The 2010 calendar year has been rather modest in terms of excitement and meaningful matchups in the sport of boxing and it has affected the city of Las Vegas in the process. For the past ten-plus years the city has been the fight capital of the world and on a yearly basis the biggest names and most lucrative bouts land in the Valley. This year, however, has seen a notable lack of action in Vegas and the fact that the November 13th Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito clash seems to be headed to another venue doesn’t help matters.
Knowing that he needed to do something dramatic to stage a high-profile affair in the city, word is that Top Rank boss Bob Arum has been eyeing a December 4th clash between WBA Jr. Middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and Sinaloa, Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Sin City. While it isn’t a breathtaking showcase it is a contest that can easily capture the eye for more than a few reasons. Here are some early thoughts on a proposed Cotto-Chavez Jr. tussle…
What stands out about each fighter is the fact that they both showed tremendous improvement in their most recent bouts. On June 5th Cotto would make his Jr. Middleweight debut with an impressive 9th round stoppage over Belarus native Yuri Foreman, stopping the soon to be rabbi with a left hook liver shot. Three weeks later Chavez outworked Ireland’s John Duddy in a tremendous back and forth fight, showing great stamina and the ability to throw punches in bunches all night long.
Prior to that the two men last saw action on November 14th of last year at the MGM Grand and the results were disappointing. Chavez Jr. would win a relatively uneventful decision over Troy Rowland in a bout that had the masses nearly asleep while an hour or so later Cotto was stopped in the 12th round by Manny Pacquiao. What a difference seven months can make.
Youth vs. Experience
At age 29 Cotto is certainly not too long in the tooth but this is definitely a battle of youth vs. experience. The baby-faced Chavez Jr., only 24 years old, hasn’t fought nearly the level of competition that Cotto has throughout his career, with the Duddy bout being his most dangerous fight. Cotto has always taken on all comers and has faced the likes of Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Antonio Margarito, and countless others.
In these type of battles things typically play out in one or two ways. Either the veteran will overwhelm his younger foe and sometimes drown then in deep waters in the late rounds or the youthful upstart will overcome the obstacles by rising to the occasion and simply having too much for their older foe to handle. Who knows how this particular fight would play out.
Following his win over Rowland, Chavez seemed to recognize that a change was in order and earlier this year he enlisted the services of highly-sought after Freddie Roach. Chavez spent five weeks training at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles before the Duddy bout and he appeared to be a new man on the night of June 26th. It should also be noted that Cotto himself has aligned with a new trainer in Emmanuel Steward and they too seem to be gelling together.
It has been reported that Chavez will be working with Pacquiao to help prepare the Filipino for his bout with Margarito. Pacquiao’s southpaw stance surely won’t prepare Chavez Jr. for a clash with Cotto so he will likely be dividing his time sparring with other well-schooled right handers.
Too much, too soon?
The early rumors had Chavez Jr. and Kelly Pavlik possibly meeting up on December 4th but Arum would soon nix the idea, noting that his charge likely needed more time before a bout of that magnitude. Taking that in, it’s surprising to hear that Arum is all aboard a Cotto-Chavez Jr. matchup because while Miguel doesn’t have the strength or power or a Pavlik he is quicker, punches better in combination, and is coming off of a better performance than the Youngstown, Ohio fighter, who lost his Middleweight bragging rights to Sergio Martinez in April.
Logic would say that Chavez could serve himself well by working with Roach for a year or so in hopes of honing their chemistry before going hunting for bigger bounty. Hopefully Arum isn’t overlooking Chavez’ inexperience in his quest for landing the most lucrative fights possible.
As reported by Ronnie Nathanielsz with Philboxing, if Cotto meets Chavez on December 4th one of the undercard attractions could be a mouthwatering showdown between Nonito Donaire and WBO Bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel. That is one of the best fights to make in boxing and despite deserving main event status of its own the matchup would get fine exposure underneath Cotto vs. Chavez Jr.
A Miguel Cotto-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. bout is certainly worth a look. It would be a matchup of Chavez’ non-stop activity against Cotto’s precise and punishing attack. Click on the collage below for images of each man…
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Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com