Chávez Jr. Retains Middleweight Title

It’s a case of “like father, like son,” as Julio César Chávez Jr. continues his march toward greatness with another victory…

The 26-year-old Mexican boxer—the son of retired boxing champion Julio César Chávez—stopped Andy Lee in a late surge Saturday night at the Sun Bowl in El Paso to remain undefeated and retain his WBC middleweight title.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Chávez punished Lee in the seventh round with powerful body shots, upper cuts and left and right hands before referee Laurence Cole stepped in to stop the fight at 2:21 of the round. Most of the pro-Chavez crowd of 13,467 at the Sun Bowl roared their approval.

Chavez is now in line to fight lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez for the true WBC championship. Martinez owns the WBC diamond belt. Top Rank, which promotes Chavez, announced via Twitter that the fight would be September15 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Chavez (46-0-2, 32 KOs) started slowly and was outworked by Lee (28-2, 20 KOs) in the first two rounds. But then his powerful punches began to wear down Lee, an Irish boxer who stood two inches taller than Chavez.

Chavez actually landed fewer punches than Lee, 121-116, but connected on 46% of them, while Lee landed just 29%. Chavez connected on 113 power punches to Lee’s 87.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“In the first round, I was a little cold,” said Chavez. “But then you saw I put my face out to see if he could hit me and he never hurt me.”

Chavez was asked by HBO‘s Larry Merchant how he could follow in the footsteps of his famous father, who is considered perhaps the greatest fighter in Mexico’s history.

“I’m happy to carry on the name,” Chavez said. “And I force myself every day to make history in the world of boxing and every day I’m doing better.”

Chavez said he was suffering from leg cramps from the start of the bout.

“From the first round my legs were bothering me, and I could’ve knocked him out earlier,” Chavez said. “No excuses, but I could’ve knocked him out earlier if it wasn’t for my legs.”

Chavez is now relishing the challenge of facing Martinez, who is No. 3 on most pound-for-pound lists and is 49-2-2 with 28 KOs. At 37, Martinez is 11 years older than Chavez.

“With my legs that night I’m going to knock him out and shut his mouth,” Chavez said.

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