The Fighters Who Follow in the Fathers' Footsteps

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Chris FarinaOn February 4, HBO's boxing year begins with a bang when World Championship Boxing is live from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The double-header features two sons of famous boxing fathers: In the main event, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., son of the namesake Hall-of-Famer, defends a middleweight belt against Marco Antonio Rubio; and, preceding that, another child of the ring, junior featherweight Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., takes on the daunting task of pound-for-pounder Nonito Donaire.

Here's a look at those father-son pairings, and a select few other famous boxing family pairings:

Julio Cesar Chavez/Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: The father was a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, a world champion at 130, 135, and 140 pounds, and a participant in epic battles including an enthralling, last-gasp victory against Meldrick Taylor in 1990. Junior, still only 25, has been brought along slowly, but has shown improvement in recent fights under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach. Rubio is widely considered his toughest opponent so far.

Wilfredo Vasquez/Wilfredo Vasquez Jr.: Another three-weight world champion, the elder Puerto Rican fighter held titles between 118 and 126 pounds for the best part of nine years between 1987 and 1996. Wilfredo Jr. won a 122-lbs. title in 2010 and made two successful defenses before losing to Jorge Arce in a fight-of-the-year candidate last May.

Floyd Mayweather/Floyd Mayweather Jr.: “Big Floyd” was a welterweight contender in the 1970s and '80s, who lost to future champs Sugar Ray Leonard and Marlon Starling. His frequently-estranged son is perhaps the finest boxer of his generation, a titleholder in five weight divisions, and one of the few modern fighters to transcend the sport and cross over into mainstream public awareness.

Leon Spinks/Cory Spinks: Leon shocked the world in 1978 when he defeated Muhammad Ali to win the world heavyweight championship. Ali reversed the decision in a rematch, and after a three-round stoppage by Larry Holmes, Spinks never fought for the heavyweight crown again. He finished his career with 26 wins and 17 losses. His son Cory is a stylish boxer who has held titles at welterweight and junior middleweight, but has fought just once a year, going 2-2, since falling short in a 2007 challenge of then-middleweight champ Jermain Taylor.

Joe Frazier/Marvis Frazier: Smokin' Joe was one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, losing only to fellow greats Ali and George Foreman. His son, Marvis, lost only twice in a 21-fight career, but they were emphatic, one-round knockouts to Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.

Muhammad Ali/Laila Ali: 'The Greatest' was reportedly less than thrilled when his daughter elected to follow in his fistic footsteps. But “She Bee Stingin'” went undefeated in a 24-fight career that included an extension of the Ali-Frazier rivalry when she outpointed Joe's daughter Jacqui in 2001.