Being born into privilege makes earning blue collar respect hard. In the case of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., it has taken several years, but fans are starting to come around to the second generation star and beginning to give him respect, albeit begrudgingly.
Saturday night at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Chavez Jr. (46-0-1, 32 KOs) made the third defense of his WBC middleweight title with a TKO 7 victory over Ireland’s Andy Lee (28-2, 20 KOs). It was a dominant, professional performance that should quiet any remaining dissent as to whether Chavez is a legitimate main stage player in the middleweight division.
Lee started out well, jabbing from the outside, utilizing his reach advantage and making Chavez stand back to figure him out. But Chavez adapted early on in the second round, found his way in with a dogged tenacity, a shoulder fake, and more than a handful of wide shots that had no right landing on a legitimate world class opponent.
By the fourth round, Chavez’s success at cracking Lee from the outside convinced the Irishman to stop fighting on the outside. The end result was a more stationary Lee, pushed right into the ideal game plan of his rival.
Chavez began ripping body shots to both the left and right sides of Lee with regularity, draining the energy from the lanky former Olympian, who was more and more being pushed into the opponent’s role.
Despite having a good punch and throwing more than a handful of solid shots, Lee soon found himself in the position of doing his punching while moving backwards. The ground war had been taken over by Chavez and Lee’s ideal position of mid-ring was now off-limits for Lee as he found himself backed into the ropes and perpetually fighting in retreat.
By the sixth round, it began to appear as though it would just be a matter of time before Chavez did enough to hurt and stop his challenger. Lee was merely throwing punches to keep Chavez away and wasn’t throwing anything from a position of authority.
In the seventh, Chavez finally ended things, stunning Lee, who had once again been forced back to the ropes, and putting together some hard combinations that convinced referee Laurence Cole to stop the contest.
After the bout, Chavez once again had to address the issue of whether he’d be fighting true, lineal middleweight champ, Sergio Martinez, next. And, as usual, he enthusiastically said “Yes.” But seeing is believing when it comes to the bout that is more than a year in the making.