Chavez Jr. Wins Unanimous Decision

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Will hartSometimes it’s important simply to win, to take the victory by whatever means necessary, go home and tend to the bruises, and look for a spectacular win another day. Sometimes a fighter has to suck up the adversity and the obstacles and gut it out.

On Saturday night in San Antonio, both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Nonito Donaire emerged victorious after battles that were perhaps more grueling than either might have wished or expected, but which were nonetheless clear enough that the trajectories of their professional careers will continue upward.

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CompuBox Analysis: Nonito Donaire vs Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.

By CompuBox

Nearly a year after scoring a sensational second-round knockout to capture his second divisional crown, Nonito Donaire will attempt to win a third Saturday at San Antonio's Alamodome when he fights Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., who lost that same belt to Jorge Arce last May. Just like Donaire's encounter with Fernando Montiel, "The Filipino Flash" will meet a fellow knockout artist who also can box well, for the son of three-division champ Wilfredo Vazquez Sr. boasts 18 knockouts in 21 wins and a wide range of skills.

Will Donaire, a consensus top-five pound-for-pound entrant, solidify his status or will Vazquez Jr. score the year's first notable upset? Their CompuBox histories uncovered the following factors:

> Read more CompuBox analysis of Nonito Donaire vs Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on HBO.com

Nonito Donaire Must Take Control in 2012

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Ed MulhollandTwelve months ago, Nonito Donaire was a 115-pound champion about to take a shot at a 118-lb belt. Now he’s a 118 lb champion once more on the move through the weight divisions; on Saturday, he faces Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in a junior bantamweight contest that is the opening fight in Saturday’s first HBO World Championship Boxing broadcast of 2012.

Donaire is coming off a year in which some things went spectacularly well and some things went slightly less so. Here’s a quick look back at the good and the bad of Donaire’s 2011, and what the Filipino Flash needs to do in 2012 and beyond:

The Good: Donaire’s second-round TKO destruction of Fernando Montiel on HBO last February launched him into the stratosphere. He not only took that bantamweight belt, but he annihilated a quality opponent, with what was the consensus KO of the year.  Donaire suddenly found himself in the upper half of every pound-for-pound list, and he seemingly had the world at his feet.

The Bad: Donaire had had a moment like this before, when he knocked out Vic Darchinyan in 2007, only to languish (partly as a result of promotional conflicts) while in search of the next defining fight. That finally arrived against Montiel, but almost immediately Donaire again disappeared, embroiled in a contract dispute. That was resolved in time for Donaire to fight Omar Narvaez in New York City, but an enthusiastic crowd in the Big Apple was let down by a disappointing bout in which Narvaez refused to engage and Donaire professed himself “bored.”

The Future: The Narvaez debacle wasn’t entirely his fault; Donaire did what he could, but his opponent retreated into his shell early and never attempted to emerge from it. Now Donaire needs to load up his dance card as much as possible. His is a game based on speed and timing as well as power, and he would benefit from fighting regularly. Nobody expects him to make like Henry Armstrong and fight twice a month, but three or even four fights a year would help him fill the role that is being effectively vacated by certain other superstars who seem reluctant to engage on the main stage. Plenty of challenges await him, at 122 and even 126 lbs; but first, he needs to look impressive against the dangerous Vazquez.

If he does so, he can start 2012 the way he started 2011; the challenge this time is to maintain the momentum and cement his place at the top of the rankings.

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.