Jerome O’Connell looks ahead to Limerick boxer Andy Lee’s world middlweight title fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Junior.
Who is Chavez Junior?
Two years younger than Andy Lee, Mexican born Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr is the undefeated WBC Middleweight champion of the world.
He has defended his title two times - he made his first defence in Houston by knocking out Peter Manfredo in the fifth round last November and he scored a unanimous decision against Marco Antonio Rubio at the Alamodome in San Antonio in February.
He is unbeaten in 26 pro fights and along the way has beaten Irish men John Duddy and Oisin Fagan.
The 25-year-old is the son of Julio Cesar Chavez, who was trained by Emanuel Steward to three consecutive junior welterweight world title fights in 1994. Steward is now Lee’s trainer.
Chavez senior went on to win the world super featherweight title. As well as Chavez junior, another son Omar is also a professional boxer. Chavez was trained by his father but is now in the Freddie Roach gym.
What’s at stake?
Andy Lee is challenging Chavez for his WBC middleweight belt.
It’s a title that Chavez has held since June 2011. Previous holders of the title include; Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Gerald McClellan, Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik.
The winner of the weekend’s fight, which is being promoted by Lou DiBella and Bob Arum of Top Rank have promised that the winner will get to challenge Sergio Marinez in September.
The fight takes place in the Sun Bowl Stadium in the city of El Paso in Texas.
There were some initial concerns about the venue but the title fight goes ahead at the 40,000 seater arena.
Televised live across the US by HBO, it appears the fight won’t be available on television screens to fans of Andy Lee in Ireland.
Pay per view channel Box Nation is the final chance for fans in Ireland but they are yet to confirm if they will televise the fight in the early hours of Sunday morning. The last resort for fans is to find a live screening online and two of the many possibilities are www.boxingguru.eu or www.wiziwig.tv
Even this side of the Atlantic, the Limerick hero is the outsider - available with the bookies at 3/1 to claim the championship belt.
But as underdog, Lee is free from all stress - something new for the former St Francis Boxing Club Olympian, who has been favourite for the majority of his 29 career fights.
In recent fights Chavez has struggled to make weight and in this fight he has to step up in class to box a strong rangy southpaw for the first time.
Lee is taller than Chavez Jr. and the champion will not be able to utilize his height and weight advantages that he used in title defences with fighters like Rubio and Manfredo Jr.
Given that Lee is fighting just across the US border from Mexico and the attendance will be backing Chavez, any tight decision could very well go the way of the champion and Lee could very well need a 21st career knockout for a historic win to achieve his life time dream of becoming champion of the world.
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