By Mark Eisner: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will be emerging from a 2-year layoff on July 20 to fight on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman card on Fox Sports pay-per-view in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to ESPN Deportes. Former WBC middleweight champion Chavez Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs) hasn’t fought in two years since his 12 round unanimous decision defeat to Saul Canelo Alvarez in a catch-weight fight at 164.5 pounds on May 6, 2017.
Chavez Jr. will be returning to the super middleweight division for the July 20 fight card. There still isn’t opponent picked out for the 33-year-old Chavez Jr., but in the next two weeks someone should be selected for him.
Chavez Jr. likely to be matched carefully
Given the long period of inactivity, it’s likely that Chavez Jr. won’t be matched too tough. He looked poor in his loss to Canelo. The way that Chavez Jr. fought in that fight, most any super middleweight division would have beaten him without any problems. If the opponent for Chavez Jr. is a poor one, he likely won’t be put in the co-feature. With the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight being on Fox PPV, it would look bad if Chavez Jr. was matched against a mediocre opponent. The boxing public wants to see quality for their money. Chavez Jr. failed to deliver in his high publicized fights against Canelo and Sergio Martinez. It was a rotten idea for Chavez Jr. to fight those guys. He performed poorly, and the boxing public were dissatisfied with what they saw.
Chavez Jr. is training in Tijuana for his comeback
Julio is hard at work in Tijuana, Mexico in preparing for his comeback. In recent video of Chavez Jr., he looked in good shape. He wasn’t bloated like we’ve seen from at times in between fights. He’s clearly been working out in preparing for his return to the ring. A loss for Chavez Jr. on July 20 would likely end his hopes of capturing a world title at super middleweight. Chavez Jr. has lost two out of his last four fights. He can’t afford to lose anymore.
Chavez Jr. and former two division world champion Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez have been talking about fighting each other in a rematch in late 2019. Martinez easily beat Chavez Jr. by a 12 round unanimous decision in a disappointing fight on pay-per-view in September 2012. There had been talk of the two fighting each other shortly after their fight seven years ago, but Martinez’s knee problems put a quick finish to his career in 2014. Martinez is now 44-years-old, and hasn’t fought since his 10th round stoppage loss to Miguel Cotto in June 2014. Just how much interest there would be by fans in a rematch between Chavez Jr. and Maravilla Martinez in 2019 is the big question. Without Martinez taking some tune-ups first to show boxing fans that his right knee is sound, a fight between him and Chavez Jr. might be interpreted as a cheap money grab by fans.
Former WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery (29-0, 23 KOs) is likely to be fighting in the co-feature bout at the chief support for the Pacquiao-Thurman card. Nery’s promoter is reportedly hoping to get him a title shot on the card against WBC 118-pound champion Nordine Ouabaali (15-0, 11 KOs). This would be a fight that might even be better than the main event between Pacquiao and Thurman. The southpaw Nery recently stopped former IBF super flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo in the fourth round on March 16 on the undercard of Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Nery, 24, made it look easy in knocking Arroyo down four times in the fight before it was halted after the fourth round.