There is so much on the line tomorrow night when Julio Cesar Chavez and Miguel Angel Gonzalez do battle on PPV from Mexico City, that the reverberations south of the border will be felt for some time to come.
You see, Julio Cesar Chavez is the great Mexican Icon. In fact, I would not be exaggerating Julio's popularity if I said his worshipers in Mexico were second only to Jesus Christ! But this national adulation will not win the fight for Chavez.
What will? Although my astute Oddsmaker Herb Lambeck foresees a Chavez victory, I think this is the end of the road for Julio. Of course, I have said that before. Against Frankie Randall the second time and when he faced Oscar De La Hoya in June of 1996 on Closed Circuit TV, I predicted Julio's demise.
And even though Julio was flat out getting his ass whipped by Randall in the encore match, some myopic judges and an obscure WBC "butt" rule that penalized Randall, enabled Chavez to have his undeserved hand raised.
Against De La Hoya, this great Mexican Icon entered the ring with a fifteen stitch cut that he covered up with make up and a bandanna at the pre fight meeting with the Nevada Athletic Commission doctors.
Why would Chavez show up for such an important fight with such a disadvantage? Because the little creep is not the hero the Mexican people think he is. Julio is a greedy little twit who could care less about his countrymen as he encouraged people to bet their money on him. And he did this knowing he had absolutely no chance of winning the fight!
Is this the action of a real hero? Or a thief?
Two years later, the WBC has once again propped up Julio as the #1 contender at 140 lbs. with the #2 guy being former WBC 135 lb. champ Miguel Angel Gonzalez who is 42-1, 32 KO's as a pro. The two are fighting for the belt De La Hoya vacated when he was awarded the WBC 147 lb. title with a decision over Pernell Whitaker last April.
Tomorrow night figures to be the end of the line for Julio who is 100-2-1, 82 KO's. Even Gonzalez can see the writing on the wall. "Julio has not looked good in several years. So how can anyone pick him to beat me."
"Chavez has had his day. This is mine. I intend to bury the legend of Julio Cesar Chavez on Saturday night. He knows it. I know it. People say it's nothing more than a formality" said Gonzalez. "But i think Julio will give it his all. It just won't be enough because he's fighting me."
I don't think it will be a cake walk for Miguel Angel per say. But i think that Julio's physical limitations, that include being unable to run hard on his arthritic left ankle without having it shot up with a numbing agent. This inability to turn on that lead leg and his eroded ring skills seem to make this a somewhat easy outing for Gonzalez.
Especially seeing Julio underwent surgery on his left elbow in the fall postponing this fight twice. Add to the equation the fact that Chavez hasn't fought since he struggled for 10 rounds last March against Tony Martin when he weighed 151 lbs.
There are some Mexicans who agree with me in assessing Chavez at the age of 35. At the Wednesday press conference Julio arrived clad in a pinstriped suit and checkered tie, a move that disappointed many who had showed up wanting to see Chavez was bin good shape. His choice of attire brought snickers from some members of the crowd as they wanted to see the Chavez in the flesh.
This anxiety in the Chavez faithful comes after reports that Julio had fled camp three and a half weeks ago. His rumored weight at the time was 162 lbs. this fight is at 140 lbs.
Although he won't admit it, Julio is feeling the heat. "People think I am all washed up. Gonzalez thinks I'm all washed up. I'll just say that my elbow is fully healed and I've never been as ready for a fight as I am this one. I realize that this fight will say a lot about whether I will continue to box professionally."
"If he doesn't run, I feel I can knock him out. If he runs, my task will be much more difficult. But I have been working very hard and I expect to win in dramatic fashion Saturday."
The concern by some is that the judges will be kind to the Icon. But this is a capable crew of officials. The WBC has appointed Mexican Guadalupe Garcia to be the referee.
Originally the three judges were Britain's Larry O'Connell, and Californians Marty Denkin and Chuck Hassett. But Denkin pulled out after under going emergency surgery recently.
Bottom line is that Chavez is 35 going on 85! The years of training on Budweiser and other poisons have taken away what little skill Chavez would normally have had left at his age.
Odds: 7-5 favoring Gonzalez. PREDICTION: Gonzalez TKO between rounds eight and ten.
LOPEZ VS ALVAREZ IS BATTLE OF UNBEATENS
The main support on this Don King Productions card will come from the best fighter in the world in Mexico's Ricardo Lopez. The WBC 105 lb. world champion is undefeated in his boxing life after having gone 41-0, as an amateur and is 46-0 (35 KO's) as a pro!
But Ricardo may be tested tonight for the first time in his 21 WBC title defenses as he takes on unbeaten WBA 105 lb. counterpart Rosendo Alvarez. The Nicaraguan is 24-0, with 16 wins coming inside the distance.
Oddsmaker Herb Lambeck of FLASH Magazine put it like this when setting the line that opened at 8-1, and is now closer to 6-1 favoring Lopez. "Division bogus-combatants genuine. Alvarez finest fighter to emerge from Nicaragua since 1968 when the immortal Alexis Arquello began to weave his magic on enthralled boxing world. Rosendo has scored road wins in Venezuela, Thailand, and Japan, but facing Lopez in Mexico a formidable task. Ricardo WBC poster boy. Generally acclaimed as one of sport's best. Lopez' reluctance to move up in weight has deprived him the mega paydays that Chikita Gonzalez and Michael Carbajal have earned. Lopez in tough, but impossible to pick against him."
That's it in a nutshell. Alvarez can fight, but how can you go against a guy who never lost a fight in his life? You can't!
CHICKS GET KO'D BEFORE OPENING BELL
The two womens bouts on the SET/KingVision card were scratched by the Mexico City boxing commission when they said they would stand by a 1946 law that prevented women from boxing. The law was intended to protect the reproductive organs of women who might want to fight.
The ridiculous and biased law prevents Christy Martin from facing Desiree Sanders, as well as Isra Gingrah from meeting Mexican women's champ Laura Serano who is hot and threatening to sue. "We can fight anywhere in Mexico, but not here in Mexico City? This is wrong."
WBC President Jose Sulaiman, considered by most the most powerful man in Mexican boxing circles, lobbied hard to include the women's bouts, but was rebuffed by the local commission.
The Pay Per View card will begin tomorrow night at 9 PM ET. In all five bouts will be shown on TV, with three being world title fights.
|Upcoming Fights||Current Champions||America Online Newsletter||Back to Main Page|
2.28.98 [Return to Top]