Chavez Retains His WBC Middleweight Title with a TKO of Lee in the 7th
It was the perfect night for a championship fight at the Sun Bowl. The winds were relatively calm, and the extreme heat of the day had passed. The crowd of 13,467 walked away quite pleased as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defeated Andy Lee with a 7th round TKO to retain his WBC Middleweight championship.
The excitement began with Mayor Cook singing the National Anthem while using his familiar guitar. Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum gave a great pre-fight speech praising El Paso and its leaders for coming together to make sure the fight stayed in the Sun City. Arum's classic line that really inspired the crowd was, "if you all stand up together, nobody from Austin and nobody from Washington can push you around."
The two fighters arrived in a way that was truly unique; and as far as I know has not been done before. Lee arrived first in a stretched limo and then Chavez followed in another stretched limo once the challenger was in the ring. Then, famous ring announcer Michael Buffer excited the crowd with his famous, "let's get ready to rumble" introduction, and we were underway.
The first round was slow with little action, as both fighters were attempting to implement their game plan. Chavez said after the fight that he had leg cramps that slowed him down in the beginning of the fight, hence the reason why Lee outboxed him by a 28-2 margin at first. The champion picked up the pace from the 2nd round on as he began to wear down Lee by pinning him against the ropes, outboxing him, and taking away his reach advantage.
The 5th round was by far the most exciting round in the fight, as both boxers landed numerous power shots. The 6th round was all Chavez as he began to take over the bout, landing crushing body punches, and a powerful barrage of right cross counterpunches too. Lee's punches had no effect on the iron jaw of Chavez as he even mocked him by dropping his gloves.
Chavez finally finished off Lee with a flurry of punches in the 7th round that included a crushing blow to the body, an upper cut, and a right cross. Referee Laurence Cole stopped the bout at the 2:21 mark, giving Chavez the TKO victory. Following the victory, Chavez said, "I began by studying him, I saw he had nothing and dove in." It was obvious that Chavez was winning the fight, and perhaps he would have knocked Lee out, but the decision to stop the bout seemed a little premature.
Overall it was an entertaining night of championship boxing at the Sun Bowl. El Paso was an outstanding host for this event, and showed why our city deserves the opportunity to continue to host these spectacular bouts. The Sun City has so much to offer, and the world saw that last night. Let's hope that Chancellor Cigarroa saw it as well. Even if he didn't, at least El Pasoans know what we are capable of.