By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos: Robert Hughes
After the spectacular domination that the “Son of the Legend” Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., displayed over “Ireland’s” John Duddy, Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum believes Chavez Jr has finally arrived as a fighter. Although his namesake is legendary, until tonight, no one knew for sure if Junior was the real deal. Arum is now convinced. “Tonight we have a new star, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He can fight anybody, anywhere,” Arum exclaimed.
“I want to thank Manny Pacquiao who told him to train with Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza (strength and conditioning coach for Pacquiao). Pacquiao said just try it and Chavez didn’t know if he could do it,” added Arum. “The old Chavez would have been killed by Duddy. He would have run out of gas by the 6th round.”
This moment for Chavez was also very special. It was 17 years ago that his dad fought Pernell Whitaker to a draw at the very same place, the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“For me, it was a very special thing. A dream come true. When I was a little kid, I didn’t think I would become a star in boxing,” Chavez explained.
On whether Duddy was his toughest opponent to date, Chavez said, “Of course, of course. I respect all fighters. When I was fighting four rounders it was tough at that level. He was very strong, a great fighter, first level fighter.”
Freddie Roach was also pleased with his new pupil.
“He was a very good student, fought very well. It’s been four weeks, got a long ways to go, but he’s improving. We went 14 rounds and he wanted to go one more. He wants to work and get better.”
Although Roach had heard the rumors about Chavez being lazy, he knew if Junior was willing to put in the time, his team could make him a better fighter. “With Alex Ariza, my partner, we got the best team in boxing,” Roach stated bluntly.
Duddy also realized early in the fight that Chavez Jr would be a tough hombre.
“In the thirrd round I rocked him with a good right and he battled back. That’s the sign of a good fighter,” stated the swollen faced Duddy. “I knew Julio was a tough fighter but as you try and make your career you take on certain stages. We took him into deep water and yes he can swim, a tough kid,” continued Duddy.
Although the night belonged to Chavez, another legend quietly made a return to the ring, Marco Antonio Barrera. After long layoff in which many thought he retired, Barrera won a fairly easy ten round unanimous decision against the game Adailton DeJesus. And with Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum by his side, they declared he is on his way for a shot at this fourth world title. Something that no Mexican fighter has yet to achieve and he wants to be the first.
“Our plan is to get him the light weight championship. Me and Beltran, the goal is (for Barrera) to fight and win the lightweight title,” Arum said. “There is no rush to fight for the title, it’s up to him. There are great fights for him at 135lbs – championship fights.”
“I worked very hard. I felt pretty good,” Barrera stated. “I am ready whenever Bob wants me to fight, I fight. San Antonio is like my home, thank you.“