By Keith Idec
The people promoting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s career in the United States would prefer that the WBC middleweight champion doesn’t take what they perceive as an unnecessary fight Sept. 24 somewhere in Mexico.
Top Rank founder Bob Arum said he would prefer Chavez skip that fight, especially since trainer Freddie Roach won’t be able to devote much attention to training him for it. Arum also wants Chavez to avoid ruining a deal Top Rank struck with promoter Lou DiBella for Chavez to defend his 160-pound crown against Peter Manfredo on Nov. 19.
The Chavez-Manfredo fight will be televised by HBO, which also broadcast Chavez’s controversial title-winning performance, a majority decision victory over Germany’s Sebastian Zbik (30-1, 10 KOs) on June 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Chavez (43-0-1, 30 KOs) reportedly wants to box Ronald Hearns (26-2, 20 KOs) on Sept. 24, even though he doesn’t have the support of the promotional company that has helped carefully craft him into a draw both at the gate and on television. Zanfer Promotions, based in Tijuana, Mexico, also co-promotes Chavez.
Hearns lost his last fight, a WBA middleweight title shot against Germany’s Felix Sturm (36-2-1, 15 KOs), by seventh-round TKO on Feb. 19 in Stuttgart, Germany.
If Chavez does fight Hearns or someone else Sept. 24, the fight won’t be televised in the United States.
Meanwhile, Carl Moretti, Top Rank’s vice president of operations, said Reliant Stadium in Houston will likely be the site for the Chavez-Manfredo fight. If, as expected, a site deal is struck in the coming weeks, the ring for the Chavez-Manfredo card would be set up on a football field that usually serves as the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans.
Manfredo (37-6, 20 KOs), of Providence, R.I., has won six straight fights since Sakio Bika (28-5-2, 19 KOs) stopped him in the third round of their super middleweight match in November 2008 in Providence.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.