All Pictures: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
The elite championship card at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday, February 4 featured a pulsating double main event, however, there were ten match-ups altogether and, with a mean average of 63 percent knockout ratio for the ten pre-fight favourites, it was unsurprising that there was bruising, swelling, cuts, marks and even knockdowns collectively suffered by the beaten fighters. On The Beak photographer Stacey Verbeek had the perfect view inside the Texan facility as Ivan Najera, Wale Omotoso, Vanes Martirosyan and Juan Saucedo were all snapped in combat…
Teenage Texan Najera moved to 6-0-0, 5ko with a thumping victory over David Castillo. Najera has only once been taken the distance, but it was a bout he was dominant in and emerged with a 40-35 scoreline for four rounds of heavy leather firing against Jerry Fuentes in December. Castillo was felled twice in round two, prior to the inevitable stoppage.
Tall welterweight Wale Omotoso has an ability to beat opponents down into a brutal submission and, even though his alignment with Nestor Rosas was a step sideways, he defeated – and halted – who was in front of him; a Mexican who had gone five rounds with Victor Ortiz in 2006. Omotoso, though, required six to stop Rosas but improved to 21-0-0, 18ko.
The gulf in class between Vanes Martirosyan (32-0-0, 20ko) and Troy Lowry (28-12-0, 17ko) was as obvious as contender versus club fighter. Martirosyan dropped Lowry in the first and stopped him in the third and the picture to the left demonstrates how easy it was for the talent-rich 25-year-old to find holes in Lowry’s guard and launch his fists through them.
Against Lowry, Vanes – nicknamed the Nightmare – showed off a good jab, a powerful right hand and solid, swift combination-punching, often in three-shot bursts. Lowry threw little back but what he did return, Martirosyan mostly evaded due to upper body movement and foot skills.
For his next bout, Martirosyan could face the victor in the upcoming belter between James Kirkland and Carlos Molina in what would be a final eliminator for the WBC version of the world championship at the 154lb weight limit, currently held by popular youngster Saul Alvarez.
Tommy Barber – London
Juan Manuel Marquez has indicated that he was a victim of a robbery last night, November 12, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The proud Mexican, who went 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao for the third time in his life, felt aggrieved at learning he had lost a majority decision to the Filipino fighter despite producing the more superior work in the ring on the night, as reported by On The Beak here.
“I got robbed,” said Marquez, in protest at the scores of 114-114, 115-113, 116-112 that the three ringside judges handed in.
Pictured above with fellow Mexican and former two-weight world champion Jesus Chavez (now a respected trainer out of the popular Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas), Marquez (53-6-1, 39ko) stated that a boxer’s job is made that much harder when he is forced to fight not only his opponent, but three others also.
“I don’t know what else I can do to win. I’m really, really frustrated,” Yahoo Sports quote him to have said. “I don’t know what I have to do for the judges to win this fight. It’s hard when you’re fighting your rival and three judges too.”
It is not the first time Marquez felt injustice at the hands of the judges when fighting his arch rival and this latest ‘robbery’ has made the 38-year-old ponder his future within the sport: “The result of this fight has me thinking of retirement,” he explained.
“This fight was the biggest of my career,” added the Aztec warrior. “I prepared so hard. We wanted the judges to score this fight the way it happened, not how they scored it.
“I was preparing for somebody in my corner to raise me and take me around the ring but I was surprised again, surprised by the judges,” Marquez said in a concluding statement.
Alan Dawson – London
Erik Morales… a first ballot hall-of-famer, a natural fighter – it is said he was even born in a boxing gym, enjoyed 117 amateur fights, 59 professional bouts, was successful in 18 world championship contests whilst also sharing the ring with 14 title challengers and 17 world champions; two of them thrice and another twice. There is little doubting the man is a ring legend who has just punctuated his legacy by becoming the first from his country, Mexico, to claim major honours in four separate weight divisions. On The Beak details his greatest hits…
Championship winning fights
1997: WBC super bantamweight title – Daniel Zaragoza (55-7-3, 28ko pre-fight record)
Morales scooped his first world honour at his first attempt after already collecting domestic prizes as both Mexican and NABF champion. Having first laced-up gloves as a five-year-old in 1981 he went on to amass 11 major amateur awards in his homeland before competing in his first pro prizefight at 16. He was just 21 when he took on Zaragoza… a veteran at 39 who was making the sixth defence of his third reign as a 122lb champ, and had already despatched of gritty Northern Irishman; Wayne McCullough.
Morales was not as polished as he was during his eventual pomp. He was a brawler at the time and, as comes with the territory of slugging, was caught by incoming shots from Zaragoza’s loaded guns – most notably the right cross. Morales’ will and fighting spirit prevailed over Zaragoza’s experience and ring nous and Erik claimed the win in the penultimate round, stopping the two-weight world champ with a one-two combination; a head-bound orthodox jab followed by an overhand right guided direct onto the solar plexus. Zaragoza sat on his backseat; loathe to make the count.
“This really isn’t a sad death of a king, so much a passing of the torch to a new generation,” HBO commentator Larry Merchant aptly stated post-fight. That torch is something Morales supposedly relinquished to Manny Pacquiao, during their second and third fights in 2006, but his stubborn comeback in 2010 and subsequent fights has ensured he remains competitive with the super lightweight elite.
He made nine successful defences of the WBC title as well as annexing Barrera’s WBO belt.
2001: WBC featherweight title – Guty Espadas Jr (33-2-0, 21ko pre-fight record)
Morales loved declaring war and relished the fights where his opponents returned fire with fire. Espadas Jr, who was trained by Ignacio Beristain at the time, provided Morales with a grueling 12-round battle. Guty had a granite chin and powerful pop in his punches. Morales was undefeated going into the bout but was seen as something of an underdog, however, he began his fight against Espadas Jr in strong fashion by utilising the jab from good range and bombarding Guty with triple hook shots.
It was not long before the two exchanged blows from the inside, trading hooks, uppercuts and body shots. The end of the second round seemed ruthless from the outside as two proud Mexicans went gung-ho within the space of a phone box. Espadas Jr’s conditioning was sterling, he came on strong in the second half of the fight and, even though the double-hard Morales won by way of unanimous decision, the scoring is considered debatable due to the way the fight finished – with Espadas Jr in the ascendancy and Morales on the backfoot.
When speaking with ringtv.com, Morales rated the brutality and toughness of his trench-fought combat with Espadas Jr in the same league as the marquee slobberknockers he will forever be synonymous with: the trilogies with Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera, together with his trumping of Wayne McCullough, In-Jin Chi and Jesus Chavez.
With the points win, Morales was a confirmed two-weight world champion and made one successful defence, lost his title to Barrera in their second fight (again, under debatable scoring), before reclaiming the vacant title against Paulie Ayala as Barrera refused to accept the championship. After Ayala, Morales defended the featherweight crown a further two times.
2004: WBC super featherweight title – Jesus Chavez (40-2-0, 28ko pre-fight record)
If the distance fight with Espadas Jr was a two-way thumping from the trenches then Morales’ epic with Chavez was violence in the streets as both boxers suffered angry cuts. Defending champion Chavez stuck accurate combinations onto Morales in the second round but El Terrible responded resoundingly by dropping Jesus twice.
Chavez injured his shoulder early, though, and was inhibited by the injury, minimising his ability to throw power punches with his right. The crowd were in raptures by the fight’s end… on their feet, praising a warrior-like performance from both combatants.
Morales won more decisively against Chavez than he did versus Espadas Jr, but he was able to erase any doubt of that fight as he teekayoed Guty in the third round of a WBC eliminator, contested immediately prior to gaining a title in his third weight class.
By snaring Chavez’s super featherweight belt, Morales became only the second Mexican to reach the zenith of three divisions – second only after all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr (and later to be joined by Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Fernando Montiel).
2011: WBC super lightweight title – Pablo Cesar Cano (21-0-1, 17ko pre-fight record)
The overhand right – the punch that Erik had allowed to repeatedly leak through his armour and land on his head in his very first championship fight – was this time used effectively by Morales against effervescent challenger Cano.
The 21-year-old troubled the veteran warhorse early on as Morales failed to find rhythm, however, using all his savvy ring craft, Morales sought to aggravate the cuts on Cano’s face… his head stained with a claret splatter leaving his corner with the tough decision to pull the young buck out of the fight before the eleventh round.
Observers point to the dubious nature of the fight having world championship status as Timothy Bradley was stripped by the WBC due to “inactivity” and instead labeled a “champion in recess”. Morales had already endured an ebb-and-flow fight with Marcos Maidana that On The Beak scored a 114-114 but the ringside judges had it as a majority decision for Maidana. Morales was then due to box Lucas Matthysse, another tortuously tough puncher from Argentina, but withdrew late due to injury, leaving the WBC having to push Cano as the replacement.
Despite the politics, Morales achieved what no other Mexican had before him… stormed to another major honour in a fourth division.
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, 2008sALINAs)
1998: WBC super bantamweight defence – Junior Jones (44-3-0, 26ko pre-fight record)
Blessed with great technique, Junior Jones headed into his fight with champion Morales having an extraordinary record of 34-0-0 against Mexicans – two of those wins against Barrera. Morales pulled one back for his country by staggering Jones on multiple occasions before knocking him down and claiming a technical knockout win in the fourth.
2000: WBC/WBO super bantamweight unification – Marco Antonio Barrera (49-2-0, 36ko pre-fight record)
The first installment of a three-part series resulted in a win for Morales, although it was seen somewhat as an unofficial win for Barrera. The result, though, was reversed in the second fight as Barrera got the official nod despite Morales appearing to produce the superior work. The 2000 fight was hailed as the outright fight of the year winner as it was non-stop action.
Morales commented after: “He was brave… we both gave it all we had. We were both hurt. He was the biggest puncher I ever faced in the ring.”
2001: WBC featherweight defence – In-Jin Chi (21-1-0, 14ko pre-fight record)
Another all-out bullet-laden slaughter with Morales firing continuously at an opponent who may as well have been clad with a ballistic vest under his chest and a steel plate over his jaw. Chi had great chutzpah, was a forward-stepper but docked a point in the tenth for a litter of fouls. Morales finished the fight with his left eye swollen shut – the catalyst an accidental clash of heads.
Out of all his opponents, it is Chi who had Morales’ respect for his resistance: “That was one very tough guy,” he reflected one day to thering.tv. “I should have knocked him out with the number of hard punches I landed to his chin but he just kept coming forward.”
2005: Minor super featherweight titles – Manny Pacquiao (39-2-2, 30ko pre-fight record)
Morales also fought a trilogy with Pacquiao and, currently, can lay claim to be the last man to defeat the Filipino pound-for-pound king. Their 2005 duel was the first time they crossed swords, with Pacquiao trumping Morales by way of knockout – twice – in 2006.
It was another highly-anticipated fight and it didn’t disappoint on the night as it was a high-tempo battle, an edge-of-the-seat thriller… Morales displayed his true grit by taking punishment early on, emerging second best throughout each of the opening three rounds, but found his groove and dominated the middle and latter stages.
“I was controlling everything and I threw a good left jab. I knew he was fast but my ring [knowledge] was able to control everything he had… I wanted to punish him,” he said post-fight; comments rarely heard from an opponent Pacman has faced.
Alan Dawson – London
Like he has done throughout his 41-fight professional career, Floyd Mayweather Jr will prevail – by way of decision – over a game Victor Ortiz despite his so-called problems outside the ring, according to trainer Jesus Chavez, who fought Mayweather Jr in a 2001 war. Speaking exclusively to On The Beak, Chavez talked tactics ahead of Ortiz’s first defence of his WBC welterweight world championship against challenger Mayweather Jr on Saturday, September 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas.
Much has been made of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s mentality. He acts bonkers and irrationally, according to his former promoter Bob Arum – founder of Top Rank. He’s got some well-documented legal problems and a now highly-publicised strained relationship with his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr, who is alleged to have attempted to use a one-year-old baby Floyd as a shield when he was shot in the 1970s. Those who opine that Mayweather Jr’s apparent questionable mental state will affect him this weekend against Ortiz need look no further than his unwavering dedication to training, inspirational work-rate and his determination to protect his zero.
“If it seems for some reason that he is not 100 percent focused on the fight or he is taking Ortiz lightly then that’s counter-productive,” top trainer Jesus Chavez exclusively told On The Beak editor Alan Dawson. Chavez (44-8-0, 30ko) is a master of his craft. A champion of the sport having won major world honours in the super featherweight and lightweight division, the 38-year-old now spends six days a week passing on his wisdom to students of the sport at the flourishing Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas, Texas. Chavez also knows Mayweather Jr. Both as an athlete and as a man.
In 2001, Chavez dropped a ninth round retirement to Mayweather Jr (41-0-0, 25ko). It was Chavez’s first shot at a world championship having long reigned over the NABF title in the 130lb weight class. Because of Chavez’s battling display – his aggression in the opening three rounds ensured he won two of the first three on HBO broadcaster Harold Lederman’s scorecard – Mayweather Jr’s come-from-behind triumph over Chavez is still, to this day, considered to be one of Floyd’s most exciting. Ten years on, Mayweather Jr and Chavez still keep in touch, with the former making sure to call his friend Jesus whenever he is to make a stop in the Lone Star State.
“Quite honestly, Mayweather has always been very flamboyant,” continued Chavez. “He has always been the same Floyd Mayweather who hangs out around 5am and does what he does, but he pulls the work together and comes up with the win. It’s quite amazing,” he paused, and the three-word sentence lingered in my mind. “There’s a lot of good and bad being said about him but at the end of the day he’s winning his fights!”
Something I had noticed during Mayweather Jr’s numerous open media workouts was that he had a keen focus on the midsection of the heavy bag, as well as beating-up Leonard Ellerbe’s body protector. I asked Chavez that even though Ortiz (29-2-2, 22ko) has mainly been knocked down by a focus to his chin, would there be merit in attacking Victor’s body in order to sap him of energy, quieten his pressure and perhaps secure a late stoppage when Floyd then pays full attention to the chin and temples.
“The bodywork could work against Ortiz,” said Chavez. “Ortiz can’t really play into what Mayweather is doing. Ortiz should be focusing only on how he’s going to fight Mayweather. You train your hardest and you train to expect something in return. Ortiz won’t underestimate Floyd by any chance as he’s a wrecking force. He surprised me when he fought Ricky Hatton and knocked him out… up until that point I never thought he had the power to knock him out. I gave him more respect.
“Against Ortiz… he’s a very good fighter and he’s been stopped, he’s been cut in the past and I think the times when Ortiz sees blood he kinda shies out of the fight,” he added, referring to his notorious stoppage loss to Marcos Maidana. “If he sees blood coming out of a small cut or his nose, I think that might turn the fight for Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather will box and fight the way he regularly boxes until his opponents get frustrated and bite the bullet at the end.”
When Hatton returned home to England after losing a technical knockout to Mayweather Jr in 2007, he commented on how surprised he was at Mayweather Jr’s ability to fight effectively on the inside. Two of the punches that Floyd utilised well whilst fighting from close range with both Hatton and Chavez were the left hook, but also the right uppercut.
“The uppercut was one of the things I kept on getting caught with [against Mayweather Jr],” Chavez said. “I remember because I was there. I was not hurt but they caught me by surprise. My head was getting knocked back and you’re like oh my god this guy [me] is getting nailed.”
He continued: “One of Mayweather’s best attributes is his defensive skill… he’s going to make you throw and make you miss. Missing takes a lot more out of the opponent than it does to hit a glove or connect the punch. The offensive fighter who misses the punch has to reposition himself, his body and then think what punches he’s going to throw next.
“[The key to] Fighting Floyd Mayweather is to make him fight,” Chavez stressed onto me. “Mayweather doesn’t like to fight, you have to make him, to push him. Mayweather is going to have to respect Ortiz. Ortiz is going to have to try to beat him, not be shy about getting hit, getting cut and make it a dirty fight in order to have a good chance to win.”
Speaking of dirty… it’s been one of the things Ortiz’s trainer Danny Garcia has accused Mayweather Jr of being, of using his elbow illegally to gain an edge, particularly against Hatton in 07. Were cheap shots something Chavez had ever experienced when fighting Floyd? “No,” he answered swiftly.
“If they think his elbow is his biggest weapon then they’re in trouble! Every fight is different. If pulling off his elbow was going to be a mechanism… if Ricky Hatton is crashing into it, that’s just that fight. That’s not his only defensive move or dangerous move, if you’re training for that then you have to worry about if it’s going to be the left or right elbow, but don’t forget he also has two punching gloves!”
One of Ortiz’s main advantages going into Star Power will be that he is naturally the bigger man. Despite being relatively inexperienced as a welterweight fighter, he showed against Andre Berto – himself a cut and athletic 147lb campaigner – that it was he who was the bigger man as he looked, on fight night, a strong junior middleweight. With that added mass he had the upper hand when he and Berto attempted to out-bully the other during their fight of the year nominee earlier this year. Ortiz was the successor, won the WBC title and now a shot at Floyd.
How important will fight night weight be against Mayweather Jr? “I think he should come into the fight feeling comfortable with the weight,” Chavez said, implying that there should not be too big a focus on Garcia striving for Ortiz to rehydrate to, say, 157lbs. “He should feel good physically, only he knows, we can say that he can have more weight so he’ll be better off but it’s him who needs to feel comfortable. First of all and foremost he has to feel good about himself. He does not need to worry about the weight, just go in there and do the job.”
In Mayweather Jr’s most recent outing, a 2010 decisioning over Shane Mosley, Sugar had Floyd staggered (but not down) with a right handed power punch early on, however, Mayweather Jr recovered sufficiently and went on to win a landslide victory. Against Ortiz, the ability to absorb a punch when they do connect will be crucial. Because many commentators focus on Mayweather’s pure defensive skills, is his courage something that is perhaps under-rated? “I think his courage is under-rated,” Chavez said in agreement.
“I underestimated Mayweather up until the point he fought Hatton. Not when I fought him, I didn’t have that mentality. I go into fights with the mentality of giving it my all, my best. I don’t think either fighter will get underestimated [on Saturday].”
Considering the skills on display, respective training camps, championship level experience, how did Chavez envisage the match-up between Mayweather Jr and Ortiz panning out? “Mayweather will win, probably by decision.”
Alan Dawson – London
Decorated warhorse Erik Morales returns to the battlefield on Saturday, September 17 against a late addition to the Star Power line-up; unheralded and undefeated Mexican prizefighter Pablo Cesar Cano. Lucas Matthysse was initially slated to box Morales for the WBC super lightweight championship, but even though replacement Cano is a largely unknown quality to a US audience, former two-weight world titlist Jesus Chavez has warned that the hunger of youth cannot be under-estimated.
“Cano is the kind of fighter who has fought in Mexico all his career, never been outside of Mexico,” Chavez, a former champion of the WBC super featherweight crown and the IBF lightweight title, explained exclusively to On The Beak editor Alan Dawson.
A 21-year-old with a domestic belt already wrapped around his waist, El Demoledor (The Demolition Man) has thus far lived up to his moniker as he has stopped three out of every four opponents thus far in his fledgling career. Chavez said that taking his game to the States, in boxing’s capital – Las Vegas – no less, could be both a blessing and a damnation.
Cano could retreat inside himself under the bright lights, but it’s a step his management may have decided upon in order to take him out of his comfort zone, Chavez said. “Fighting in Vegas will be a bit more intimidating, but that may have been the reason for taking him out of his element. He’s an unknown fighter, he’s fought lesser calibre opponent than Morales,” he noted.
A 38-year-old currently coaching boxers at the Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas, Chavez (44-8-0, 30ko) enjoyed an illustrious professional career that saw him attract multiple accolades as well as sharing the ring with a number of boxing’s most well-known names. One of those, was Morales (51-7-0, 35ko).
In a spirited performance from both fighters where punches were traded within the space of a phone box for the lion’s share of a 2004 distance ruckus, Morales won a unanimous decision over Chavez and became a three-weight world champion by wresting the WBC super featherweight title away from Jesus’ tight grip. Chavez said that Morales’ best chances of victory against Cano (22-0-1, 17ko) will be to maintain that fan-friendly style: “Morales will have to use his experience, his ring generalship and possibly take the kid into deep waters and take him apart there.”
With experience, can come wear-and-tear. In Morales’ last fight – a blood and guts battle fought in the trenches against tough Argentine, Marcos Maidana – Erik had to complete the contest with one eye as a grotesque tennis ball-sized swelling sealed his right eye shut. I asked Chavez if those swellings are freak occurrences or if there is a possibility of a repeat incident against Cano, himself a big-hitter.
“As we age, we tend to mark up a lot faster [and our] reflexes are a lot slower,” Jesus, a composed and articulate talker, told me. “Morales is definitely going to have to be on his game. He trains at high altitude, around the best facilities in Mexico City. I don’t think his opponent is going to have the same quality of training regimen, or quality of opponents/sparring partners [but] he does tend to be dangerous because he’s younger than Morales.”
On the Maidana and Morales fight itself, a bout that On The Beak scored a 114-114 draw in April, Chavez said: “Maidana and Morales was a very interesting fight. I was actually surprised at how Morales did in that fight. I think, I’m trying to think… Maidana beat him on points, it could have been a draw, I would not have disputed a draw at all. I’m just being a fan now but having that knowledge on the field, I would not have disputed a decision draw, but I’m not disputing the outcome of the fight either – it was very close.
“It’s going to be interesting on Saturday as his opponent is a lot younger, definitely hungrier and we are going to see youth versus experience. Not to be disrespectful to Morales, but age… it’s beauty and the beast, that’s the contrast between the two. His opponent has been given a shot of a lifetime to fight Morales and fight for the championship of the world. It’s a shot of a lifetime for the kid.”
Putting Chavez on the spot, I asked him for his prediction come fight night: “This is difficult to actually say because of Morales’ age, his fights, the youth of Cano but I’m going to have to stick with the old dog! I’ll stick with Morales,” asserted El Matador, before sending the fighters his well wishes: “I wish them both well and wish them both safety.”
All pictures: Stacey Verbeek, Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Middleweight contender James Kirkland got his career back on track with a first round stoppage over Dennis Sharpe at the Dr Pepper Arena, Frisco, Texas on Friday, June 14 and On The Beak‘s Stacey Verbeek caught the fight week action on camera as the Mandingo Warrior warmed-up for his comeback contest. Kirkland was dropped thrice by Nobuhiro Ishida earlier in the year, his first pro defeat, but he inflicted a similar fate onto Sharpe who also succombed to a swift stoppage loss.
A return to renowned trainer Ann Wolfe has attracted instant results for Kirkland. James parted company with his long-time trainer but the Ishida defeat prompted Kirkland to reassess his reasoning in leaving Wolfe. The respected female trainer is pictured below with Maple Avenue Boxing Club’s Jesus Chavez, a former IBF lightweight champion who now coaches in Dallas.
Kirkland looked in peak physical condition as he went through some light training during fight week, however, the 27-year-old struggled to make the 160lb weight during weigh-in. Come fight night, Kirkland produced an aggressive performance but was very limited when it came to defence and foot movement. The victory over Sharpe was the American’s fourth fight of 2011.
Kirkland dropped Sharpe (below, right) twice en route to a first round knockout win. The first knockdown was a result of a blow to the temple while the second was because of a stunning body shot between the pecs. Sharpe never looked like rising from the second knockdown. For On The Beak‘s scorecard, report, audio commentary and a full video of the fight click here.
The swift victory over Sharpe will serve as a strong confidence boost to Kirkland following his devastating loss to Ishida but, as OTB’s Alan Dawson points out in his audio commentary, Kirkland now needs rounds under his belt… someone who can take him past the four, six or eight round point and not get bulldozed over when he’s on the attack.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Former two-weight world champion Jesus Chavez, 38, has come to terms with his own retirement from his fighting career but regards the desire to continue to prove you have the ability to retain or regain world champion status as a significant lure for some to get back into the ring. Chavez is now a trainer working out of Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Lakewood, East Dallas, Texas.
Two of the fight games elder statesmen took centre stage last weekend but experienced contrasting fortunes. While Roy Jones Jr, 42, was knocked unconscious for a number of minutes toward the conclusion of the tenth round against Russian cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev in Moscow on Saturday, May 21 (for scorecard and summary, click here), his old nemesis Bernard Hopkins, 46, convincingly trumped Jean Pascal to become the WBC’s latest champion at light heavyweight (for scorecard and summary, click here).
Speaking prior to Jones Jr and Hopkins’ respective clashes, Jesus Chavez pondered the reasons for career extension to statesman.com. He said: “I think it’s the limelight. The desire to fight is strong because you want to show everybody you can still do it. But there comes a time when you just can’t. I was fortunate to find out the way I did.”
Chavez, who had an aggressive, all-out boxing style, won world titles at both super featherweight and also lightweight.
His fight resume is peppered with a who’s who of modern boxing as he has shared a ring with: Carlos Hernandez (split decision win), Leavander Johnson (11th round technical knockout win), Michael Katsidis (eighth round technical knockout loss), David Diaz (majority decision loss), Humberto Soto (unanimous decision defeat), Erik Morales (unanimous decision loss) and, in his own words he “gave the best fighter in the world the best fight he ever had” when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2001.
Since hanging up his gloves, Chavez was introduced to Maple Avenue Boxing Gym owner Arnie Verbeek by WBC legal counsel Robert Lenhart. It was not long before Chavez began training and coaching at Maple Ave.
Lenhart said to Statesman.com: “The same thing that made him a great prizefighter will make him a great trainer. He’s a very astute professor when it comes to boxing. He’s off to a good start, and I hope he does well.”
The stable at Maple Avenue continues to grow in prestige with every passing month. As well as being the work-out haunt for ex-pros like ‘Sugar’ Ray Philips and highly decorated amateurs like two-time US National Champion Errol Spence, it is also where rising prospect Roberto Marroquin trains (pictured above, left, with Chavez, right).
Promoted by Top Rank, Marroquin (19-1-0, 14ko) has already fought thrice in 2011 having recorded wins over Eduardo Arcos and also Gilberto Sanchez Leon, however, he succumbed to a split decision loss to Francisco Leal in April in one of the many shocks of the current boxing calendar.
Despite defeat, Marroquin remains an exciting prospect due to his boxing arsenal and his willingness to trade. It is arguably these qualities that endeared him to Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler, who recently said to ESPN: “You want a fighter to be ambitious and hungry. It’s good he’s chomping at the bit.”