Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. embracing Freddie Roach's lessons
It's a union worth watching, this teaming of the underperforming but well-known Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and the man considered boxing's best trainer, Freddie Roach.
The pair has been hard at work at Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, with Chavez explaining Thursday, "Sometimes you don't know you have advantages until someone shows you. I was giving my advantage away."
Chavez was talking specifically about Roach's call for the boxer to use his jab more frequently and engage less in the brutal inside exchanges that made his father, Mexico's legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., so popular.
Chavez Jr. (40-0-1) has a 73-inch reach, which he says he intends to make an issue in his June 26 middleweight match against Ireland's John Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs) as the main event of the pay-per-view "Latin Fury 15" at San Antonio's Alamodome.
"People want me to take on these challenges, and I do too," said Chavez, who claimed a lackluster unanimous decision over Troy Rowland on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas that was later tainted by Chavez's seven-month suspension for fighting with a banned diuretic in his system. "That's why I came in here, to have someone tell me what to do."
Chavez's promoter, Bob Arum, admitted he had grown frustrated by lethargic performances and prior training-camp reports that Chavez was "a lazy guy. It was terrible. Because he was Chavez Jr., he told the people [training] him what to do, instead of the other way around. That's not how boxing works. I admit he'd been something of a disappointment.
"If I was sending that old Chavez in there against the [relentless, hard-punching] Duddy, he'd have got his [rear] kicked."
Roach expressed some concern that he has missed some critical training time in taking on the Duddy challenge -- "In a perfect world, we'd have a tuneup fight before Duddy," Roach said -- but noted he's "very pleased with Chavez's work ethic. The rumors of him being lazy, I haven't seen.
"When he decided to come here, he knew what he was getting into. Either he's out to impress me, or impress the world that he's a better fighter than he's shown. He does know boxing, and I believe he has one of the best jabs in the world."
-- Lance Pugmire