This Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr returns to the ring as a Light Heavyweight to face Poland’s rugged Andrzej Fonfara. Right now, Chavez Jr is favored at (-310) over Fonfara, who comes back at (+255). There is no over/under for this bout and there are no belts on the line, but with JCC Jr. fighting for the first time in over a year, it will be the main event of SHOWTIME’s Saturday boxing program. Fonfara is 27 years old and he brings a solid (26-3) record to the table. Fonfara started his career in lower weight classes, just like Chavez Jr, as he did his debut fight at 145 lbs. Fonfara has been campaigning at Light Heavyweight for some time however, as he captured the vacant USBO Title and the minor IBO World title with wins over Byron Mitchell and Tommy Karpency. In May of 2014, Fonfara earned a shot at Adonis Stevenson and his WBC World Light Heavyweight title, but he lost the twelve round decision after being dropped in the first and fifth and being cut in the third, he came back in the fight to win a few rounds and take it the distance. The loss to Stevenson is really the only significant loss of his career, as his other two defeats came in before 2009 earlier in his career. Fonfara is going to count on his experience at Light Heavyweight to bring him an edge, as Chavez Jr will be moving up to this weight after a few years of documented weight struggles. In September of 2012, he lost the first fight of his career when he dropped a UD to Argentina’s Sergio Martinez. That loss set off a chain of events that have seen Chavez Jr fall from the spotlight. Since that fight he has been largely inactive, fighting only twice. Both of those bouts came against Brian Vera, a tough fighter who Chavez Jr had a hard time with the first fight before dispatching him more readily the second time out. That first fight was in March of 2014, and both those matches saw Chavez appear to have weight problems, as Chavez weighed 172 lbs. after a year layoff since the loss to Martinez, and their second fight was made at Super Middleweight. Chavez was also caught smoking pot, which contributed to the layoffs and he has been embroiled in a contentious dispute with his promoter Top Rank. Chavez Jr has always been a fighter with the pressure of fulfilling some type of legacy, and now, two weight classes up from where he held a World title at Middleweight he needs to be very focused and he needs to see this as the first of a series of fights as he ramps up activity. Even with a win, Chavez may be best served by looking for big fights at Super Middleweight in his next outing. In the ring, the fight could be interesting. Both men count on toughness to keep them up when they are getting hit, and both men like to come forward and give while they are getting. In the Sergio Martinez loss, Chavez looked a little slow and plodding, and he has never really been lauded for his athleticism or speed. Fonfara brings a similar game to the table, and it is unlikely that we are going to see one of these men sit back and try to outbox the other. The WBA’s interim Super Bantamweight World title is on the line in the co-main event as Oscar Escandon (24-1) faces undefeated Moises Flores (22-0). The live event features 11 fights in all, and includes 10 round bouts featuring undefeated Amir Imam (16-0) taking on Walter Castillo and JCC Jr’s brother Omar Chavez (32-3-1) taking on Richard Gutierrez (28-15-1), so there are several bouts that may be added by the sport books.
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