Boxing’s closest thing to Mexican royalty, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be going mano a mano this Saturday against Boxing’s current resident native pauper, Ireland’s John Duddy for one of the WBC’s freshly minted titles, the WBC Silver Belt.
Junior, by way of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a chip off the old block of Senior, the Son of the Legend as the promotions go. He’s young, age 24, darkly movie star baby face handsome, undefeated with a 41-0-1, 30 KO with his sole blemish, the draw against Carlos Molina promptly avenged, and Junior is a fringe contender, holding WBC youth, Continental, and Latino titles.
Duddy, by way of Derry, Northern Ireland, is a chip off ye olde Green Shamrock, the Son of the Leprachans of the Emerald Isle. He’s prime, age 31, movie star ruddy red handsome with jagged scar tissue, and once defeated, 29-1, 18 KO, his sole blemish coming against recent middleweight title contender, Billy Lyell. Duddy is also a fringe contender with near identical boxrec ranking to Junior and holder of WBC Continental and IBA middleweight titles.
Even their native flags are near identical:
Both turned pro in 2003 and have been promoted smartly ever since in their selected ethnic markets, such that this match could easily be conceived by those of a more nationalist bent as Mexico vs Ireland in this season of the world cup.
Critics of the two who are many and quite vocal, insist they are nowhere men, severely lacking in skills, nuance, art, and heart, well protected from the big dogs of the division. The problem with that argument is there are few big dogs in the division they might need protection from. Both have come up against their fair share of prospects and fringe contenders, and Duddy has faced genuine contenders and former champions.
Now is the time chosen to move them along to a real title challenge, and one can only hope it’s the winner who gets that call, but such is not always the case in boxing.
You can safely dismiss the critics for this one as far as the fight goes. Both are decently skilled distance boxers who love nothing more than to end up in a good old fashioned nose to nose slugfest, exactly the mix of styles the casual boxing fan loves that has made these two big ticket sellers in fan friendly fights.
Chavez Jr is the bigger name, and thusly attracted the attentions of Boxing’s current Svengali, Freddie Roach, who assiduously adopted Junior for some 3 weeks of tweaks and fine tuning in advance of the expected pre 4th of July fireworks. That type of grooming alone makes Chavez the favorite, but Duddy’s stiffer competition makes this a close enough fight that you might want to lock away the deed to the family farm in a secure location and handoff the key to the wife.
Both are also near identical height and reach also, but the intrigue is that both are new to this, the biggest, most acclaimed fight of their careers, so how do they react to the attention and pressure?
My theory is that Junior has been under public pressure from his first day as a pro, being constantly compared to his legendary father, and yet has remained unblemished. Duddy has been under a different pressure, coming up the hard way, slowly building the public acclaim to finally arrive on his biggest stage yet. It’s fair to say that he is the hungrier fighter, and I think he will recognize the rowdy San Antonio boxing crowd in a similar vein to the raucous Irish boxing fans at home.
Everything is pointing to a spirited, hotly contested fight, the kind that can only benefit both fighters no matter the winner. My crystal noggin foresees a Junior victory, perhaps Duddy being a victim of his previous scar tissue. I do see Duddy has having the slight power advantage with perhaps Junior’s chin not yet being properly tested, so this could have a surprising end.
Regardless, it’s Win/Win for the fans, so get ready for a rumble down Olde San Antone Way.