CHAVEZ showed marks of battle after his last win. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
NUEVO VALLARTA, Tepic, Mexico, Sept. 12
Graham's Odds: 
Chavez -580; LeHoullier +390
Over 9.5 -200; under 9.5 +180

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is topping the bill on another Latin Fury card on Saturday, and while this isn’t anything to get excited about there are two interesting title fights to back up the 10-round main event, with Filipino Donnie Nietes taking on Mexico’s Manuel Vargas in what to me is the true main event while Fernando Montiel faces Alejandro Valdez in an all-Mexico contest.

Chavez’s opponent, Jason LeHoullier, is known for his toughness, and Chavez has been the distance in his last three fights, so I suppose the main interest will be to see if the son of the Mexican legend can become the first to stop the 31-year-old from Maine.

I’ll say this for Chavez: his fights are usually entertaining. Because he isn’t particularly skilled, tends to be easy to hit and isn’t blowing people out now that he is meeting a more durable type of opponent, his bouts tend to generate a lot of contact, with Chavez taking as well as giving.

Fighters tend to raise their level of performance when they meet Chavez, too. JCC Jr. was involved in gruelling struggles against Ray Sanchez, Jose Celaya, Matt Vanda (in their first fight) and again in his most recent bout, when he had to dig down deep to overcome Luciano Cuello, who was coming on strongly at the end — two judges gave the Argentinean the ninth round and Cuello won the 10th on two scorecards while the third judge had the last round even.

Chavez faded even more badly than this in the first fight with Matt Vanda and even seemed in danger of being stopped, but it seems he was suffering from a virus that night and he did win the rematch comfortably on points.

Hittable, suspect stamina, not really a very big puncher at 154 pounds — these are the knocks on Chavez. He is having to grind out the wins, and after 40 fights seems to have reached his level, which is that of a good crowd pleaser who falls some way short of world class.

Largely because of the reverence felt for his famous father, Chavez still attracts interest in Mexico and to be fair he has been learning on the job, so to speak, because he had little amateur experience. He is 23, though — no longer a baby — and just doesn’t seem to be improving all that much although he did give quite a competent performance in the rematch with Vanda.

I think that the Mexican fans are hoping that Chavez can pull out the sort of performance that would indicate he is capable of progressing to a higher level. Perhaps he can do so on Saturday — the Mexican fans can but hope.

LeHoullier fits in with the standard of opponent that Chavez has been meeting in the last year or so — someone who is game, can take a punch but who isn’t known to be much of a puncher himself.

In other words, someone who can stand in there with Chavez for a good number of rounds, perhaps all 10, and give a good account of himself without posing too great a threat.

LeHoullier fought a 10-round draw with the willing Jose Luis Gonzalez (although he seemed to get a break from the judges) and he fought 12 hard rounds with Harry Joe Yorgey, who subsequently knocked out the unbeaten Ronald Hearns in a major upset — the punches that crumpled Hearns had no noticeable effect on the sturdy LeHoullier. This was LeHoullier’s only loss, and although it was a majority decision he seemed to have been clearly outboxed.

Yorgey’s movement and clever boxing gave LeHoullier problems, but in Chavez he meets someone who most likely will be right in front of him. This will give LeHoullier the chance to land punches, and thus the fans should be able to enjoy what the trade calls a “fun” fight although as I like to point out these fights are probably more fun for the onlookers than for those who are giving and receiving the punches.

LeHoullier will be giving it his best effort in his biggest fight, but Chavez seems to be the better fighter and the harder puncher. I am expecting to see punches landed on both sides, with Chavez most likely getting in the better-quality blows.

All the indications are that this will be a 10-round decision win for Chavez, but if he can buckle down and keep the punches flowing — a big “if” admittedly — he just might be able to force a stoppage around the ninth round.

Last Updated: 
September 9, 2009 - 3:00pm