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Friday, April 20, 2018

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. looked so bad Freddie Roach nearly stopped fight before big comeback

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s comeback in the 12th round against Sergio Martinez on Saturday night was so improbable that his trainer, Freddie Roach, said he nearly stopped the fight after the 10th round.

Roach told his fighter in the corner after the 10th that he needed a knockout to win the fight. Then during an inteview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Roach even said he was considering stopping the fight after the 10th.

“Freddie, you told Julio that he needed a knockout to win. How does he get it?” asked Kellerman.

“He’s gotta punch with him, he’s gotta exchange with him, he’s gotta let his hands go. He’s walking in with his head down. He’s gotta let his hands go to knock this guy out,” said Roach.

“Can he [knock him out]?” Kellerman asked.

“I’m not sure. His speed is just so much. His speed is a factor in this fight — the kid is very fast. We can’t keep up with him — at least so far.”

“Have you had any thoughts of stopping the fight?” Kellerman followed.

“I did. I said to Julio ‘Julio, show me that you want to win this fight.’ I’d like to see a little bit more,” said Roach.

“He’s trying really hard, but the speed factor is just too much.”

Yes, that’s how bad Chavez Jr. looked through 10 rounds. Roach was ready to stop the fight. But guess what? Chavez Jr. managed to get in some nice shots on Martinez in the 12th and even put the Argentine on the canvas twice — once thanks to a punch, and another time after the wobbly Martinez slipped.

It seemed like Martinez went away from what made him successful earlier in the fight. He started the first minute just dancing around with his hands down, hardly throwing any punches. That allowed Chavez Jr. to step in and catch him with a good shot.

We later learned that Martinez was taken to the hospital after the fight and that he had a broken left hand. We don’t know when that happened, but it could explain why he was so quiet in the 12th.

Some people have pointed out that Chavez Jr. is the latest one of Roach’s fighters to lose or look bad in a big fight, joining Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. I certainly think something is wrong with his training.

Roach was upset with Chavez Jr. for slacking off during training camp leading up to the fight, and the fighter even tested positive for marijuana afterwards. It’s obvious that Chavez Jr. was lazy and that Roach wasn’t getting through to him.

While I don’t blame all of Chavez Jr.’s struggles on Roach — I’ve long felt Julio was extremely overrated and it looks like he was lazy — we’re seeing that Roach is not a miracle worker, and that his training (or decision about whom to train), has some holes.

Maybe Roach needs to use stricter standards when he decides whom he’s going to train. And maybe he needs to think about what he can improve to make his fighters look better in the ring, because his fighters getting beat badly is not reflecting well on his reputation.

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