It's probably not a shock to those who have read the site the past few days that I'm not crazy about Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, which is not a unique trait about boxing fans. But in the interest of fairness, I should point out that I don't "hate" Chavez. So here are five nice things I can say about the bloodline heir to the Mexican boxing throne.
1. He Makes for Entertaining Fights
Saturday's fight with Sebastian Zbik was totally watchable if you break it down to what it was. I think what upsets some is that the fight was hardly HBO main event worthy, and that's not a one-way street on Chavez, either. Zbik is no stud himself. But Junior is almost never in a boring fight, and Zbik didn't come in known for his entertainment value.
2. It's Not His Fault
Let me be clear: Until I have reason to suspect otherwise, I assume Junior Chavez will fight anyone out there and do his best. Arturo Gatti wasn't that good either -- gasp!, I know. But he fought the likes of Mayweather and Oscar, and he came to win. I think Junior could be that fighter, and maybe in time he will be. I don't think he's afraid. I think his handlers know the cash he can generate and are antsy about risking it. Also, I don't think he'll ever truly lose gate appeal. If he lost 6 of his next 10, he'd still be a draw. He's Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, you know? Plus, he'd probably do it in entertaining fashion.
3. His Fanbase Is Legit
Look, whether it came easy because of his name or not, Junior has one of the biggest fanbases out there. The Mexican boxing audience is loyal, diehard, real, and huge. And the kid has them in his pocket. I don't think many really believe he's the second coming of his pops. But I think they hope against hope that he can be, and they root vigorously for that.
4. I Do Like Body Punching
He commits to the body. I don't think he's a particularly good body puncher yet -- he comes in too wide and from too far out -- but he knows it can be effective, and against Zbik it was. It wore Zbik down and in the end likely won Julio the fight.
5. He Drives Web Traffic
What am I gonna do, lie? The kid made for a spike in traffic here. People were bringing up two or three year old articles on him this weekend. That's rare -- for the most part, traffic doesn't move much unless something involves Manny, Floyd, or an actual fight happening. But Junior pushed the needle a little. And that's good for a dude with a boxing web site. So I'll give him a five spot here.