Prediction: As much deserved criticism Chavez Jr. has received over his career, it can’t be disputed that he’s made big improvements over the last year. But tonight, all that gets put to the test when he faces a hard man in Andy Lee. Win or lose, Chavez will get as good as he gives. Lee won’t be bullied inside; none of the big weight advantages Chavez enjoyed against foes like Zbik and Rubio. Lee’s also the harder puncher, so the trench warfare Chavez shows flashes of will put him in a perilous position during exchanges.
One thing I see is Chavez being on the move early. He did it well against Manfredo and punched hard whenever he set his feet. Should Lee have problems timing Chavez, he’ll lose some key rounds that’ll come back to haunt him on the scorecards. The later rounds will likely belong to Lee, but I don’t like his chances of getting a decision even in the wake of last weekend’s Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao shocker. Chavez takes some big shots, but wins a tight, entertaining split decision.