Five keys for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Plotting the middleweight champ's path to victory against Andy Lee

Originally Published: June 15, 2012
By Diego Morilla | ESPNdeportes.com

Middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s fight against top contender Andy Lee on Saturday is about respect and credibility as much as it is for a title and the bragging rights that come with it. Both fighters have been hyped as the next big thing since their early days as professionals, only to fall a bit short of expectations along the way.

But the road to the top isn't a cakewalk, and after dealing with their shares of ups and downs, Chavez (45-0-1, 31 KOs) and Lee (28-1, 20 KOs) seem ready to face what appears to be a career-defining challenge for each. Chavez, 26, will attempt to silence his many critics by taking on his most difficult rival to date. Lee, 28, a former Irish Olympian now living in Detroit, has also felt the sting of criticism, which he'd like to put an end to with an explosive performance against the biggest draw in the middleweight division.

A defeat will push one of them back down the contender ladder, while the winner will move a step closer to being regarded as the best 160-pounder in the world today.

With the stage set, here are five keys to victory for Chavez on Saturday:

Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.