‘La Leyenda Continua’ is not just a nickname, but the Spanish turn of phrase which best describes the Saturday return to the ring of Mexican boxing super-middleweight enigma, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
He has been absent from the prize-fighting arena for two years, in his alst outing meekly contesting 12 rounds with his countryman, pound-for-pound king and pay-per-view superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in June 2015.
Chavez lost that fight 120-108 on all three judges’ scorecards and landed a total of only 71 punches. His caution led to jeers from the crowd and surprise from Alvarez who commented during the post-fight interview that ‘[Chavez] just wouldn’t do it.’ He wouldn’t throw punches.
Sitting within the unavoidable shadow of his father’s legendary Hall of Fame legacy, Chavez Jr has still forged an impressive 50-3-1 record and is the former WBC middleweight champion, a title he held between 2011-2012 and defended against credible opposition: Andy Lee, Marco Antonio Rubio, Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sebastian Zbik.
He has only lost to future Hall of Famers Sergio Martinez and Alvarez, and endured a disinterested off-night against Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara; yet still his reputation is pejoratively viewed as one of a fighter too distracted with externalities, too lacking in dedication to fulfil his evident talents and of one who is only afford multiple opportunities and favourability due to his father’s legacy and the subsequent saleability of his surname.
Kernels of truth may be underpinning these hard criticisms.
There have been weight struggles, failed drugs test for both performance-enhancing and recreational substances and many aborted comebacks; the most recent of which was proposed for December 2018 against Alfredo Angulo, a fight which was cancelled as Chavez Jr. reportedly missed a commission-ordered medical appointment, with he and his team also later confirming that he was not ready to fight.
Nine months later it appears Chavez Jr. is now ready, but questions regarding his weight and overall condition remain, with different outlets reporting the weight class of Saturday’s fight as being either at super middleweight (168 lbs) or light heavyweight (175 lbs). The opponent is confirmed as Colombian journeyman, Evert Bravo, who has fought at both weights previously; and enters the contest with a three loses in his last four fights.
Of those three loses, the fights went a combined four rounds; and his victory was against an opponent with a 0-1 record. He will be correctly announced on Saturday with a complete record of 25-10-1 (19 KO), yet in reality he isn’t a dangerous opponent for Chavez Jr. He is someone who is willing and superficially convincing; and will give Chavez Jr. a low risk opportunity to reshowcase his skills infront of a partisan 6000-capacity-crowd.
Dan Rafael has already reported that should Chavez Jr. prevail then he would be in the immediate running to face former middleweight champion, Danny Jacobs. Whether he would be ready or indeed deserving of that fight remains a debate for another time. The only thing that seems certain at the moment is that should Chavez Jr. win on Saturday night then ‘The Legend Continues’.