Los Angeles: Second-generation fighter Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., seemingly reaching for yet another straw in what’s been an unfulfilled career, returned to the site of where his father’s legendary career ended with a loss and suffered the same fate against Daniel Jacobs when he quit in his corner for the second time in his career.
Chavez (51-4-1, 33 KOs) claimed he had a hand injury immediately after the fifth round, forcing the fight to be waved off and awarding Jacobs (36-3, 29 KOs) the win on Friday night at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach contradicted the matter further and claimed Chavez retired because of a broken and bloody nose.
“It was a very good fight, Chavez said. “I was getting close but got headbutted above the left eye. Then I had problems because of all the blood. I came over to the corner and couldn’t breathe. He elbowed me, and headbutted me. Very tough fight, I felt I couldn’t go cause I couldn’t breathe properly. The ref wasn’t calling anything.”
An ugly scene unfolded immediately after from the more than 10,000 pro-Chavez fans who were in attendance. Hoards of unhappy customers threw beers and other objects into the ring. Chavez, being pelted, escaped the onslaught from the crowd and ran to the locker room under cover before he had a chance to explain his decision. Chavez Sr., who fought wars till the end, shook his head.
Jacobs outlanded Chavez with 61 to 35 punches in what was a decently competitive fight until it unceremoniously ended.
“Physically, he was the bigger man, and it showed. He was heavy, but I tried my best to be elusive and box,” Jacobs said in the ring as items kept flying toward his head. “This is so disrespectful. They won’t let me enjoy my moment.”
Chavez came charging forward right from the start, using his size to walk down Jacobs. After Jacobs sustained the pressure, he retreated to a stick-and-move style, piling points, and rounds, by attacking the body first, and then going to the head. Although Chavez was the heavier puncher, Jacobs was the busier boxer.
Chavez, with blood on his face, imposed his will in the fifth after Jacobs had three successful rounds in a row by connecting with big punches. And then he quit, much like he did in 2015 against Andrzej Fonfara in Carson when he claimed a knee injury in a fight he was clearly losing.
“This is the biggest opponent I’ve had in my career, but I knew it was only a matter of time before he got tired,” said Jacobs. “I know they’re not mad at me. They’re mad at Chavez.”
Chavez sported bleach blonde and blue hair but didn’t bring the bombs needed to back up the forward-charging Jacobs. The 33-year-old was reuniting with Roach for the first time since splitting 2012 but didn’t throw the combinations his trainer said were needed to win the fight.
Chavez returned from a 27-month hiatus in August with a one-round tune-up fight and felt ready to go up against the heavily favoured Jacobs, a former world champion making his super-middleweight debut after losing to Canelo Alvarez in May.
In addition to Jacobs, Chavez was battling the baggage he brought into ring. He blew past the contracted weight for the fight Thursday by five pounds, which cost him a hefty $1 million from his purse in order to move forward with the bout at 173 pounds.
He also failed to comply with an ordered drug test in October as contracted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. It wasn’t clear if Chavez would even fight until a Nevada judge granted the suspended fighter an injunction Tuesday.
In the end, it was Chavez who didn’t want to fight.
In the co-feature, Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs) scored a technical knockout win over Cristofer Rosales (29-5, 20 KOs) in an all-action fight to win the WBC flyweight title.