As you likely have heard by now, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be making the first defense of his bogus WBC middleweight belt on September 17 in Mexico against Ronald Hearns. But if you've missed any of the finer points, let's cover a few of them:
- Bob Arum is entirely against the fight. He is trying to sugarcoat it by saying, "Well, we're just not promoting it," but he clearly does not want Chavez in this fight and thinks it's a bad idea. Surprisingly, Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions (Chavez's Mexican co-promoter) is in the same boat as Arum.
- The fight is happening largely because of two things: (1) It's Mexican Independence weekend, when there are always some big fights in the country; and (2) The Culiacan government is paying for the fight, basically.
- Freddie Roach isn't really going to be able to train Chavez, though he'll try to do a little, and will at least try to be there for the fight itself. Conditioning coach Alex Ariza has rushed to Mexico to help with what he can for the time being.
But it also occurs to me today, reading some quotes that Dan Rafael at ESPN.com has from some of the involved parties, that this is a potential trap fight for Chavez. Particularly, it's this quote from Lou DiBella, who promotes Hearns:
Said DiBella: "Obviously it's a great opportunity that Ronald will jump all over. Chavez is a strong kid, but he doesn't have any of the pedigree, slickness or jab of Felix Sturm. Is Chavez a favorite? Yeah. Does Ronald have a chance? Sure he does."
This comes after Ronald Hearns (26-2, 20 KO) says that it hasn't "been easy" as the son of a legend (Tommy "Hitman" Hearns, of course), which is probably not what most people think of when they think of a guy getting his second undeserved world title fight in a row, this one coming after Felix Sturm laughably defended the WBA belt against Hearns in February and made mincemeat of him.
But Lou's right: Chavez isn't Sturm. He's not even close. Ronald Hearns has nothing to lose here and a world (title) to gain. If he goes out there throwing bombs, against a potentially cocky, undertrained version of Chavez... he has a shot.
Hearns is not a very good fighter. I'm being nice but being honest, too. He's not a world class level fighter and has no business fighting for even watered-down major titles. But Chavez (43-0-1, 30 KO) wouldn't be in my personal top twenty at middleweight either. He's also not good, and has no business holding even a watered-down, see-through version of a major title that was gift-wrapped to him with a big, lovely, frilly green bow, those type of bows you have trouble getting off of the present when you're eight years old, and dread seeing every year because you know they're slowing down your gift discovery a good 30 seconds.
It's an undeserving "champion" against an undeserving challenger. And yet Hearns does have some pop in his right hand -- not "Hitman" pop, but some pop.
And if ever there were a fitting demise for an undefeated record as paper-thin as Chavez's, it would be to lose to a hand-picked guy in a gimmick fight that shouldn't be happening in the first place. Fighters like Jorge Paez Jr and Hector Camacho Jr are rightly ignored in the larger sense, and that should also have been the fate of Chavez and Hearns. They are only names because of their names. The world knows they aren't legit contenders, let alone "champions."
If one undeserving son topples another, is there poetic justice in that? Sure there is. I will admit that as a fan, I am rooting for Hearns. Nothing could be funnier to me than Chavez's cash cow shtick taking a huge hit without the blessing of either of his promoters, who have been so careful for so long. And it just seems like it's the sort of thing that is too perfect to not happen.
I also decided to make these handy bumper-sticker like graphics so that you can show support for your rooting interest on all message boards or web sites or Twitter or Facebook or whatever. Tell all your friends who are surely so excited for this fight.