For Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., life as a professional boxer is grounded in a mixture of privilege and judgment. Such is the reality when one’s father is widely considered to be the greatest Mexican boxer in that country’s storied history of warrior pugilists.
Since he turned professional as a novice-level teenager in 2003, Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31 KOs) has been developed and matched at a snail’s pace in order to maximize his talent and profitability. Given Chavez Sr.’s legendary status, Junior had a built-in fanbase, and Top Rank—Chavez Jr.’s promoter—has done a masterful job of turning the young Mexican fighter into an economically viable pay-per-view attraction.
Such is the reality of Chavez Jr.’s charmed ascent towards the top of boxing’s financial heap. But what about his actual skills as a fighter? Or what about his absurd and carefully orchestrated status as the current WBC middleweight champion, when everyone with a shred of sense knows that Sergio Martinez is the true 160-pound king?
This is where the omnipresent judgment that clouds Chavez Jr.’s career comes into play.
Chavez Jr. has obviously been given opportunities that fighters with a less prestigious lineage would not have had. But to focus exclusively on this boxing version of nepotism skews the reality of a young fighter who has steadily improved since he turned pro.
While Chavez Jr. has not fought an abundance of quality fighters, he has been upping his level of opposition since he won the ridiculous WBC Silver title five fights ago. In ranking Chavez Jr.’s biggest wins, I decided to evaluate all of his “championship” fights based on the quality of opposition and Chavez Jr.’s overall performance.
As Chavez Jr. gets set to face Irish contender Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KOs)—his toughest opponent to date—at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas this Saturday, evaluating his biggest wins gives an indication that he just might be ready for the stern test Lee presents.