Former middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has been out of the spotlight for quite a while, and there’s a legitimate chance that he won’t actually fight Daniel Jacobs as scheduled on Dec. 20. But for the time being, that’s the plan, and Chavez says he’s excited to be back on the big stage.
“Going against Daniel Jacobs is the perfect fight for me because there is so much on the line,” said Chavez. “A victory gets me one step closer to a world championship and I’m not going to let anyone stand in my way.
Chavez (51-3-1, 33 KO) hasn’t been seen by much of anyone since his miserable performance against Canelo Alvarez in May 2017, where he was shut out over 12 rounds. He has fought just once since then, a win in August over Evert Bravo in Mexico.
Currently, Chavez is dealing with a suspension in Nevada for evading VADA drug tests. That means the original idea for the Jacobs fight to be in Nevada had to be changed, and the event is headed to Phoenix instead. But Chavez may not actually get licensed in Arizona if Nevada won’t lift that suspension after a Nov. 20 hearing. Commissions often stick together on decisions like this.
On that count, it’s been reported that Gabriel Rosado is on standby to step in against Jacobs should Chavez not be able to go next month.
For now, though, Jacobs-Chavez is moving ahead. They held a press conference last Friday, and Chavez is talking up his chances.
“I know that Danny Jacobs is a former world champion and is a strong fighter with very good boxing skills. Those are the kind of boxers that bring out the best in me,” he said. “I’ve been working hard in the gym and can’t wait to let everyone see what I’ve been working on. I’m very motivated to get the win and at the end of the night I will have my hand raised in victory. I ask my fans to believe in me. I will deliver.”
If the 33-year-old Chavez does actually get into the ring against Jacobs, it will probably be as a sizable underdog. Jacobs (35-3, 29 KO) is coming up from 160 to 168 for this fight, and Chavez has fought a few times over middleweight. But he hasn’t fought very well over middleweight, and Jacobs is simply a more talented and dedicated boxer, who has been more active and fighting at a much higher level.
And truth be told, one struggles to find evidence that fights like this “bring the best out of” Chavez. If Chavez suddenly has some career renaissance at 33, if he puts to bed the generally accepted idea that he lacks the discipline and drive to be a true top guy in boxing, it will and should be seen as a surprise.