Son of Mexican legend trying to carve his own legacy
The legacy Julio Cesar Chavez carved is a tough one to follow, but his son, Chavez Jr., is doing his best to create his own.
Originally Published: November 29, 2007By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Chris Farina/Top RankJulio Cesar Chavez Jr., left, will face his first real test in Ray Sanchez.Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will always carry the burden of his famous last name. His father, the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., is hailed as the greatest fighter in the history of boxing-mad Mexico, a country that has produced so many renowned champions. Chavez Sr. won world titles in three weight divisions (junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight), was considered the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound during a stretch in the early 1990s and amassed more than 100 victories during a 25-year career before finally retiring in 2005. That is a sizable legacy to live up to for Chavez Jr. (33-0-1, 26 KOs), who fights in the shadow of his father every time he walks to the ring clad in the same type of red headband that his father always wore. The 21-year-old junior middleweight seems to have a keen understanding of how important his name is to boxing fans, especially the Hispanic fans who have made him a popular attraction despite his limited experience.
"My father's shadow will never go away completely, but I believe that I have shown some people that I am a capable fighter and I now have some fans on my own because of the way I fight," Chavez Jr. said. "The expectations of greatness will always be there because of my name, but I knew that from the start and continue to live with it. But I also want to be the best that I can be, and slowly but surely I am coming along. This is one more step towards the goal of becoming my own man." The "step" that young Chavez Jr. is talking about is his 10-round bout against hard-punching Ray Sanchez (20-1, 15 KOs), who has won 12 in a row since his only defeat in 2002. They'll meet Saturday in the main event of Top Rank's four-bout "Latin Fury" pay-per-view card (9 p.m. ET) at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, N.M., Sanchez's hometown. Sanchez, 24, is easily the best opponent of Chavez Jr.'s career.
Chris Farina/Top RankDon't be fooled by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s boyish looks; he's wise beyond his years.
|Lineup for Top Rank's PPV card Saturday night (9 ET) from the Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, N.M.: • Junior middleweights: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (33-0-1, 26 KOs) vs. Ray Sanchez (20-1, 15 KOs), 10 rounds • Bantamweights: Jorge Arce (47-4-1, 36 KOs) vs. Medgoen Singsurat (48-4, 34 KOs), 12 rounds • Junior flyweights: Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon (29-0, 26 KOs) vs. Juan Esquer (20-1-1, 15 KOs), 12 rounds, for Calderon's title • Welterweights: Mike Alvarado (18-0, 12 KOs) vs. Michael Clark (36-4, 17 KOs), 10 rounds -- Dan Rafael|
Arce also in action
In the co-feature, Mexican action star Jorge Arce faces Thailand's Medgoen Singsurat -- who won a flyweight title in 1999 by knocking out Manny Pacquiao in the third round -- in a 12-round bantamweight fight. A win by Arce will propel him into a Feb. 16 showdown with former junior bantamweight titlist Martin Castillo on the Kelly Pavlik-Jermain Taylor II undercard. "I not only need a win but I also need to look great doing it," said Arce, who is going for his second win since losing a decision to junior bantamweight titlist Cristian Mijares in April. "I expect a tough fight against Singsurat. He is very aggressive and comes forward, and so do I. So it should be a great fight for the fans." Arce will have a new trainer in his corner, Javier Capetillo. "I knew I needed to make changes in my training to get back to the top," Arce said. "This is a big fight because if I win I get to fight Martin Castillo, and that fight will a memorable one. It will be like [Erik] Morales-[Marco Antonio] Barrera and [Israel] Vazquez-[Rafael] Marquez. But first things first. I need to get past Singsurat to think about that great fight." Also on the card: Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon, the longtime strawweight champion, makes the first defense of the world junior flyweight title against 21-year-old Juan Esquer, who is coming off an October victory against former titlist Kermin Guardia, and welterweight prospect Mike Alvarado faces Michael Clark. Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.
Chris Farina/Top RankJorge Arce wants nothing more than to get past Medgoen Singsurat and set up a showdown with fellow Mexican Martin Castillo.