August 19, 2005

The sons of great fighters making their dads proud

By John Whisler

We still don’t really know if Julio César Chávez Jr. can fight.

But at least we know this – he’s knocking out all the guys he should be knocking out. And right now at this early stage of his career, that means virtually every opponent he faces.

Chávez was at it again Friday in Laredo, Texas. The son of the legendary Mexican ring king flattened Jonathan Nelson just 54 seconds into their super lightweight bout.

A short left hook to the jaw was all it took. Chávez still has a long way to go to match his father, in terms of victories – he’s got 21 to his daddy’s 108 – and also style.

Julio Sr. was nasty in his heyday. Great reflexes. Fast hands. Iron-clad chin. Maybe one of the best body-punchers ever, in any weight class.

His son doesn’t even look like a fighter. He’s 19 going on 14 with a face and body to match. He looks clean shaven because there’s nothing to shave. He doesn’t appear old enough to go to the movies on his own let alone list prizefighting as his chosen profession.

He doesn’t look old enough to have a profession, period.

But he appears to have skills. He had a limited amateur career, so he’s being brought along slowly.

A crowd of 4,740 showed up at the Laredo Entertainment Center – most of them no doubt to watch Chávez. With crowds like that and, given his limited experience, don’t look for him to step up in competition anytime soon.

Papa Chávez was ringside. He left beaming.

“He worked the hook very well,” the father said, “then followed it up with the right. He got hit and showed he can take a punch. I’m very proud of my son.”

Chávez wasn’t the only junior on the card. The other, Jorge Paez Jr., at age 17, actually looks older than Chávez. Chávez looks the more junior of the two juniors. And it really isn’t even close.

Paez, the son of former world champion Jorge Paez of Mexico, took care of Javier Segura in an earlier bout on the card.

Paez ran his record to 5-0 by knocking out Segura (4-11, 4 KOs) with a crunching left hook to the chin. The punch put Segura flat on his back. He was counted out at 2:55 of the second round.

It was Paez’s first fight in the United States, so not much is known about him. But it is apparent he is quite different from his flamboyant father.

Paez entered the ring modestly attired in red, white and green trunks and black shoes. Unlike his father, a showman whose garish costumes were the norm,

The multi-tattooed Segura, on the other hand, came out in full costume - a headdress and cape depicting an Aztec warrior.

Jorge Paez Sr. would have been proud.

Paez did show flashes of the old man. He set up his knockout a bolo punch. He wound up with his right before unloading the left. Segura, a high school classmate of Oscar De La Hoya, went for the fake – left hook, line and sinker.

Jorge Sr. would have been proud of that, too. He was famous for using all the tricks in the book.

“It must be in my blood,” Paez said of the tactic.

Word is that Jorge Jr. and Sr. are estranged, but Junior denies it. He said his father is involved in “picking my fights.”

Junior lives with his mother in Mexicali, Mexico. He said his dad lives in Fresno, Calif.

As for the style differences, Paez said he just wants to be his own man.

“I’m not a showman,” he said through an enterpreter. “I have to have my own style. I just want to be a fighter.”

Although it’s early in his career, Paez does appear to have some skills – good balance, footwork and decent power.

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