Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s decision to pull himself out of last Friday’s bout with Daniel Jacobs after the fifth round has led to a bit of a sparring session between two legendary Mexican greats—Erik Morales and Chavez’s father, El Gran Campeon Mexicano, Julio Cesar Chavez.
On Friday at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, during a bout televised by streaming service DAZN, Chavez Jr. retired after the fifth round, claiming to be unable to continue after suffering a broken nose via head clash or elbow blow from Jacobs.
Fans present responded violently, throwing things into the ring and forcing the fighters and their teams to flee to the safety of the dressing rooms. The anticlimactic end to the bout followed weeks of dark clouds surrounding the fight, brought about by the actions of the problematic 33-year-old second generation fighter.
Chavez Jr.’s refusal to take a Nevada drug test put the bout in question and then forced the entire event to Arizona, after a judge approved a temporary order allowing the fight to go on. Then, with the fight all set, the former middleweight titlist missed the contracted super middleweight limit by 5 pounds, once again putting the event in jeopardy until he could make a monetary deal with Jacobs to allow for a new weight limit.
And then he pulled out of the fight when he was actually competitive, able to bother Jacobs with his size and power.
Chavez Sr., who first appeared to be frustrated with his son’s withdrawal, later came to his defense on social media:
“With all due respect to the fans of Phoenix, Arizona – right now I disagree with you, my son was making a competitive fight and was winning,” Chavez wrote. “Unfortunately, a head clash and an elbow comes and my son has a broken nose and will now undergo surgery.”
Later, the Hall of Famer issued a video, with a much angrier tone.
“I’m the first to criticize my son Julio when he fights poorly, but this time he was making a really good fight. Unfortunately, the headbutt came and he suffered a broken nose.
“For all of those who know so much about boxing…It’s one thing to be stupid and another to be brave. Brave is when you have a chance of winning a fight. But when you have a fractured hand or a broken nose, you can’t fight like that. So, don’t be such idiots…with all due respect.”
Fellow Mexican Hall of Famer Erik Morales, however, later jumped into the fray, admonishing Chavez for his harsh words directed at fans and media.
“When you are hurt or suffer a fracture you can fight,” Morales said via Twitter. “The decision not to fight should be respected, but the decision of those who paid to see a show must also be respected.
“You cannot disrespect the fans and journalists with loud words because they think differently, the fans should be respected.”
This particular public debate goes beyond whether and when a fighter has a right to remove himself from battle to secure his safety. This is mostly about Chavez Jr. and his career-long penchant for underachieving and/or disappointing fans with poor performances (mostly via poor preparation), as well as some well-documented battles with the cleanliness of his blood tests.
Fans are fed up with paying to see a fighter who rarely endeavors to give them a good, honest show. Maybe Chavez Jr. was correct in pulling out of the Jacobs fight and sincere in the fact that he could no longer continue, but one could hardly blame the fans for reacting as they did. Chavez Jr. has earned the boxing world’s doubt and distrust.
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