Julio Cesar Chavez has pulled out of his September 11th fight with Pawel Wolak, prompting rumors that he is ready to move straight into a December showdown with fellow Top Rank fighter Miguel Cotto.
The news came today not from Top Rank, but Wolak’s manager Ivan Edwards. In an interview with Boxing Scene, Edwards revealed that Top Rank explained that Chavez hasn’t been training and would not have been in shape by September. For the inconvenience, Wolak’s team was able to negotiate a settlement of $75,000. But in Edwards’ mind, the cash settlement does little to excuse Chavez’s behavior.
“I received a call from Top Rank Promotions that they don’t think that Chavez is going to make it because he hasn’t been in the gym. My concern is that he doesn’t want to fight Wolak because he’s not in shape, which I think is totally unprofessional,” he explained. “Maybe he thought that Wolak was going to rough him up and wants to go into the Cotto fight fresh. My problem is that we signed the contract, and he’s not injured, but now he just decides he doesn’t want to fight.”
Cotto is coming off a July TKO victory over Yuri Foreman in his junior middleweight debut. Chavez’s last fight was a decision win over John Duddy.
Last week, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum advised the media his three top choices for Cotto-Chavez were Las Vegas (MGM Grand), Atlantic City, and New York (Madison Square Garden).
If the fight is signed, Cotto-Chavez will take place on December 4th and possibly feature an undercard of Fernando Montiel vs. Nonito Donaire.
This is definitely a fan-friendly fight that could do well for both men’s careers. There’s more upside for Chavez, whose last fight against John Duddy was his first legit test against a solid contender after 39 fights. Beating Cotto instantly makes him a player at 154 for any of the titles. A spectacular win for Miguel over a younger, naturally bigger man may be enough to silence the remaining naysayers who still believe he’s on the slide from his tough fights with Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao.
There’s no question Cotto is the more proven and skilled pugilist. But the fight is still dangerous because Chavez has a solid right hand and Miguel tends to experience defensive lapses. Aside from that, I think Cotto does great work to the body in this one and outjabs Chavez for the majority of the fight. Chavez will be up for this fight but I believe he’s out of his league, here.
Cotto’s fights in MSG have a great atmosphere so that venue has to be the frontrunner. Should be win Cotto has some great but tough fights remaining against any combination for Dzinziruk, Angulo, and Williams to close out his career at junior middleweight.