Weight issues lighter for Chavez
June, 14, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. figures to be in a real fight against Andy Lee on Saturday night (10 ET, HBO) at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, so the outcome is in doubt.
But even before Chavez and Lee get into the ring, a question other than who will win is hanging out there: Will Chavez make the 160-pound weight limit at Friday's weigh-in?
Chavez struggled mightily to make weight for his first two defenses, which came against Peter Manfredo Jr. and Marco Antonio Rubio.
At the weigh-in for the Rubio fight in San Antonio in February, Chavez arrived quite late because he was struggling so badly to shed the extra weight, and when he got on the scale, he looked like he was going to pass out. When he finally got on the scale -- for about five seconds -- he hit 160, jumped off and began taking in liquid.
He had spent extra time in a sauna and swimming with strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, and eventually -- barely -- made the weight.
For the fight with Lee, Chavez banished Ariza (or it was Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, depending on which story you believe). In any event, Ariza is out and Luis Cornejo fills the role in Chavez's for the first time.
Cornejo and the fighter have been working together for three months to make sure Chavez, who blows up in a big way between fights, makes weight.
Head trainer (and newly elected Hall of Famer) Freddie Roach seemed unconcerned about the weight situation on Thursday.
Roach said Chavez, who trained for the Lee fight in Las Vegas, where he lived in a house Arum rented for him, weighed 165.5 pounds after their Wednesday night workout. That might seem like a lot at this point, but it's nothing compared to the insanity of making weight for Rubio.
"Last time, it was 16 pounds over at this point," Roach said. "He doesn't have so much to lose. He's healthy and happy and not starving himself. He looks good, and we did the mitts [Wednesday] night, six rounds, and he got a good sweat going. The last couple of pounds will be a chore, but nothing drastic. Last time was bad."
Chavez also might have a little less on his mind going into Saturday's fight. On the day of the Rubio fight, the news came out that Chavez had been arrested Jan. 22 on a DUI charge in Los Angeles, where he was training with Roach. That date was just two weeks before the bout.
However, as TMZ reported, Chavez recently struck a plea deal in the case, in which he got three years of probation and was ordered to attend 30 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which he has already completed. He has a Dec. 7 hearing scheduled.
And an important fight on Saturday.