In a move that likely won't shock too many out there, Miguel Rivera reports at BoxingScene.com that former WBC middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr intends to end his professional relationship with trainer Freddie Roach, following the first loss of Chavez Jr's career to Sergio Martinez in September.
Rivera says that Hall of Famer Nacho Beristain and hot Oxnard-based trainer Robert Garcia are potential replacements, which are the exact two names you would expect to float first.
Chavez Jr (46-1-1, 32 KO) was totally outclassed by Martinez until the 12th round of their September 15 fight in Las Vegas, when the younger Chavez made a valiant last charge and nearly stopped the middleweight champion. In the end, it was the only round Chavez Jr did win, and he couldn't get Martinez out of there, losing by wide margins.
One has to wonder if any of this could truly be "blamed" on Freddie Roach, however. Roach, a Hall of Fame trainer himself, did have a rough year, but his guys who lost, lost to top opponents. A bad run was due to happen, frankly, and what could Roach have really done to prepare Chavez Jr for Martinez? Martinez was supposed to win. Many felt the fight would go pretty much exactly like it did. Can Freddie Roach be held accountable for Chavez Jr not being a good enough fighter to beat Sergio Martinez?
Of course not, but it's not just about that, either. Roach was credited for "improving" Chavez Jr during their time together, but personally, I always thought that was smoke and mirrors. He had good nights, such as his wins over John Duddy, Andy Lee, and Peter Manfredo. But he also had lethargic nights against the likes of Sebastian Zbik and Marco Antonio Rubio, and Roach isn't responsible for Chavez's notorious lack of discipline away from the ring, which has included failed drug tests, DWI arrests, and having to crash down to the 160-pound limit just before fights.
Unless Chavez makes some fundamental changes in his approach to the sport, his trainer won't matter. In the ring, he's got some good qualities: He's big, he's strong, he takes a hell of a punch, and when he's on his game, he can really fight. When he's not on his game, it's usually because he didn't do something right before the fight. Whether or not Chavez Jr ever goes higher than he's already been is mostly up to him.
Chavez Jr is expected to fight again in May, if a Nevada suspension doesn't keep him out until then.