Chavez Jr. wins phone booth war!
By Vikram Birring, Doghouse Boxing (June 29, 2010) Photo © Rafael Soto, Top Rank  
All Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. had to do was avoid stepping near a boxing ring. He would have had a relatively peaceful life and could have made his own path in his own chosen career path.

Instead, he chose to enter the arena that his father dominated. Indomitably, the comparisons started. But just as quickly as they began, they ended. Chavez Jr. had nowhere near the talent his father possessed, as he struggled with journeymen, getting some dubious decisions against Carlos Molina and Matt Vanda. A miserable showing against Midwestern hack Troy Rowland seemingly shut the door on the money making machine. A name can only take you so far.

Enter Bruce Trampler and Manny Pacquiao. Known as the best matchmaker and boxer in the world, together they convinced Chavez Jr. to train at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. Chavez Jr. had trained with his uncles up until this point, and had a reputation for laziness in training. In his fight against Rowland, he had to use a diuretic to make weight.

The final piece of the puzzle was Freddie Roach. Known as the top boxing trainer in the world, he had his hands full with Chavez Jr. With only four weeks, pundits wondered what transformation could take place in such a short period of time. Roach himself would tell the media Chavez Jr. was struggling to pick up moves he was teaching, and that he was losing every round in sparring. But the effort was there. How that translated on fight night would be the question.

A few years ago, John Duddy was supposed to be the next Irish dream. A good looking, charming Irish boxer, his fights were known for packing rollicking fans on both sides of the pond. He was a promoter’s dream, as long as he kept winning, the dollar signs would keep multiplying.

Then a funny thing happened along the way, Duddy hit a plateau as a boxer. He struggled mightily against shopworn Yuri Boy Campas, and with a title shot against middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik on the line, Duddy struggled and was sliced up against Canadian stepping stone Walid Smichet. Then, finally, Duddy lost to total unknown Billy Lyell. The dream was over.

His career was rebuilt slowly, as he won three fights in a row against mediocre opposition. Then, he got the opportunity he had always dreamed of. A main event fight against another undefeated fighter. Chavez Jr. and Duddy were put together for a fight card in San Antonio, two boxers who never reached their potentials, a perfect matchup.

A crowd of 8,172, mostly raucous Mexican fans, gathered for the occasion. Duddy looked mean and focused; Chavez still had the face of a twelve year old boy. But when he removed his robe, the results of his hard training were clear. Rippling muscles from a previously flabby body were clearly apparent. The hard work had paid off.

In the ring, what Chavez showed was remarkable. Suddenly he had become a marksman, throwing hard, accurate punches that sent Duddy’s head rocking back constantly. Boxing acumen had never been his forte, but suddenly he looked like a former Olympian.

All things were going well until the sixth round, when Duddy rocked Chavez with a combination. Chavez’s knees buckled, and he was truly hurt. He managed to escape the round, and from the seventh on, the domination continued where it had left off. In the later rounds, one wondered why it was even allowed to go on, and Duddy was simply taking unnecessary punishment, reeling around the ring numerous times after taking a hail of Chavez punishment. Yet, his pride forced him to continue until the final bell. The scores were academic: 120-108, 117-111, and 116-112, all for Chavez Jr.
The young man finally reached his potential, the older one showed his heart. A good night for boxing, and one that showed the old story holds true: all truths are exposed in the ring.

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