Julio Cesar Chavez didn’t impress, as usual, but making his first defense of the WBC Middleweight title he won off Sebastian Zbik five months ago a successful one counts for something right? Peter Manfredo did throw more punches, but couldn’t really connect, eventually rocked by a powerful right to give Chavez a fifth round TKO.
With a 45-0-1 record and a Middleweight title at the age of 25 you’d expect Chavez to be a bit more respected among Boxing pundits and fans. Being the son of the greatest Mexican fighter ever, bearing the same name, does count against you. Also, his apparent laziness in the ring during early rounds, relying heavily on his chin and ability to absorb before unleashing his power through counter punching, does give you that bad impression.
Manfredo did throw more during the first three rounds, but hardly hit with any real consequence. When Chavez woke up and started with combinations and eventually a huge straight, knocking Manfredo into the ropes, storming in until the ref stopped the fight, with Manfredo not even throwing anything back after he was rocked.
For Manfredo, it was his goodbye from boxing, staying true to his promise from before the fight. With two title shots (one against Joe Calzaghe in 2007) and a 37-7 record, Manfredo was almost there a few times, but will probably end up being remembered for his Contender participation.
The big question is what will Chavez do, what road will he take next? The biggest fight in mind of the boxing community is taking on Sergio Martinez, who was also in attendance. It’s been long thought that Martinez doesn’t really have any competition in the 160 lbs realm, and more importantly, no opponent to bring in serious cash. Chavez’ improvement may change that.
Still, it won’t happen. Chavez isn’t ready, and Bob Arum, his promoter, won’t let an unfinished product get ruined for no reason. One, two more fights seem more like it before the Sergio Martinez option comes up again. Meaning – We can probably forget about such a fight in 2012.
Another big money option for Chavez and everyone involved is a Mexican Clash against another undefeated fighter, WBC Light Middleweight Champions Saul Alvarez, who at 21 (Promoted by Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya) has amassed a 38-0-1 record. Alvarez has a title defense against Kermit Cintron in Guadalajara next week, past his prime but still dangerous. A win for Alvarez there might set the way for a huge, from a Mexican standpoint, and money-wise, Chavez-Alvarez fight.
As usual, it’s probably more up to the promoters (Arum and ODLH), who aren’t exactly fond of each other, to set things straight. Chavez has been probably pampered and protected throughout his career. As a champion, and a fighter trying to win respect, it’s time he gets a big fight, a real opponent who can help us decide if he is his father version 2.0 or just another good fighter, nothing more.