattled and rolled opponents at lighter divisions, those same blows bounced harmlessly off larger-framed men once they crossed the boundary of how much meat on the bone they could effectually carry into the ring. Chavez Sr. recognized his offspring's folly and tried to dissuade the him from taking on Fonfara but to no avail.

In the 90's, it became evident that 140 was as high as Chavez Sr. could bulk up to and still remain competitive. He was indestructible at 130 and 135, and although he was still dominant enough to partially unify the junior welterweight championship, vulnerabilities began to surface at that higher division; his punch was less torpedo-like and his chin was less torpedo-proof. He was behind on points before he stopped Meldrick Taylor and Roger Mayweather, but more tellingly, he was dropped for the first time and suffered his first defeat against Frankie Randall.

Once he moved up to 147, he was reduced from a great fighter to merely an above average one. He challenged Oscar De La Hoya for the welterweight title, and even at a catchweight, was dominated by the bigger man who absorbed his firepower with ease and aplomb.

Like his father before him, Chavez Jr. crossed that threshold of weight gain imposed upon him by his physical constitution and paid dearly for it against Fonfara. Granted, Fonfara is no De La Hoya, and Chavez Jr. is no Chavez Sr., but the same adage applies; boxers, no matter how tough and talented, are ultimately human and not superheroes. 

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