Chavez Jr set to make own name

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has a request for boxing fans who revere his famous father: Take a closer look at the son.

updated: December 02, 2007 08:13 IST
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Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has a request for boxing fans who revere his famous father: Take a closer look at the son.

The 21-year-old Chavez (33-0 with one draw and 26 KOs) says he's ready for the biggest bout of his young career on Saturday night, meeting Ray Sanchez (20-1, 15 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight bout.

"You look at your career as steps," Chavez said through an interpreter. "This is another big step, a step that I hope will lead me where I want to go."

The elder Chavez is considered by many the greatest boxer of his era. He retired two years ago at age 43 with a record of 107 wins, two draws and six defeats with 86 knockouts, winning six world titles in three weight divisions.

"There's a lot of nostalgia for the old man, and the kid has caught people's attention," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. "Sanchez is the first big test for him, so there's a lot of interest."

The elder Chavez, who will attend the bout, said this fight offers a great measuring stick.

"My son should be able to (win) because he has trained real hard. We'll find out where he is," said Chavez. "This is the toughest fight in my son's career."

The career track for Chavez Jr has been cleared, no doubt, by his bloodlines.

The elder Chavez couldn't recall being in a televised bout until his 44th fight, his first world title opportunity.

The son has had almost all of his fights on TV, including this one on pay-per-view. Junior knows there are big gloves to fill, but he's comfortable carrying the hopes of millions of Mexican fans.

"There is a lot of pressure because of my name, because of who I am, but the expectations have been there the whole time," he said. "People expect me to be great every time out. I just expect to do my best."

Father and son use similar styles. Both agree Junior learned much from his father, incorporating training regimens and other elements.

"He inherited everything I have," the elder Chavez said. "In this fight, Julio is going to show everything he knows and everything he learned from me."

It won't come easy against Sanchez, who like Chavez views this contest as his own coming-out party.

The 24-year-old left-hander from Albuquerque built his reputation as an amateur. He narrowly missed a trip to the Sydney Olympics at 17, turned pro at 18, then was slowed by several stop-and-go periods.

Sanchez insisted he's been committed to boxing since his youth and predicted his amateur days will be the difference with Chavez.

There's no dispute he's the strongest puncher Chavez has faced.

"He's a great young fighter with an undefeated record," Sanchez said. "I expect a tough fight, but I'm too well prepared. I have too much experience. My experience and my skills are going to show."

Chavez also will be tested by the atmosphere at Tingley Coliseum.

Most of his fights have been in Mexico, and he's enjoyed vocal support from Mexican fans during undercard bouts in the United States.

This time, it's the main event, with the crowd behind Sanchez for the biggest fight in the southwestern American state of New Mexico since the heyday of Albuquerque boxers Johnny Tapia and Danny Romero some 10 years ago.