By Chris Robinson
It's only natural, at any given boxing event, that you are likely to find your share of fighters ringside checking out the action. Many times the pugilists will be in town with a vested interest in the fight, as was the case with this past weekend's Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sebastian Zbik middleweight title fight in Los Angeles, California.
Chavez would lift the WBC strap from his German counterpart in an inspiring affair and fellow champions Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez as well as former titleholder Antonio Margarito were all in attendance checking out the festivities. Of the three sitting near the apron it appears to be Cotto who will land his coveted shot as he and Chavez appear to be slated for an early October collision in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If Cotto-Chavez does go down you can bet your last dollar that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will be looking to line up Margarito for the winner in early 2012. The Tijuana fighter recently received some good news when a specialist assured him that a recent broken orbital bone stemming from his November loss to Manny Pacquiao isn't career-threatening.
Margarito's trainer Robert Garcia was at the Staples Center with his younger brother and featherweight contender Mikey Garcia, who plowed through late replacement Rafael Guzman by way of a 4th round knockout and inched closer to a title shot. I asked Garcia whether he and Margarito spoke of Chavez's performance after his fight but he insisted the conversation was much more subdued.
"I didn't speak to him after the fight," said Garcia. "I met up with him before the fight and we just basically talked and asked each other little questions. But we didn't even talk about fighting or anything. I know he needs time to recover, maybe towards the end of the year, or even next year, which is better for him. I really believe that he needs this time off and it will be better for him to come back stronger next year."
While we don't know what was going through Margarito's head during the Chavez-Zbik encounter, Garcia was more than open to sharing his thoughts and offering up some criticisms of his own.
"I was watching the fight and I thought Chavez was going to be too much for Zbik. He looked way bigger and stronger, I thought he was going to destroy him and walk right through him. But that wasn't the case. The only difference I've seen in Chavez since he's been at Roach's gym is his conditioning. His conditioning is good, but he got hit a lot and I truly believe that Sebastian Zbik was a perfect opponent for Chavez to come in and look good and destroy.
"But that's not what we've seen. We saw the Chavez that also got hit, was too squared up at moments, wasn't fast enough. Looked strong when he went to the body but never combined his body shots with hooks or uppercuts. It was just the typical Chavez that we have seen in the past," Garcia boldly stated.
Not to say that the gauntlet has been laid down by the Oxnard trainer but you can read between the lines and tell just how much he would welcome a fight with Chavez Jr. The young champion will surely have several people calling him out from his point forward and it will be interesting to see how things play out.
First things first though. Let's see how he does against Cotto this fall.