By Rafael Soto /Top Rank
Photos: Rafael Soto/Top Rank
Unbeaten “Son of the Legend” Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Ireland’s John Duddy both promised a great fight on Saturday when they collide in the “Latin Fury 15” pay-per-view headliner at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. “This is the most important fight of my career and I prepared very well because I know I have a very strong opponent. I think the people will win on Saturday because it will be a great fight,” Chavez Jr. said during the final news conference. Duddy echoed the sentiment, saying, “We know that a victory in this fight will put the winner close to a title shot and I’m sure it will turn out to be a memorable fight.”
In the semi-final match of the night, three-time world champion Marco Antonio Barrera (65-7, 43 KOs) will face Brazilian Adilton DeJesus (26-4, 21 KOs). Also in an all-Texas shootout, local heros Gabriel Elizondo and Raul Martinez meet in a highly charged super flyweight clash and featherweight Salvador Sanchez II goes against Tomas Villa. “I think this is one of the editions of the Latin Fury series that looks more competitive, especially the main event event between Chavez Jr. and Duddy, which doesn’t have a clear favorite. Both fighters can win,” stated Hall of Fame Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
Chavez Jr. (40-0-1, 30 KOs) of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico and Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs) from Derry, Ireland will fight the WBC Silver middleweight title, with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for the WBC middleweight championship.
Fernando Beltran, president of Zanfer, said he has known Chavez Jr since childhood, when his father conquered the boxing world. He has been with the son of the legend since his pro debut and believes Chavez has never been as physically prepared as he is now.
“It was great to see him with Roach and his team, and I recognize the attitude Julius Caesar Jr now has and that gives us confidence that this Saturday he’ll give his best performance against a dangerous rival in Duddy,” said the Mexican promoter.
Prior to the fight, Chávez joined Freddie Roach and his team for five weeks in Los Angeles, California.
Barrera (65-7, 43 KOs) of Mexico City will face DeJesus (26-4, 21 KOs) of Bahia, Brazil in his first fight in 15 months.
“I want to be the first Mexican to win four championships in four different categories and why I’m here with Top Rank who will help me achieve that goal that I still have in boxing. But, first I must defeat DeJesus and then look for that dream of the lightweight belt,”said the 35-year-old Barrera.
DeJesus, a very strong fighter, expects to come out with a win over the legendary champion Barrera.
“I came very prepared and I have great confidence that this preparation will help me get the biggest win of my career against a great boxer like Marco Antonio,” said De Jesus.
In a fight that has aroused much interest among the local fans, Martinez (26-1, 15 KOs) will take on Elizondo (22-3-1, 10 KOs)for the Texas state super flyweight belt. Both hail from San Antonio.
“We’ve gone a long time without a world champion San Antonio. The last was Jesse Leija. Gabriel and I are regarded to be the next world champions from the city following our great amateur careers. Elizondo is a good friend, but this is business and will be a great opportunity for both of us to shine on a big fight card,” said Martinez.
In the opening TV fight, Salvador Sanchez II (1-3-2, 9 KOs) of Tianguistenco, Mexico faces Tomas Villa (22-7-4, 14 KOs, of Midland, Texas (formerly from Oginaga, Chihuahua, Mexico) in an eight round featherweight match-up.
“This an opportunity to appear on a big card and show my talent. I am working with a new team and you’ll see the results of this great preparation on Saturday,” said Sanchez II, who trained in Big Bear, California under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez.
Further undercard fights featuring undefeated young prospects Joseph Benavidez (6-0, 6 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona and Omar Henry (9-0, 6 KOs) of Houston, Texas, will be streamed live over the Internet at www.toprank.com/TRLivestream.
Super lightweight Benavidez will face Josh Beeman (4-6-2, 2 KOs) of Providence, Rhode Island and junior welterweight Henry will clash with Hilario Lopez (12-9, 8 KOs) of Nampa, Indiana.
The weigh-in will be on Friday at 1:30 pm at the Arnison River Theater in downtown San Antonio.