Former two-time middleweight world titlist Daniel Jacobs made a successful debut in the super middleweight division Friday night as he made the overweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. quit after the fifth round at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.
When the fight ended abruptly with Chavez, the favorite of the largely Mexican and Mexican-American crowd, refusing to go on, spectators rained boos on him and pelted the ring with debris. When Chavez left the ring, people in the crowd of about 10,000 continued to throw things at him in an ugly scene.
Chavez said he quit because he had a broken nose. His lawyer, Miguel Leff, told ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez that Chavez will have reconstructive surgery and will be hospitalized at least 24 hours. Regardless, Jacobs had begun to take it to Chavez, who also quit after nine rounds in a 2015 fight with Andrzej Fonfara.
“They won’t let me enjoy my victory,” Jacobs said as he was being protected from objects flying into the ring. “I never ran and I never will, but I will duck these beer cans.”
As Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. exits the ring after quitting, the crowd erupts in boos and throws a variety of garbage his way.
Jacobs returned to the win column after losing a competitive decision to Canelo Alvarez in a 160-pound title unification bout in May. Jacobs had been having trouble making weight in recent fights, so he moved up to the 168-pound division to face Chavez, also a former middleweight titlist.
But instead of facing a man his size, Jacobs was in the ring with a much bigger man who had failed to make weight Thursday and probably was close to being a cruiserweight on fight night.
Whether Chavez would even make it to the ring was riddled with uncertainty. He had to obtain a temporary restraining order from a Nevada court on Tuesday that forced the Nevada State Athletic Commission to lift his suspension for refusing a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association random drug test on Oct. 24 that left the fight in limbo and led Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to move the bout from Las Vegas to Phoenix. The situation also forced Hearn to sign former two-time middleweight world title challenger Gabriel Rosado to fight on the undercard knowing he would be on standby to face Jacobs in case Chavez was not allowed to fight.
Even after Chavez’s suspension was lifted, the fight was again in limbo Thursday when Chavez was 172.7 pounds at the weigh-in, a whopping 4.7 pounds over the 168-pound super middleweight limit. He had to give up $1 million of his purse to Jacobs so that Jacobs would fight him. Jacobs could have invoked his contractual right to fight Rosado instead because of how far overweight Chavez — who has had weight issues for several bouts — was.
“To me it wasn’t my debut at super middleweight because to me he was a cruiserweight,” Jacobs said. “Even his jab was heavy. Physically, he was a bigger man, so I tried my best to be elusive and box, but he was heavy. I did my best to counter him and slowly but surely I got my counterpunches in there and he quit.”
Chavez made plenty of excuses following the fight, including accusing Jacobs of fouls that did not occur, and even had the audacity to call for a rematch.
“I was getting close but got head-butted above the left eye,” Chavez said. “Then I had problems because of all the blood. I came over to the corner and couldn’t breathe. He elbowed me and head-butted me. Very tough fight. I felt I couldn’t go because I couldn’t breathe properly. The ref wasn’t calling anything.
“I apologize to the fans. I’d love to have a rematch. I got head-butted. He fought a dirty fight and [the referee] didn’t even take a point away. He would have been able to continue doing the dirty work.”
Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. backed up his son.
“With all due respect to the fans of Phoenix, Arizona, I disagree with you. My son was making a competitive fight and he was winning,” Chavez Sr. wrote on social media. “Unfortunately, he was head-butted and elbowed. He has a broken nose and will undergo surgery now.”
Chavez was very aggressive at the outset. He punched to the body and used his massive size advantage to push Jacobs around in the first two rounds. Jacobs, who was with a new head trainer in Fareed Samad for the first time after splitting with longtime cornerman Andre Rozier due to a financial dispute, got his jab going in the third round and appeared to get into a rhythm.
As Jacobs (36-3, 30 KOs), 32, of Brooklyn, New York, let his punches flow to the head and body in the fourth round, Chavez began to slow noticeably.
Chavez (51-4-1, 33 KOs), 33, of Mexico, had some success in the middle of the fifth round, but it was short-lived, and overall it was another good round for Jacobs, who cut Chavez over the left eye and gave him a bloody nose. After the round, Chavez returned to his corner but did not sit on his stool. As Chavez’s team worked on his cut and nose, he did not seem to want to continue.
Finally, referee Wes Melton walked to his corner and Chavez indicated that he did not want to go on. As Melton waved the fight over, the boos cascaded throughout the arena and fans threw liquids and debris into the ring, some of which hit members of the DAZN broadcast team at ringside.
According to CompuBox, Jacobs landed 61 of 223 punches (27%), and Chavez landed 35 of 116 (30%).
Friday night marked just the second fight for Chavez in more than two years.
After losing by shutout decision to Alvarez in May 2017 in a fight in which Chavez did not appear to even try, Chavez had beaten only journeyman Evert Bravo by first-round knockout in a light heavyweight fight on Aug. 10 in Mexico.
By quitting the way he did, it is hard to envision Chavez back in a major fight. Jacobs, however, is in line for another big one, possibly a title shot at super middleweight against either Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders. All three of them are promoted by Hearn and fight on DAZN, which means they would not be complicated bouts to make.
More serious discussion of those fights will come in the future, but on Friday, Jacobs wanted to try to enjoy his win.
“I am comfortable with the victory. Obviously, they won’t let me enjoy it,” Jacobs said of the crowd. “I know they’re not mad at me. They’re mad at Chavez, but I did my part.”
Martinez stops Rosales for flyweight world title
Julio Cesar Martinez won a vacant flyweight title in an action-packed slugfest with Cristofer Rosales, whom he knocked out in the ninth round in the co-feature.
Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs), 24, of Mexico, won the belt that eluded him on Aug. 31 in London when he challenged Charlie Edwards and dominated. The fight was initially ruled a third-round knockout win for Martinez but was changed to a no contest minutes later after a replay review because Martinez had landed a punch while Edwards was down. Rather than fight Martinez in a mandated rematch, Edwards elected to vacate the title and move up in weight. So Martinez faced former titlist Rosales for the vacant belt and claimed the 112-pound belt in an exciting battle.
The first round started fast, but the action dramatically increased in the second round as they traded toe to toe. Rosales rocked Martinez with a clean right hand as they engaged in an extended exchange. An accidental head-butt later in the round left Martinez with a cut on his right eyelid that dripped blood down his face.
They continued to blast away at each other in a nonstop action fight, and by the end of the fourth round Rosales was bleeding from his nose.
Although Rosales gave a game effort, Martinez was breaking him down. He was landing uppercuts and adroitly switching between left- and right-handed stances to keep Rosales off balance.
Martinez laid immense punishment on Rosales in the seventh round, and referee Raul Caiz Jr. was looking closely at stopping the fight late in the round as Martinez poured on the punishment.
In the ninth round, as Martinez unloaded numerous punches and forced Rosales to the ropes, Caiz finally stepped in and stopped the bout at 1 minute, 19 seconds.
“It was a very strong preparation,” Martinez said through an interpreter. “We came with everything and things worked our way. We knew Cristofer Rosales was going to be a tough fighter, but the tricks came out. We were able to perform and win the fight.”
According to CompuBox, Martinez landed 231 of 490 (47%), and Rosales landed 118 of 591 (20%).
Martinez, who shares trainer Eddy Reynoso with Canelo Alvarez, said he would like to next have a unification fight.
“We want to follow Saul’s footsteps and go for all the belts against whoever, wherever,” Martinez said, referring to Alvarez.
Rosales (29-5, 20 KOs), 25, of Nicaragua, was trying to regain the belt he once held before losing it to Edwards by unanimous decision last December.
Hooker smokes Perez
Former junior welterweight world titlist Maurice Hooker, who lost his belt by sixth-round knockout to Jose Ramirez in their July 27 unification bout, made his return in dominant fashion as he knocked out Uriel Perez in the first round.
Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs), 30, of Dallas, who was fighting at 144 pounds — between the junior welterweight and welterweight limits — was in his first fight since parting ways with career-long trainer Vince Parra following the loss to Ramirez to join the camp of Brian McIntyre, who also trains welterweight titlist Terence Crawford.
Hooker, who said he wanted to return to the 140-pound division, had no issues with Perez, whose two-fight winning streak ended. He opened the fight using a stiff jab to control Perez and then landed a hard right hand to the head and a right to the body. Perez was badly hurt and Hooker continued to pound him until he went down to the canvas. Perez (19-5, 17 KOs), 24, of Mexico, barely beat the count but told referee Tony Zaino he could not continue, and Zaino waved it off at 2 minutes, 52 seconds.
“I know when I hit him with the body shot I hurt him,” Hooker said. “When he backed up on the ropes I attacked him. I have the best jab at 140. No one can beat me when I’m conditioned. I just want my belt back. Where I’m from I can’t go out like that. I want my belt back.”
Hooker welcomed his return to the win column.
“I feel good,” he said. “I just want my belt back. I’ll do whatever I can to get my belt back. [Unified titleholder] Josh Taylor, whoever it is, I want my belt back at 140. The weight didn’t matter to me. I got a new team, we trained hard, and I’m ready. Tonight I couldn’t show you too much, but next fight I will. I got in my rhythm and hit my shots.”