UPDATE, Friday, December 20: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. After five rounds of a seemingly competitive fight, Chavez Jr. quit in the corner. Reports vary as to the reason as there was no single straight answer. A broken nose impeding Chavez Jr.’s breathing, or a broken right hand? After the fight, Chavez Jr. also blamed repeated headbutts, though there were none ruled by the referee. Whatever the case, outraged fans in Phoenix began throwing beers, sodas, and debris into the ring. Sitting ringside, the look of disgust on Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.’s face said it all. The arena cleared with a fifth-round TKO awarded to Daniel Jacobs. This paragraph is all the fight deserves.
SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 19, 2019 – There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the two men stepping into the ring at the Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday. It isn’t a clash of styles as much as a complete clash of lifestyles.
Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York, is anyone’s idea of a role model. He is a cancer survivor, a thoughtful, principled family man with a world-class work ethic. He considers every day on Earth a blessing and an opportunity. He’s an ideal ambassador for the sport of boxing.
Despite coming off a loss to Canelo Alvarez this year, Jacobs is upbeat and enthusiastic to testing his skills in a new division.
“My spirits are high,” said Jacobs. “When you are mentally in the best shape possible going into a fight it will definitely show, and now that we don’t have any weight issues going into a fight like we did before, I think the fans are going see the Daniel Jacobs people saw in the amateurs and the early days as a pro.”
“It’s been amazing,” said Jacobs. “I’ve been able to be genuinely happy, to focus only on training and focus only on my skillset, and not on the idea of cutting 10 to 15 pounds before the weigh-in. So, it’s a big deal for me and I’m happy and I’m looking forward to showing everyone in the world that it wasn’t an excuse last time around.”
The two-time world champion and cancer survivor describes life as ‘blissful.’ “I’m so fortunate to have made the early sacrifices in my life to be in this position now, to see my son thrive, be in an excellent school and be doing so well in school, that’s all I can ask for as a family man,” said Jacobs.
From a man who grew up with nothing and made himself into a champion in and out of the ring, we turn to his opponent who started with every advantage in life and hasn’t made the most of his opportunities.
Chavez Jr. comes blessed and cursed with the famous name of his father, a revered athletic hero in Mexico and around the world. Born into privilege, he has the DNA to succeed in the ring but lacks the discipline and drive. He’s a known drug-user and has frustrated several world-class trainers who’ve tried to light a fire under him. He quit in the corner in the ninth round of his light heavyweight bout with Andrzej Fonfara in 2015, saying “no mas” right in front of his father. The audience pelted him with cups of beer.
Friday’s fight in Phoenix, Arizona is billed as the official debut of former titleholder Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) in the super middleweight division. But who are we kidding? Jacobs hasn’t entered the ring as a middleweight for several years, and he didn’t even try to make the 160-pound limit in his fight earlier this year against Alvarez. Not that big a deal as Alvarez had been testing himself at higher weight anyway.
He faces an opponent notorious for not being able to make weight, who was initially suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and whose status was and is still so shaky, durable Gabriel Rosado is on tap as an understudy. And true to form, despite all the assertions to the contrary before stepping on the scale, Chavez Jr. blew through the 168-pound limit by eight pounds. The fight was reset at a 173-pound catchweight, and per his contract agreement Chavez Jr. gave up half his $2 million purse to Jacobs.
Chavez Jr. must still take off three pounds by Friday. Rosado may not know whether he’s fighting on the undercard or will get the nod to step up against Jacobs literally at the last moment.
We’d rather see Jacobs vs. Rosado. Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33 KOs) faces his first meaningful fight since his own loss to Alvarez, a disappointing drubbing in May 2017. Chavez Jr. won a tune-up fight with a first-round knockout in August. The only reason anyone is still entertaining the idea of giving Chavez Jr. a significant opportunity is due to his father’s influence.
It’s also got to be the only reason Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach agreed to train Chavez Jr. for the fight. Chavez Jr. treated Roach with disrespect during the lead up to his 2012 bout with Sergio Martinez. The world got to see it for themselves in an infamous HBO “24/7” feature.
Roach claims Chavez Jr. came to his Wild Card Gym, cleared the air with him, and they agreed to try it again. Roach reported Chavez Jr. being in much better shape, but Thursday’s scale told a different story.
“I think this is my time, and now I need to take the next big step,” said the 33-year-old Chavez Jr. “It’s going to be a good fight for the fans and after that, I’ll be ready to win another World title. This feels like a world title fight as Danny is a true champion, and so am I.”
Chavez Jr. says it’s the right fight for him, even if it’s a big risk. “It’s a big risk because of the activity he’s had, but I am not a stepping stone for him, I am ready, and I need to win the fight, and I know I have the skills and the heart to win.”
Prediction: Jacobs takes steam out of Chavez Jr. early
Pardon us for being skeptical, but pull out all the clichés about a leopard not changing its spots, and fool me once, shame on you, etc. Plenty of fans who love Mexican boxing are just curious enough to take a look, and Jacobs has his fan base who enjoy seeing him in the ring. The fight will put butts in the seats and eyes on the screen.
But if Chavez Jr. is as drained and poorly trained as he appears, the fight would be more competitive if his father got into the ring with Jacobs. His stamina will falter as it has so many times in recent fights, and the result is a good looking debut with an asterisk for Jacobs.
Until the pair step into the ring on Friday, we can’t even be sure it’s going to happen at all. Gabe Rosado got off the deck and nearly beat Maciej Sulecki in March, a fight that shouldn’t be forgotten as one of 2019’s best. Rosado is guaranteed entertaining and always a threat. It’s a far more even fight. Jacobs can only hope Chavez Jr. makes it to the opening bell, or he might have his hands full.
Jacobs will honor the late Patrick Day, a talented super welterweight and fellow New York native who died on October 16 after suffering a knockout loss in his 22nd professional fight at the age of 27. He will wear Day’s name on his trunks.
Undercard cheat sheet: Gabe Rosado, Maurice Hooker in action
If Philadelphia’s Rosado (24-12, 14 KOs) doesn’t get the nod in the main event, he is scheduled to face Mexican journeyman Humberto Gutierrez Ochoa of Mexico (33-8-2, 22 KOs). Forget the records and just enjoy the action. Neither of these men will hold back.
The remaining undercard features the debut of former 140-pound champion Maurice Hooker of Dallas (26-1-3. 17 KOs) moving up a division. He will face Uriel Perez of Mexico (19-4, 17 KOs). If Hooker can find a home at welterweight and shake up the logjam among the top names, he will be a welcome addition.
Josh Kelly of Great Britain (9-0-1, 6 KOs) takes on Wiston Campos of Nicaragua (31-6-6, 19 KOs) prior to an expected fight early next year with European champion David Avanesyan. 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan (8-0, 4 KOs) takes on Alan Sanchez of California (20-4-1, 10 KOs) in his ninth pro fight.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter and Instagram at @PRProSanDiego.
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