Andre Ward wants Julio Cesar Chavez JrWritten by Lee Cleveland
"I think (Chavez Jr.) is a tremendous talent. He obviously has some discipline issues. ... I don't even know if that's a fight that's possible."
Despite losing to Sergio Martinez in September 2012, Chavez's stock initially rose a bit thanks to his 12th Round near-heroics. Since then, however, he's tested positive for marijuana and his problems getting in 'fighting' shape have been well-documented.'
Moreover, his performance against Bryan Vera two months ago did nothing to quell the tidalwave of criticism he's received during the past 14 months.
So why is Ward so intent on fighting Chavez?
Like him or not, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is a big name in boxing and a Ward vs Chavez bout would generate solid interest and, subsequently, healthy revenue.
Although Ward is the consensus No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter, he's far from the second-highest paid or most celebrated.
Despite defeating the likes of Sakio Bika, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Chad Dawson, Ward, outside of his home town of Oakland, CA, can probably walk any U.S. city street virtually unrecognized.
Andre needs to be in a fight that garners mainstream North American attention and, aside from Bernard Hopkins and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, there is no one else.
"I just think if you talk about a 'now' pay-per-view, I think that's a 'now' pay-per-view," Ward said. "I think the only two 'now' pay-per-views that I have right now -- maybe I'm wrong, and I gotta see who's out there -- is probably Bernard Hopkins and Chavez Jr."
And while Andre Ward vs Gennady Golovkin is a hardcore fight fan's dream, that bout hasn't matured yet because Golovkin lacks mainstream notoriety as well. Ward vs Golovkin, at least today, would be a high-risk, low-reward bout for both fighters.
Ward vs lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez would be a lucrative bout, but 'Maravilla' insists he's not moving up in weight to fight anyone.
Styles-wise, Ward vs Chavez Jr is a favorable match-up for both fighters and would likely be a crowd-pleasing affair.
Ward is certainly more amenable to Chavez than the speedy, awkward, high-energy Martinez who boxed rings around Julio the first eleven rounds of their bout last September. And unlike Martinez, Andre is an orthodox fighter who is rather stationary in comparison to the fleet-footed 'Maravilla.' Andre will 'engage and bang' on the inside while Martinez is 'in and out'... Ping, ping.
Also Ward, like Chavez, fights best at medium and close range. Overrated or not, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is one heck of an inside fighter who, as we saw against Martinez, has a sturdy beard and decent power at close range.
All indicators seem to point to Ward vs Chavez Jr sometime in 2014:
- Chavez Jr will always be a ticket-seller so long as he holds his own because he's the son of a fight legend
- Chavez's inability to make 160 pounds
- The favorable style match-up
- Firworks (Has Chavez Jr ever been in a boring fight?)
- Chavez's stellar record (46-1-1, 32 KO) and status as a former middleweight champion gurantees him a high ranking at super middleweight
If Chavez Jr wins his next bout, look for Ward vs Chavez to happen next year.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.