Larry Merchant Not Sold on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

By Chris Robinson

On Saturday night, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. won a ten round decision over Ohio's Billy Lyell at the Banorte Soccer Stadium in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Chavez appears to be on track for a May collision with WBC middleweight champion Sebastian Zbik, a fight that would surely boost his stock to a new level.

Following his uninspiring effort against Troy Rowland at the MGM Grand in November of 2009, Chavez seemed to be at a crossroads in his career and should be given credit for making the move to Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club months later. With a new team behind him the 24-year old has shown great strides thus far, as evidenced by his thrilling back-and-forth battle with John Duddy last summer in San Antonio.
The future now seems to be bright for Chavez but one man who isn't sold quite yet is HBO color analyst Larry Merchant, who has his reservations when assessing the middleweight contender's future. Merchant and I had a brief dialogue about Chavez's potential, his union with Roach, trying to escape from the shadows of his superstar father, and more.
Read below for Larry's sound bytes...
More of a suspect than a prospect...
"Well he's become more of a suspect than a prospect over time. The fact that they are still nursing him along, he has a name that is iconic among Mexican fans, and he's been able to ride that. But I haven't seen the same kind of intensity, desire to dominate, that his father had. And as he's moved up in weight, because he has a different kind of body than his father, he seems less imposing. He doesn't have the power structure of a middleweight, it seems to me. But he's still a young guy and maybe if he gets a big opportunity he will live up to the name."
Chavez's drubbing of John Duddy...
"I thought he did pretty well in that fight. I thought Duddy would have more to give. I was more underwhelmed by Duddy than I was overwhelmed by Chavez. But it was a reasonable fight on the B-level, put it that way."
Teaming up with trainer Freddie Roach...
"I think it is because it suggests Freddie may see something in him that most of us haven't. Or maybe Freddie just sees, his being a businessman as well, that there is a prospect down the road that Chavez could ring the cash register pretty loudly with the fans if he ever got into a fight that would excite everyone."
Living in the shadows of his father...
"It's a blessing and a curse. The blessing is, here he is, fighting, and he's been making money while he's learning and fighting and trying to establish his own identity. [He's] making a lot more money than a lot of young fighters would in a similar position. The curse is that he is always going to be compared to his father and that, in a way, is unfair because his father, who was such a dynamic and dominant fighter, particularly when he was in the lower weight classes. And he came to represent the quintessential, tough, never-give-up Mexican fighter."

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. An archive of his work can be found here, and he can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by DeadScared on 01-31-2011

as Klitscko is to Haye.

Comment by DeadScared on 01-31-2011

Lemieux will be to JC Jr. as Prescott is to Khan. I might add; as Pacman is to FLOOOOYYYYYD.......Jr.

Comment by DeadScared on 01-31-2011

JC Jr. should fight the likes of Cotto, Margarito, Williams, Pavlik and Martinez to erase the doubts about him from boxing fans. If he does that he might end up in the jaws of the Pacman.

Comment by LoStranger on 01-31-2011

seems overrated to me Merchant and Chavez

Comment by Laborer on 01-31-2011

[QUOTE=jrosales13;10033400]Who is sold on JCC jr?[/QUOTE] if there are hordes of pactards who think proper drug testing sux for boxing, there must be the smae number who are sold to JR. not everyone in the planet use their brains:-)

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