The Real Deal

By Chuck Johnson

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Andy Lee - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Aside from the legendary lineage and a world title belt, “Irish” Andy Lee was out to show Saturday night that rising middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. had nothing over him.

Reality set in for the southpaw challenger when referee Laurence Cole stepped in to stop Chavez’s barrage of body and head shots at 2:21 of the seventh round, bringing an explosive end to the HBO-televised bout from the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex., and adding substance to Chavez’s resume after dismantling the toughest opponent of his rising career.

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Fans Weigh In: Chavez the Crowd Favorite, But Lee Has His Supporters

By Michael Gluckstadt

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is a wildly popular and polarizing figure. He has legions of Mexican fans who insist he is the second coming of his famous fighting father; but nearly as many doubters who wonder question the level of competition he's faced until now. These fans wonder if Andy Lee might be the first to expose Chavez's ceiling as a fighter. On Facebook, there are many more believers than doubters, with over 75% of the nearly 500 respondents picking the Mexican over the Irishman. But on HBO.com and Twitter, the results are a lot closer to an even split. "It's going to be a long night for Jr. if he won't level his game up several notches against Lee," warns e. corales on HBO.com

Here's some more of what you had to say:

- Andy Lee is tough as nails and will get it done!  I actually see "Jr." getting hurt by the 9th and stopped by the 11th. – Eric Sabadin (HBO.com)

- Chavez is finally fighting a worthy opponent and will lose. #ChavezLee - @Artman22

- Chavez was impressive against Rubio in implementing Freddie Roach's tactics of working the angles. If he continues to improve, then he prove himself to be the fighter his fans seem to think he is. – Jim M. (HBO.com)

- If Chavez Jr. can step up a notch or two on defense, footwork, and movement, I think he can easily dominate Andy Lee. They should have worked on it by now. Martinez inches in closer by the minute. – e.corales (HBO.com)

- Chavez will win the fight...body shots are gonna beat Lee down... - @realpolo13 (Twitter)

- Considering Chavez Jr. lacks the ability to utilize his physical attributes of outboxing his opponent, he'd rather hang around on the inside unnecessarily, lumbering body shots against willing sub par fighters winning close hometown rounds in his favor. I see Lee being able to outbox Chavez for the win, but we'll wait n see. – Riky Ricardo  (HBO.com)

Chavez Jr.-Lee: Compubox Analysis

By CompuBox

If history is a window to the future, Saturday's middleweight title tussle between champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and challenger Andy Lee should be one to remember. They boast a combined 73-1-2 (51) record, plus their similar physical assets (6-2 for Lee, 6-0 for Chavez Jr.) and aggressive mindsets should make for compelling action.

But is all everything that it seems? Their recent CompuBox pasts may indicate that something unexpected may be in store.

The Problem: A common complaint against both fighters is porous defense -- and there's plenty of ammunition to back that up. For instance, Sebastian Zbik connected on 46.9 % of his total punches and 53.8% of his hooks, uppercuts and crosses against Chavez, who also was out-landed 391-256 (total), 56-14 (jabs) and 335-242 (power). Nevertheless, Chavez won a majority decision because his lesser number of connects did so with much more impact. 


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Chavez Jr.-Lee: Tall Order for Chavez

By Nat Gottlieb

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. - Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

Patient, careful matchmaking by promoter Top Rank has enabled Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to arrive at stardom with an unbeaten record, but one (45-0-1, 31 KOs) that does not include a major challenge. Andy Lee, a tall, highly-skilled boxer-puncher and southpaw, will present the most significant test yet for Chavez. How Chavez deals with Lee in their June 16 clash in El Paso, Texas, will go a long way toward predicting if and when he will finally crawl out from the long shadow cast by his father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., one of the greatest boxers in history.

Make no mistake about it. Lee (28-1, 20 KOs) is a definite step up for Chavez. So much so that some have wondered why Top Rank would even take this fight. "I don't think they had much choice," says Emanuel Steward, the Hall of Fame trainer who has conditioned Lee in Detroit's famed Kronk gym since he turned pro. "Chavez has been well protected, but they ran out of fighters. They must feel he has made enough progress to face Andy. Also, the middleweight division is not all that deep."

The biggest name in the middleweight division right now is Sergio Martinez, and there are some indications that the Argentinean might fight the winner of this bout. That the southpaw Martinez waits in the wings may partially explain why Top Rank chose to fight Lee, says his promoter, Lou DiBella. "They know that if Chavez is ever going to fight Martinez, he needs the experience," says DiBella, who also promotes Martinez. "Andy is one of the top lefty middleweights in the world."

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Styles Make Fights: Pacquiao, Marquez, Mayweather and More …

By Kieran Mulvaney

In the wake of Manny Pacquiao’s controversial win over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday, promoter Bob Arum underlined the old boxing adage that ‘styles make fights.’ He reminded media at the post-fight press conference that George Foreman thumped Joe Frazier both times they fought, Frazier went nip-and-tuck three times with Muhammad Ali, but Ali took apart Foreman. So what, if anything, does that mean for the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry, any upcoming HBO clashes and, down the road, a possible Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather superfight?

Pacquiao-Marquez

Photo Credit: Will HartThe third fight underlined what had been well established by the previous two: that Marquez and Pacquiao have each other’s number. Marquez is sufficiently effective to nullify Pacquiao’s strengths, but his style in doing so is unlikely ever to be enough to render him an obvious winner. He is at his best when his opponent comes at him, enabling him to return fire with counterpunching combinations. That can disrupt his foe’s aggression, but sometimes a reliance on sitting back and waiting for your opponent to make his move first, no matter how effective, can make it difficult to clearly elevate yourself over him, at least in the eyes of the judges.

Upcoming HBO Fights

Photo Credit: Ed MulhollandWhat can the ‘styles make fights’ dictum tell us about upcoming HBO matchups? Frankly, that the bouts may be more closely-fought than is immediately apparent. Both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Saul Alvarez enter their contests as big favorites over Peter Manfredo Jr and Kermit Cintron respectively. But both Mexican fighters are more comfortable against opponents who are there to be hit and willing to exchange, and while Manfredo does not have the quick hands of Sebastian Zbik, who gave Chavez all he could handle recently, he doesn’t have clay feet like Andy Lee, whom JCC Jr sent into retirement last year. And if Alvarez can have early-round problems against blown-up welterweight Alfonso Gomez, he could be in a world of hurt against Cintron – who, as Alfredo Angulo can testify, can be surprisingly dangerous when allowed to box and move. Conversely, Cintron has been known to fold mentally under pressure of the sort Alvarez brings. It all promises genuine intrigue …

Pacquiao-Mayweather

Photo Credit: Ed MulhollandMarquez is a counter-puncher. Mayweather is a counter-puncher. But they are different sides of a similar coin. Marquez thrives on being attacked and responding with flurries; Mayweather seeks to stymie his foe’s offense entirely and pick his man apart with lightning-fast solo punches. Will that have the same effect against Pacquiao as JMM’s counter-combinations? As the dust settles over the coming weeks and months, we should learn whether or not we will soon have the chance to find out for sure, the only way that matters: In the ring.