Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was gifted a controversial points win which ignited another judging controversy following the Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez furore two weeks earlier.
Chavez looked fortunate for the verdict. He is the son of the legendary Mexican, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., hailed as the country’s greatest fighter.
Junior is talented but not as good nor dedicated as his father was, hence his just concluded nine-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana and the weight limit for his fight against Brian Vera on Saturday raised by five pounds after he failed to come in at the originally agreed 168 pounds.
All three judges scored for Chavez over the 10 rounds by a comfortable margin – 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.
But that is not how onlookers saw it. Widely cheered into the ring by the majority of the crowd at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, the partisan fans – mostly fellow Mexicans – nevertheless saw an injustice and widely booed.
Vera had forced the fight and landed almost twice as many punches as Chavez, although the Mexican clearly landed the heavier shots against a fighter who normally never competes above the 160-pound middleweight limit.
Nevertheless, the battling Texan was never intimidated and, although hurt a couple of times, showed gritty determination not to be overwhelmed.
Chavez was 172.5 pounds at the weigh-in, but may have been as heavy as 190 by fight time the next night.
Legendary trainer Freddie Roach was relieved to stop their working relationship because Chavez would not train properly for his bout last year against Sergio Martinez in a middleweight world title bout.
Chavez was soundly outpointed but almost knocked the great Argentinian in the final round. Had Chavez trained more diligently, he might have recorded a shock win and kept his unbeaten record.
Judging of big fights has come under the spotlight again after C.J. Ross scored the Mayweather-Alvarez bout a draw when “Money” clearly won it by a clear margin. The two other judges scored it in the brash American’s favor.
Chavez’s sloppy attitude to his profession and seemingly getting a blatant hometown decision is another indictment of boxing which has contributed to the general public’s disinterest in recent years and its diminishing appeal on regular TV.
Mayweather guards his unbeaten record zealously. Forty-five not out so far and just four more to go with his $250 million mega-deal with Showtime before he hangs up his gloves, perfect record intact.
Mayweather looks guaranteed to notch his 46th next May, against the fragile-chinned Amir Khan, a fighter who has been knocked out twice and been on the verge of that embarrassing type of defeat numerous times before prevailing.
Khan’s heart should not be questioned, but his weak punch resistance and porous defense is made for Mayweather. The brave Brit pulled out of an IBF welterweight contest with the dangerous champ Devon Alexander in December, fearing a loss will jeopardize a lucrative bout with “Money” next year.
Khan admits he must curb his celebrity lifestyle. He wed in June but his marriage is apparently already rocky after media revelations of his repeated infidelity. If his discipline in and out of the ring does not improve, Khan, a two-time light-welterweight world champ, could find himself single and labelled a has-been at 27.