Tonight I coined a new phrase for hopelessness.
It should be used when there is no chance at success no matter the effort you put forth. Boxing fans, when you feel that a fighter is getting ripped off blatantly by the referee and he’s getting short-changed by the announcing team and then when it becomes obvious and the judges also choose the wrong man, you can say, “He didn’t stand a German’s chance in Southern California.”
I know, it harks back to a time when people used ethnicity as a determining factor for the outcome of situations. This is common in boxing, though. It is. I’m the first to admit that boxing is still a provincial sport, and that nationality and ethnicity still play a key factor in fan support in many instances.
In this vein, it’s boxing’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness at the same time. I like to think that I’ve not been susceptible to those kinds of sentiments. In fact, I can’t remember a time that I’ve ever rooted for a fighter for any reason other than I thought he was a good fighter and I want to see him continue fighting.
Honestly, tonight was no different. I am a white man and the overwhelming percentage of my ancestral heritage is that of German descent. I am proud of that. But I say this because I want to be sure that I make clear that what I'm saying has no basis in that of nationalism or ancestral pride.
Boxing, in my opinion, is about two men stepping in the ring and squaring off, and the winner is determined mano y mano, not because of a man’s heritage, or in this case, his name.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. didn’t win the fight against Germany’s Sebastian Zbik tonight. He won it when the fight was signed. HBO didn’t plan a boxing fight tonight. They planned a coronation. That much was obvious.
I’m going to stop short of saying that there was a company line that said “Back Chavez.” I don’t believe that. I just believe that it was his night and everything that he did was going to be accentuated, and that despite being the obviously smaller man in the ring, the German, Zbik, didn’t stand a chance. The HBO announcing team, including Harold Lederman, are human and they’re subject to the same shortcomings of all human beings. By that I mean that they too are subject to human foibles.
But how on earth does one man land 135 more punches over a 12-round fight and not win? Oh, did I mention that the fighter who landed 135 more punches over those 12 rounds did so at a much higher percentage than the man who actually won the fight? No? Well it’s true.
Not only did he land more punches at a higher connect rate than his opponent, but HBO also put up a graphic that showed that this very same man landed more punches in nine out of 11 rounds. So the argument can’t be made that the man who landed 135 more punches did so over a much smaller period of time.
I sure as hell don't know.
Let me pause and step outside of this rant, this diatribe and reiterate that I love Mexican boxing. I do. Unabashedly. I’ve said it before. I love the passion from the fans and more importantly, I love the passion from the fighters. In fact, I love Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr., I do. But when it comes to Julio Jr., the apple has fallen far from the tree. Undoubtedly.
You can’t blame the old man, though. He’s doing what any father would do. He says out loud that his son will be a great Mexican champion, and I’m sure that he believes it. What else would he say? Julio Jr. is after all a part of Julio Sr. and Julio Sr. was great. It’s probably very hard for him to accept that his son will never live up to the great Chavez name.
It’s become a joke, in all honesty. Chavez Jr. has fought no one outside of John Duddy and already has 43 wins? Come on. It shouldn’t be this way. Aaron Pryor Jr. wasn’t handed anything despite having his father’s good name, and he fights every month against guys he’s supposed to lose to, and he gets no mention. Pryor Jr. beat Librado Andrade last month, and it didn’t register anything anywhere. Chavez Jr. wins 43 times against tomato cans and gets a title shot and the announcers on HBO acted like he did great.
He shouldn’t have won the fight against Zbik. All I heard all night was that Chavez Jr. landed the harder body shots. OK. I didn’t know that body shots were the sum total in winning a fight. If that were the case, Mickey Ward would have been one of the greatest junior welterweights of all time. Jose Luis Castillo would have never lost. But tonight, body shots alone won the fight on the scorecards of the three judges at ringside, Harold Lederman and the entire HBO announcing crew. Body shots and the Chavez name, I mean.
So if we can tell anything from his past, get ready for Top Rank to set up a long line of, um, well, fighters of less than spectacular acumen to fight Chavez Jr. so he can defend his, um, well, title for a long time to come.
Don’t expect to see Chavez Jr. in with anyone of any consequence any time soon. I want so badly to say that Chavez Sr. would be turning over in his grave at the prospect, but it’s obvious he’ll be at ringside for every one of his son’s meaningless title defenses.
You can bet that any man he’s matched with for some time to come won’t have a "German’s chance in Southern California" of actually winning the fight.
Go ahead and use it. I allow you.