Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. started off slow, but in the end he came through in spectacular style, beating Andy Lee via TKO in Round 7 of their WBC middleweight title bout.
Lee came out looking to be the aggressor early in the fight, as he jumped out to an early lead on the scorecards.
As the fight went on, Chavez Jr. picked up the pace and became increasingly active and started to land power shots on Lee, rocking him a few times before the seventh round.
Chavez explained his slow start during the post-fight press conference saying that he suffered leg cramps early in the fight and had to wait until they wore off before he could get going.
At the time of the stoppage in the seventh round, all three judges had Lee ahead in the bout 58-56—I had it even at 57-57 at that point—so Chavez Jr. could have been in for a not-so-pleasant decision if the fight were to last the entire 12 rounds and let the bout be decided by the judges.
Chavez Jr. gave credit to his dad, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. after the win, only fitting as Father's Day was just a few hours away after the bout. Chavez Jr said, " Now you see who did I get everything from. The heart, the talent, the strong ba--s, the cajones from; my father."
At the post-fight presser, Top Rank president Bob Arum and promoter Lou Di Bella announced that the much-speculated bout between Chavez Jr. and The Ring and WBC diamond middleweight champ, Sergio Martinez, will indeed take place at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. on September 15.
Chavez explained what he needs to do in order to beat Martinez, "What I need to do is move more, be faster...I want to thrown more punches, I want to throw more punches than he does."
The same day down the street from the Thomas and Mack at the MGM Grand will be another big fight going on with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez taking on Victor Ortiz, on one of the biggest fight weekends of the year during Mexican Independence Day.
Arum thought thought his Chavez Jr-Martinez card would be successful even with the Alvarez-Ortiz bout happening the same night.
"It is Mexican Independence Day and therefore a lot of Mexicans will be coming to Las Vegas, but the reason the casinos are excited is because of the Argentine element." Arum went on to say, "The casino hosts tell us that some of the best customers who aren't Asian are the Argentines. They really are expecting a couple of thousand at least, Argentinians coming to watch the Argentine fight."
It is obvious that the bout will be a success even with stiff competition down the road and the city of Las Vegas will be the world's fighting hub on September 15.
In all, Chavez Jr. showed that he had the heart to stop the toughest opponent so far in his 48-fight career. If he can avoid a slow start for whatever reason against Martinez, he has a real shot at taking down the ESPN No. 3 pound-for-pound-ranked champ come September.
Mick Akers is a Boxing Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand via post-fight press conference.