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Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and 12 Fighters Who Weren't as Good as Their Dads

Jon ValeContributor IIIJuly 20, 2011

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and 12 Fighters Who Weren't as Good as Their Dads

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    You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.

    Wise words, as all those who have spent holidays in the midst of a domestic battlefield as their mum’s best china flies inches over their head can undoubtedly testify.

    The fighters on this list in particular all have valid claims to be cursing their genetic misfortune.

    All talented boxers in their own right, the following slideshow includes a number of top contenders, prospects and even the odd world champion.

    However, the common denominator they all share is that as good as they are, their old man was just a little bit better.

    One thing is for certain—family gatherings in these houses certainly wouldn’t be boring.

1. Roberto Duran Jr.

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    The oldest son of the legendary Roberto Duran, it seems his father’s fighting spirit didn’t really rub off on the fighter, who took to the ring under the moniker of "El Chavo."

    Campaigning as a welterweight, Duran Jr. only made his pro debut in 2000 at the tender age of 26—his dad was already a 61-fight veteran by the time he turned 26.

    It soon became clear that Duran Jr. was never in danger of having more fights than his reputable father.

    Having won his first fight in South Africa by unanimous decision, he did a spot of globe trotting and managed to squeeze in another five fights in the next 30 months, sampling life in the boxing rings of Argentina, America and Panama in the process.

    His sporadic boxing career finally came to an end in April 2004, where "El Chavo" lost his unbeaten record against Nicasio Sanchez, whose win tally doubled as a result of this scalp.

2. Hector Camacho Jr.

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    A former American amateur champion at light-welterweight, Camacho looked set to follow in his father’s illustrious footsteps as he raced to a 34-0 record, capturing the NABA light-welterweight title and the WBC Youth title along the way.

    Yet issues with weight started to affect the young Puerto Rican, who spent the next few years fluctuating between 147 and 168 pounds.

    While he kept winning, the earlier brilliance wasn’t there in the higher weight classes, and his sluggish displays eventually caught up with him, as he suffered a knockout defeat against Andrey Tsurkan for the vacant NABF light-middleweight title in 2006.

    He has since settled as a middleweight, though, and actually put a good run of form together, going unbeaten for three years before the heavy-handed David Lemieux knocked him out in the first round at the back end of last year.

    Now 32, it seems Camacho Jr. will never reach the heights of his three-weight world champion dad.

3. Ross Minter

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    The son of Britain’s former world middleweight king Alan Minter, the young welterweight was always going to struggle to live up to the vast talent of a father who only lost his world title when put up against "Marvellous" Marvin Hagler.

    Despite being susceptible to cuts, Minter made a steady start to life in the pro game, winning the English welterweight title and looking good doing so.

    The step up from domestic class, though, wasn’t so smooth.

    He was stopped against decent American Freddy Curiel (who had previously been beaten by Hector Camacho Jr.) before former world title challenger Michael Jennings also gave Minter a pretty thorough beating.

    A third defeat in a row, against Nigel Wright in the "Prizefighter" competition, appears to have spelt the end for Minter, who has yet to return to the competitive boxing ring.

4. John and Julius Jackson

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    These brothers are among boxing’s hottest prospects and happen to be descended from excellent fighting heritage, with dad Julian renowned as one of the modern era's biggest punchers.

    Both went to the Olympics in 2008, representing the Virgin Islands, and both have started their lives as professional fighters with perfect records. 

    John, 22, went to Beijing as a welterweight but now campaigns at light-middleweight and appears to have inherited his father’s punching power, with nine of his 10 wins coming by way of knockout.

    Big brother Julian, 23, is a super-middleweight who prefers a more technical style of boxing, fighting behind a jab rather than adopting the powerhouse tactics favoured by his father and brother.

    With their dad winning world titles in two weight classes, it remains to be seen whether John or Julian can do the same.

5. George Foreman III

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    Besides giving the world a lean mean fat reducing grilling machine, the legendary George Foreman has also spawned a very promising heavyweight boxer.

    It is important to stress though that at this stage it remains merely promise.  Now 28, George Foreman III has only been involved in 12 professional contests, with his decision to take up the fight game coming late in life following a youth spent at college and on reality TV.

    This is in stark contrast to his father, whose own formative years were spent fighting on the streets and in the ring.

    George Jr. is making steady progress.  He is yet to taste defeat in his fledgling career, and at 6’5”, he certainly has the natural athletic ability to make it among today’s lofty heavyweights.

    Plus, let’s not forget his dad became heavyweight champion at the record-breaking age of 45—by those standards, George Foreman III has plenty of time to reach the heights of world heavyweight champion.

6. Aaron Pryor Jr.

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    There have been few more awesome sights in boxing rings of recent years than that of Aaron Pryor swarming all over his opponent, with that epic first encounter against Alexis Arguello sure to live long in the memory.

    While Pryor Sr. was certainly a whirlwind, Aaron Pryor Jr. is unfortunately more of gentle breeze.

    A Cincinnati Golden Gloves champion, Pryor Jr. enjoyed a steady career as a middleweight before two poor losses against journeyman Josh Snyder and Julius Kennedy led to Pryor Jr. moving up to super-middleweight.

    He has done OK since the move, losing only to unbeaten American Edwin Rodriguez, and in his last outing, he did well to beat former world title challenger Librado Andrade on points.

    He is certainly as close to the sport’s elite as he ever has been, but is still some way off the frightening level achieved by his father.

7. Carlos De Leon Jr.

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    From the boxing hotbed of Puerto Rico, super-middleweight Carlos De Leon Jr. has a tough task if he is to emulate a father who rightfully earned the hallowed boxing nickname of "Sugar."

    In a 20-year career, Carlos De Leon shared a ring with the likes of Evander Holyfield, Leon Spinks and Corrie Sanders and was considered one of the world’s top cruiserweights for over a decade.

    "Baby Sugar," however, was not quite as sweet.  Despite possessing the same silky skills as his father, De Leon Jr. didn’t really have the chin to compete at the very top, and this frailty was unfortunately found out on the biggest night of his boxing life.

    Allan Green was the man in the opposite corner, and the former world title challenger gave "Baby Sugar" a boxing lesson, knocking the Puerto Rican down four times in the second round before the referee mercifully stepped in.

    Unsurprisingly, De Leon Jr. hasn’t stepped inside a boxing ring since.

8. James McGirt Jr.

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    While many will know his dad James "Buddy" McGirt for his outstanding work as a trainer, it is easy to forget that Buddy was actually a two-weight world champion in his fighting prime.

    Titles at light-welterweight and welterweight were no easy feat in the late 80s, with Buddy gaining credible wins over the likes of Howard Davis Jr. as well as acquitting himself superbly against the truly outstanding Pernell Whittaker. 

    But it is as a trainer that Buddy has really distinguished himself, with fighters such as Antonio Tarver, Vernon Forrest and Paul Malignaggi all calling McGirt boss.

    His son James is another who calls upon his vast experience.  A decent domestic-level super-middleweight, McGirt Jr. has a notable win over Stephan Pryor (Aaron Pryor’s son), but on the other hand, was beaten by Carlos De Leon Jr. in 2008.

    Plus, last time out, McGirt Jr. suffered a knockout defeat at the hands of Edwin Rodriguez for the vacant USNBC super-middleweight title, although at just 28 years old, he certainly has time to progress up to world level.

9. Darrell Spinks

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    As part of the amazing Spinks dynasty, the closest thing boxing has to a royal family, Darrell’s lack of success means he is consigned to the role of family screw-up.

    Father Leon Spinks was an Olympic gold medallist and heavyweight world champion. Uncle Michael won both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight world championships, while Brother Cory won world titles as a welterweight and light-middleweight.

    Darrell’s career was much less spectacular.  His attempts to establish himself as both a cruiserweight and light-heavyweight brought little joy, with the highlight coming in 1999 where he won the NABO light-heavyweight title.

    It didn’t last long.  His next two fights ended in defeat for the brave but limited Spinks, who lacked the speed and finesse that was so prominent in every other member of boxing’s premier family.

10. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.

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    Another talent to emerge off the seemingly endless production line from Puerto Rico, former world champion Vazquez Jr. still has a long way to go if he wishes to emulate his father.

    Vazquez Sr. was a titan of the lower divisions throughout the 80s and 90s.

    He competed at world level for over 12 years, winning word titles in three separate weight classes across a distinguished 68-fight career.

    Vazquez Jr. initially looked capable of surpassing his dad, having won the vacant WBO super-bantamweight title and defended it twice with two impressive knockout wins.

    But it all came unstuck earlier this year on the Pacquiao v Mosley undercard, where perennial warhorse Jorge Arce simply outfought Vazquez Jr. to rip the title away from a man many thought was destined for greatness.

    If he isn’t able to show more fighting heart in the future, there will be no disputing his dad’s position as the family’s top fighter.

11. Ronald Hearns

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    Ronald was always going to have a difficult task trying to follow in the footsteps of Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns, although the job was made even harder because of his father’s initially pessimistic attitude towards his son’s desire to get into boxing.

    Tommy banned Ronald from all the local boxing gyms so he could concentrate on his education, and the degree in Criminal Justice suggests the move paid off.

    However, dad did eventually let the boxing bug bite Ronald and what an impact it had, with Ronald winning the national amateur middleweight title in 2004.

    He quickly settled into life as a professional, working his way up the ladder and eventually into a world title shot against long-time champion Felix Sturm.

    It was a step too far, though.  Sturm totally outclassed Hearns from the first bell before eventually knocking him out in the seventh round to hand the American the second defeat of his career.

    Perhaps if Tommy had let Ronald start boxing from a younger age, the result could have been different.

12. Marvis Frazier

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    Legacy can sometimes be the cruellest blow to any sportsmen, and poor old Marvis Frazier is a prime example.

    A world amateur champion at under 19 level, an excellent amateur record of 56-2 and a decent pro career all unfortunately count for nothing for the son of Smokin’ Joe Frazier, whose career will only really be remembered for his total failure on the biggest stage.

    Against both Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson, the two top heavyweights of Frazier’s era, he was unceremoniously battered, losing by first round knockout to both men while his proud father looked on from ringside.

    Following his defeat at the hands of Tyson, Frazier did win a further three fights but it was merely consolation for a man who was found to be lacking in the cut-throat stakes of world-class boxing.

    He was never destined to scale the heights reached by his illustrious father, and he now practises as a Pentecostal minister.

13. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

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    On the face of it, Chavez Jr. appears to have the world at his feet.

    A world middleweight title at the age of 25, a near-perfect 43-fight record with only one draw to blemish it coupled with his place among Freddie Roach’s elite stable of fighters should mark him out as one of world boxing’s most exciting talents.

    Yet as is so often the case with this sport, the facts don’t tell the whole story.

    There is no doubting that Chavez has been ‘delicately’ managed throughout his career, with his promoter Bob Arum always keen for his Mexican marketing sensation to avoid the division’s biggest hitters in favour of fighting the likes of Billy Lyell and John Duddy.

    Plus the performances haven’t been great, with countless close decisions going the way of the man with the famous name, chief of which came in his recent victory over Sebastian Zbik to claim the WBC middleweight title.

    The boxing world is already growing restless with Chavez Jr. – how long he can survive at the top off the back of his father’s legendary name remains to be seen.

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