Pound4Pound, Boxing News
 

  Like Father, Like Son

Report & Photos By Roy & Marlene Marquez

 

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defeated Sebastian Zbik to capture the WBC World Middleweight Championship before a rabid Staples Center crowd in Los Angeles, CA. Chavez surged over the second half of the fight to win a close decision by scores of 114-114, 115-113 & 116-112.

Chavez entered the fight with a gleaming record of 42 wins, no losses and one draw, with 30 of his wins coming by way of knockout. A stellar record indeed for the son of a living legend, save for the notable absence of known fighters. That is, until Chavez faced and defeated a respectable opponent a year ago this month in John Duddy. Chavez had Freddie Roach in his corner for the Duddy bout and it showed. Chavez was fit for the fight and controlled Duddy with his jab; easily defeating Duddy by unanimous decision.

Recent achievements aside, has Chavez done enough to earn the #1 ranking by the WBC and thus become the mandatory challenger for the coveted green belt? Chavez is ranked outside the top ten by all of the unbiased boxing polls as well as two of the sport’s other governing bodies (WBA and IBF). Perhaps being Mexican is all that is necessary given the overtly self-serving decisions of the WBC (Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fought a career welterweight for the vacant WBC light middleweight title in March).

But what exactly did Zbik do to earn the green strap? Like Chavez, Zbik entered the ring an undefeated fighter with 30 wins to his credit. But unlike Chavez, Zbik was 4-0 in title (interim) fights albeit against marginal opposition. The “interim” tag was removed from his title in January when the WBC stripped then middleweight champion Sergio Martinez of his belt. Zbik has limited experience fighting outside his native Germany and even less pop. In 30 wins Zbik has managed just 10 KOs, the last one coming over two years and five fights ago. Perhaps he is the “perfect” champion for Chavez?

Zbik (30-1) outworked Chavez in the opening rounds. Working behind a jab, Zbik backed Chavez up. Chavez tipped his hook to the body by leaning forward and to the left, allowing Zbik to counter with his own hook upstairs.

The entertainment value peaked in the third when Zbik landed four or five straight punches and Chavez shimmied as if to say, “You can’t hurt me”. Chavez then exploded and backed Zbik across the ring. It was then Zbik’s turn to stand in defiance and to invite Chavez back for more.

Moments before the bell to end the fifth, Chavez raked Zbik with a right cross. Zbik took the punch well but walk stiff-legged back to his corner, all the while breathing heavy though his mouth. Through six Chavez landed the best punches of the fight but Zbik had been landing more of them.

While Zbik had been able to push Chavez backwards early in the fight, he was unable to do so as the fight wore on. Perhaps the body shots began to toll on Zbik’s legs. Regardless, Chavez, like most fighters, is a better fighter moving forward and increasingly took the fight to Zbik.

Clearly Chavez was the fresher, stronger fighter in the championship rounds. Chavez fired uppercuts off the hook that stymied the German. Zbik fought in spurts but resorted to pushing down on Chavez’ head or complain when under attack. Zbik looked to referee Jack Reiss for low blows but Reiss motioned for him to fight on.

Zbik threw 834 punches and landed 391 for a 47% connect rate. Chavez connected on 32% of his 796 punches, of which 724 were power shots.

 

Miguel “Mikey” Garcia used the jab, right hand combination to perfection to stop Rafael Guzman in the fourth round of their featherweight bout.

Garcia, of the boxing Garcia family out of Oxnard, CA, is a legitimate threat in the talent-laden featherweight division. At 23 years young, Garcia is wise beyond his years. His maturation is the natural by-product of being trained by older brother Robert Garcia, who won a junior lightweight world title. Garcia is already 26-0 with 22 KOs and is ranked in the top ten by all of the sport’s governing bodies.

Guzman (28-3) is a lanky featherweight who fights tall. Guzman enjoyed his three inch height advantage and chopped down at Garcia. While Guzman was punching down, Garcia was firing up. A wicked left hook mid way through the second nearly decapitated Guzman and opened a gash along his left eye.

Garcia steps into his jab to leave a lasting impression. A stiff right behind the jab stunned Guzman moments before the bell to end the third. Garcia hammered Guzman with a 1-2 to start the fourth and used the same combination to finishing him off later in the round. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth counted Guzman out at 1:55 of the fourth.


Off-Air Results
 

Vanes Martirosyan stopped Mexican veteran Saul Roman to win the vacant WBC Silver Light Middleweight title.

Martirosyan, who represented the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games, is coming off a second round knockout of Bladimir Hernandez on the Lucian Bute v. Brian Magee undercard this past March. Martirosyan climbed between the ropes with an unblemished record of 29 wins without a defeat; 18 wins by knockout. Despite being just 25 years of age, Martirosyan has risen steadily into the 154 lb. division top ten.

After dictating the opening two minutes of the first, Martirosyan ate a right hand, left hook combination and staggered backward and onto his seat for an early knockdown. The pro-Mexican fight crowd cheered loudly and broke into “Mexico, Mexico” for the first time of the night.

Roman (34-9) was unable to capitalize on the knockdown but remained busy and kept himself in the contest. Roman peppered Martirosyan with his jab and countered effectively at times. Prone to being cut, this fight was no different for the Armenian born fighter. Roman opened small tears on Martirosyan’s right cheek and left eye lid.

Martirosyan (30-0) reaches with his right too often, but when he lands there is thunder with it. His punches sound heavy; capable of making a man crumble. And after taking several right hands early, Roman finally succumbed to the hammer. Martirosyan dropped Roman with a right late in the seventh and then finished him off moments later with a barrage of punches. Referee Jon Schorle stepped in and halted the bout at 2:58 of the seventh. The fight was a draw on the scorecards through six; 57-56 Martirosyan, 58-55 Roman and 57-57.

 

Dakota Stone defeated Christy Martin by TKO in the sixth when Martin injured her right hand and was deemed unable to continue.

Come-backing Christy Martin (49-6-3) had been out of the ring nearly two years. When she stepped back into the ring, Martin faced the same opponent she fought in her last bout; Dakota Stone. When the two squared off in September 2009, Martin won a close fight by majority decision. And what exactly has Stone done in the interim to even the score against Martin? Not a thing. Stone hasn’t been in the ring since that fight.

Martin, the first lady of boxing, splashed onto the scene in 1996 on the undercard of Mike Tyson v. Frank Bruno. Her blood and guts decision over Deidre Gogarty ushered women’s boxing to the consciousness of the American (pay-per-view) public. Over the next decade Martin faced some of the biggest names in boxing including Mia St. John and Laila Ali while compiling a record of 49-5-3.


At times, Stone (10-8-4) used her height and length to her advantage, chopping right hands down onto the shorter Martin. But too often she traded hooks with Martin and got beat to the punch. Martin hurt Stone late in the second. After pressing Stone to the ropes, Martin hooked high and low with knockout intent. A hook to the body chased Stone off the ropes as Stone looked to escape the punishment she was absorbing.

Early in the fourth, Stone dropped, well, like a stone, from an overhand right. She bounced back however and backed a tiring Martin around the ring with chopping right hands. Martin was sucking wind throughout the fifth and took the round off. But being spent late proved not to be her biggest problem. Early in the sixth Martin winced and turned her back on Stone following an overhand right. Referee David Mendoza called time and for the doctor who determined Martin had broken her right arm. Mendoza called off the contest at 1:09 of the sixth. Martin was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.


Jessie Roman (6-0) dropped James Grant (2-3-1) with a perfect left hook one minute into round two to win their lightweight bout by TKO. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. immediately waived off the contest.

Welterweight Oscar Andrade (6-0) made a mockery of his fight with Kai Zama (5-4), dropping the Japanese fighter three times in the opening stanza on route to a first round stoppage.

In the opener, Alejandro Luna (6-0) defeated Cesar Garcia (3-7) by unanimous scores of 40-36 over four lightweight rounds.



 

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