(While I was en route back from Atlantic City, Andrew Harrison and Alex McClintock filed blog entries on the rest of Saturday’s actions. Before: Andrew. Now: Alex. –Ed./Tim)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. emphatically tried to prove his doubters wrong last night, winning a majority decision over Sebastian Zbik at the Staples Center. Some of the naysayers are still hanging around, but a lot of us have been shut up.
Beating Zbik (30-1) in itself wouldn’t have been that impressive. But it was the way that “Julito” (43-0-1) got it done that wowed many, even among the faithful in the largely Mexican crowd. Junior fought tenaciously, right up in Zbik’s grill, for 12 whole rounds. Not only that, he showed a dashes of flair in his inside game, great body punching and (to everyone’s surprise) fabulous conditioning.
Before the opening bell, it was already clear that Junior was in the best shape of life. After a rousing applause for JCC Sr., who will be inducted into the hall of fame next weekend, Junior got straight to business in the first round, sitting on Zbik’s chest and landing a devastating looking left rip.
And that’s where Junior stayed, sitting right in and working the body, while Zbik sniped to the head. If you were scoring that fight for “effective agression,” I’m not sure how you could have it for Zbik. Yes, he landed a lot, but Junior’s punches were clearly much harder. Zbik seemed slightly wobbled once or twice, while Junior never really seemed fazed.
“Julito” might not be a threat to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez yet, but so what. If he continues to fight like he did last night, he’s going to get a reputation as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Moreover, he’s still developing. He still loves blocking punches with his face, but if you put this showing of infighting and tenacity together with his decent work from the outside against John Duddy, then you have the makings of a complete pro.
He might never be p4p, but he’s always going to be fun. On top of that, he’s as macho as his old man and is a huge draw. What more do you want from a prizefighter?