Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., (43-0-1, 30 Kos) the son of the Mexican ring legend of the same name passed his first legitimate test on June 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Chavez took on unbeaten WBC Middleweight Champion Sebastian Zbik (30-1, 10 Kos) in a round-round slugfest and did just enough to walk away with the German’s belt in a majority decision when the judges’ scorecards of 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112 were announced.
It was a hell of a fight, actually one of the best of the year so far and a lot of the credit for this can go to Zbik who came to America to fight for his title. Too many European champions make the trip across the Atlantic Ocean and then don’t perform up to par. But this guy started throwing bombs right from the opening bell in his first fight outside of Europe. The only problem for Zbik is that his punches don’t carry much power, as witnessed by his record of 10 Kos.
Chavez gave as good as he got as he was digging into the former champion’s body all night long, especially with the left hook. Zbik concentrated on head shots and landed dozens of beauties, but nothing hard enough to rock Chavez. Zbik out landed Chavez by quite a wide margin at 391 to 256, but Chavez’s punches seemed to carry more weight. However, one wonders if Chavez would have survived the attack if Zbik had more power.
Chavez has been accused of quite a few things already in his career, such as being lazy and living off the name of his famous father, but he’s unbeaten and can never be accused of being boring. He’s already had 44 pro fights and is only 25 years old, that’s not really the mark of a lazy fighter.
He does need to work on his defense though and that will probably be trainer Freddie Roach’s focus before his next fight. The only downside to that for fans is that he might not be as exciting, but it’s for his own good. Zbik nailed him with some solid shots flush to the jaw far too easily. Roach might also have to decide on what weight division is best for Chavez.
He made the middleweight limit of 160 lbs. at the weigh in, but came into the ring at 180 lbs, which means he bypassed the light heavyweight division and was fighting at the weight of a cruiserweight. Zbik came into the ring at 165 lbs., giving Chavez a 15 lb. advantage. But Chavez has only one knockout in his last eight fights, so the heavier he gets the more power he seems to lose.
The 29-year-old Zbik was basically given the WBC belt after the organization stripped legitimate champion Sergio Martinez of it a few months ago and most of his opponents are unrecognizable to American fans. It’s hard to tell just how good Zbik and Chavez are until they both fight somebody else. It was a move up in class for both of them, but they might not be able to handle the elite fighters of the division. Chavez, especially, wouldn’t be able to afford to get hit with clean shots from the likes of Martinez, while Zbik showed he can take a punch pretty well.
This fight could have gone either way and Chavez basically won it by just one round. A rematch should be welcomed by anybody who witnessed the fight.