Sebastian Zbik vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
No, it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t the best decision I’ve seen.
The champ, Zbik (30-0, 10 KO’s), came out quick. Sticking his surprisingly good jab into the much heavier Chavez Jr’s (42-0-1, 30 KO’s) face*. That jab kept Chavez relatively at bay for the first four rounds as Zbik threw multiple combinations and generally outworked the larger opponent.
(* The HBO broadcast said Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. weighed in, unofficially, the day of the fight at 180lbs. Zbik weighed in at 165lbs on that same HBO scale. In effect it was a fighter that was just 5lbs over the middleweight limit taking on a fighter 5lbs over the light heavyweight limit. Not sure would could be done about a fighter ballooning 20lbs from the weigh-in to the day of the fight. I mention the unofficial weight because it’s definitely a factor.)
The best thing Chavez could have done was use that 180lbs frame to drive and dig hard, thudding body punches into Zbik’s ribs and kidneys. As always the person taking the body shot didn’t react much, if at all, but that is par for the course. The body shots were meant to soften Zbik up and slow him down and they did just that.
For some reason Zbik let Chavez Jr. control the pace of the fight when it didn’t have to be that way. Zbik let himself get goaded into a middle of the ring, war of attrition. Not the best decision by Zbik considering he came into the fight with only ten of his 30 wins coming via knockout (borderline Paulie Malignaggi power). Zbik allowed Chavez to close the distance and beat on his body.
Zbik showed he could really take a punch as some of the shots he was taking were shotgun blasts, landing flush and a couple even sending him back a step or two with a little jelly leg.
The fight stayed in the middle of the ring for the majority of the fight, switching back and forth between vicious body shots from Chavez Jr. and fantastic combinations from Zbik.
As the fight looked to me, it was Sebastian Zbik that controlled the majority of the fight, despite throwing little to the body of Chavez Jr. and taking some thunderous abuse to his own. Also despite the large amounts of forearm, elbow, and shoulder he took from Chavez throughout the fight. Don’t worry the ref didn’t warn or even mention it once.
Zbik controlled the ring for the most part, landed the cleaner punches, worked his jab, and just generally outworked Chavez Jr. to the tune of out landing him 391-256 as well as landing a higher connect %, 47%-32%.
All that adds up to a successful title defense for Sebastian Zbik in m book. The judges, as they have a way of doing, proved me wrong.
Judge Raul Caiz Jr. scored the bout 114-114 a draw, while judges Steve Morrow and John Keane scored the fight 115-113 & 116-112 (respectively) for the winner, and new WBC middleweight champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (now 43-0-1).
My card was 115-113 for Sebastian Zbik (now 30-1).
(Side note: Sergio Martinez the true and legitimate middleweight champion has already used his emeritus/”Diamond” status (ugh…) to exercise his right to an immediate fight with new WBC middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. I believe Martinez would literally beat most of the life out of Chavez Jr’s body.)
Mikey Garcia (26-0, 22 KO’s) easily KO’d Rafael Guzman (28-3, 20 KO’s) in the 4th round of a scheduled 10 rounder.
I’m still not entirely sold on Garcia, but he is certainly growing on me. He is extremely slick and controls the ring in the way a veteran would. He’s very smart and well-trained, always seems to throw the right punch at the right time and he definitely has the makings of a champion. The one thing that has me holding back is his patience. Normally patience is a fantastic quality to have, more boxers should have it/use it, but Garcia seems to hold back a little too much at times.
For example in round 3 Garcia had Guzman out on his feet with roughly 30 seconds left in the round and then just backed off. Guzman had thrown little in response and was seemingly ripe to be KO’d, but Garcia let him recoup and off to his corner he went. Now, it was all moot because he ended up knocking him out in the very next round, but backing off like that against a more experienced, big-time fighter could be an extremely costly mistake.
Christy Martin (49-6, 31 KO’s) returned to the ring against Dakota Stone (10-8-5, 2 KO’s) and was in a highly competitive fight that she ended up losing via TKO in the 6th and final round, but it wasn’t because she was beaten into submission. Martin actually broke her right hand in the final round.
She took a photo of it after the fight.