COMMENTARY | There are few human beings who know the sport of boxing as intimately as El Gran Campeon Mexicano, Julio Cesar Chavez.
The three-division Hall of Fame superstar, who retired with a remarkable record of 107-6-2 with 86 KOs, is regarded by many as the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time-- a truly weighty title considering the long lineage of great warriors from the Aztec Nation. Chavez's battles with Meldrick Taylor, Roger Mayweather, Edwin Rosario, Rocky Lockridge, and Frankie Randall helped turn the native of Culiacan, Sinaloa into a legendary figure whose every word is of massive importance to fight fans south of the border.
The 50-year-old legend recently sat down with Sadiel Lebrón of ESPN Deportes to talk about a variety of issues ranging from his take on some of the sport's biggest stars to the status of his son's career.
On who will be boxing's next pound-for-pound best:
"It's hard to pick one, but I definitely think Nonito Donaire has demonstrated that he is one of the best in the world. I think Donaire will be the one to reign over the sport."
On Floyd Mayweather:
"Floyd Mayweather goes too long between fights. At his age, fighting so infrequently can take its toll and it's likely to happen sooner rather than later."
On Saul "Canelo" Alvarez:
"Canelo is a young, strong kid with a lot of ability, but he has not fought anyone. I think he should fight with Austin Trout, who just beat Miguel Cotto, to prove that he's ready for a fight with Floyd Mayweather."
On his son Julio Jr. and the controversy after testing positive for marijuana post-Sergio Martinez loss:
"We all make mistakes. He did not smoke marijuana, they were simply some drops, like I told you, like it's already been said. But I think Julio is going to retake his career, He's a young man whose dream is boxing. He loves it and I think he's going to come back better than ever."
On whether Julio Jr. deserves a rematch with Sergio Martinez:
"Yes, of course. Julio gave the opportunity to Martinez. I think Julio won the right to a rematch with his performance in the twelfth round, where he knocked Martinez down and was about to knock him out."
Chavez's take on these issues pretty much mirrors conventional boxing wisdom. For instance, when it comes to the well-regarded Donaire, his place as possible top pound-for-pound talent is pretty much guaranteed as Mayweather, Marquez, Pacquiao, and Martinez head toward a not-too-distant retirement. "The Filipino Flash" will have company at the top as Andre Ward will likely keep his undefeated record for the foreseeable future, but few question Donaire and Ward as the immediate heirs to the P4P throne.
Chavez also reflects popular opinion in asserting that Saul Alvarez should face Austin Trout next before moving on to a Mayweather bout.
And, of course, it makes sense that, even with some rough patches between the two in recent months, Chavez would defend his son's honor and insist that he get a crack at redemption via Sergio Martinez rematch.
What was new, though, was his take on Floyd Mayweather and the immediate future of the controversial five-division world champ.
What seldom gets brought up in the boxing media is that Mayweather, who will turn 36 in February, is, indeed, being adversely affected by his lack of activity.
Whether fans care to admit it or not, Mayweather has shown definite signs of slowing down in recent bouts. His legs are not as sturdy as they once were and his reflexes have slowed down with age. The dazzling, dominant performances of the prime Mayweather have been replaced by competent victories won by guile and a genius level ring IQ. A lot of the slowdown can be attributed to age, but it has certainly been aided by a once-a-year fight schedule since 2007 that has left Mayweather less than 100% ring-sharp.
The inactivity and an increasingly younger crop of opposition will eventually get the best of Floyd-- if he sticks around long enough.
Chavez, after nearly twenty-five years of stellar career, obviously knows his stuff. Only time will tell if he's as good at predicting the future as he was at dominating his opponents.****************
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sadiel Lebrón, J.C. Chávez: `Donaire es el mejor, ESPN Deportes