Julio Cesar Chavez Jr retained his title tonight in Houston. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr stopped Peter Manfredo in the fifth round tonight in Houston, retaining his WBC middleweight title and staying undefeated. After an entertaining first four rounds, Chavez hurt Manfredo, then swarmed in for the kill. Referee Laurence Cole gave Manfredo time to hold, take a knee, or throw back, but it didn't happen, and Cole stepped in at 1:52 to end the fight.
Chavez (44-0-1, 31 KO) dominated the first three rounds for the most part, outboxing and outslugging Manfredo (37-7, 20 KO). But in the fourth, "The Pride of Providence" seemed to decide he would go down swinging if he was going to go down, and engaged Chavez in a brawl. Manfredo performed well in the round, and Chavez was willing to meet him halfway and trade big shots.
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Overall, Chavez appeared to simply be a stronger, better, fresher fighter, and that's no surprise. The win lets him keep his belt and his record, but now the question is bigger: When does he fight someone better?
"I want to fight the best," Chavez said after the fight, via his translator. "Sergio Martinez is a great champ. 'Canelo' would be a great fight for the Mexican public. But it all depends on what my promoter says. I fear no one."
Asked about his own future, as Manfredo had said this week if he didn't win he might retire, Manfredo didn't commit to anything, but did say, "I’m not an HBO fighter, I guess. Every time I step up to HBO, I lose."
As for the stoppage, Manfredo said it was quick in his opinion, "but what are you gonna do? ... I knew what I was up against."