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Katsidis-Chavez Collide!

By Craig Watt

The term boxing “warrior” is perhaps over-used but in the description of former WBO interim lightweight champion Michael Katsidis, from Australia and Mexican former WBC super featherweight and IBF lightweight champion, Jesus Chavez, the term is a correct description of their fighting pedigree, style and determination. They can knock out opponents with either hand, they can get up from the canvas and win and they can fight through adversity. Two of the sport’s most exciting “warriors” put their boxing pride and pedigree on the line on Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas as part of Golden Boy Promotions “Lightweight Lightening” boxing event.

It is Australian Michael Katsidis (24-2, 20 KO’s) versus Mexican Jesus Chavez (44-4, 30 KO’s) over ten rounds in a crossroads fight for both outstanding former champions. Both have tasted world championships and both have tasted adversity in their careers, perhaps making the fight one of the most eagerly awaited of the evening. The term “last chance saloon” has been used in the build up this week to this exciting contest.

The 28-year-old all action fighter from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia lost twice in 2008 against high quality opposition in Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz but got back into the win column in January with a dominant ten round points decision over Angel Hugo Ramirez in the Philippines. This secured his current WBO#2 ranked position at lightweight and a possible challenge against WBO Juan Manuel Marquez, later in 2009. Although Katsidis was not at his vintage best against Ramirez he outscored the Argentinean by dominant scores of 98-87 and 96-89 (twice).

This fight is seen as a major challenge for Katsidis by his trainer and manager, Brendon Smith who this week stated, “This is a dangerous fight as Jesus Chavez is at the same crossroads as Michael with the same questions that are being asked about how critical this fight is for his career. Both fighters have everything on the line.”

Although Jesus Chavez is now 36 years of age his boxing pedigree is excellent with a formidable 44-4 record as a professional.

Chavez stated in the build up this week, “The fight on April 4th means a lot to me. I know the fight will put me in the world title contingency. I never stop training and I am always in the gym and that is why I am still in the world title picture at 36 years of age. I train whether I have a fight or not and Katsidis is in for a tough night.”

Known as “El Matador”, Jesus Chavez secured the WBC super-featherweight title in March 2003 with a sixth round stoppage victory of Carlos Gerana from Puerto Rico. In his second title defence he came up against great Mexican champion Eric Morales, who won a wide decision on the scorecards when they met in February 2004. Despite scores of 118-108, 119-107 and 115-112.Chavez showed great heart and determination when he rocked Morales in the first and came off the floor twice in the second but was still there at the final bell.

Although Chavez defeated Carlos Hernandez in an official WBC super featherweight eliminator in May 2005 in his next fight, he moved up to the lightweight division and secured the IBF lightweight title with a tragic 11th round stoppage over Leavander Johnson in September 2005 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Johnson later died in hospital from his injuries and it was only Johnson’s family encouragement that saw Chavez return to the ring after over a year out of the sport. In his first defence however, he was stopped within three rounds by Julio Diaz which was a damaging loss.

Chavez has won his last two bouts and seeks a return to championship level and the fight against Katsidis should be a first class “war” between two “warriors” from two proud boxing nations of Australia and Mexico. Neither are noted for taking a backward step in the ring and the fight should live up to expectation amongst a high quality boxing evening promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

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