Vanda enters the ring in red shorts with a red bandana wrapped around his head. He’s looking nonchalant, even disinterested. Now comes Chavez, playing to the crowd, bedecked in green robe, gold chains, and red headband. Accompanied, appropriately by his dad – Chavez looks about 14 years old. Audio is poor, but who cares if I can’t hear Jimmy Lennon Jr, because the ring card girl at his right elbow is very lovely to look at. Blah blah blah, Jimmy. I think the ring card girl just smiled at me! Vanda is introduced as Matt “Depredador” Vanda! Now Chavez Jr, who is doing a hula dance in his corner. No, he’s just stretching. He’s finally undressed. I think it took his dad a while to get all the accessories removed and stowed for the duration. The two fighters touch gloves…And away we go!
Cautious jabbing to 2:47…Vanda throws a healfhearted left-right combo…measure, measure, measure thru 2:16, then a righthanded body shot by Vanda connects. Little action to 1:55…Chavez is backing up, Vanda pursuing carefully…more feeling out to 1:35, then Vanda connects a couple times, Chavez throws two body shots, then a right may have landed to the head at 1:15…Let hook from Vanda blocked at :55, was it a low blow? The two touch gloves at :46…Vanda throwing more to the body, Chavez returns to the head, but no real action now to the :18 mark. Vanda throws a brief 2-punch combo and the round is over.
Between rounds Chavez was looking all around at the crowd instead of taking instructions. I’ve never seen that before. The round is under way and we have more careful jabbing from both men. Vanda connects a left hook to the head at 2:47, Chavez backs Vanda into the ropes at 2:35 but fails to make hay. Each fighter connects with two body shots at about 2:22. Vanda is the aggressor here, Chavez is going a little low, but then follows with a hook upstairs at 1:58 or so. Both fighters very cautious, little action to 1:33…A straight right from Chavez at 1:21, and Vanda has his back to the ropes. JCC1 is yelling from his seat, Chavez Jr responds with a combo. Lots of feints, lots of jabs, little action to :45. Left hook to the head for Vanda at :38. Chavez presses him into the corner at :29. Vanda is bouncing on his toes at :22. Chavez walks Vanda backwards into the ropes as the rounds ends, but fails to aggress. Round ends.
JCC1 looks aggravated between rounds.
We’re under way again, Chavez throws a genuine head shot at 2:51, but it’s a single shot. Shoves Vanda into the ropes at 2:36. Vanda connects three times to the body at 2:25, to little effect. Chavez throws a multipunch combo at 2:04, Vanda connects a stiff right to his head, another one at 1:48, jabs effectively, this fight is looking pretty even. Chavez snaps Vanda’s head…backs Vanda into the ropes and throws body shots, but Vanda escapes at 1:11. Right hook glances off Vanda’s jawa at :55, more body shots from both men thru :35, head shots are largely missing. Vanda is gaining confidence, leading Chavez backwards into the ropes where the two trade, they move away from the corner and continue to trade shots, Chavez gets the better of it as the round ends.
JCC1 is demanding two right jabs and a left hook from his seat between rounds.
Vanda lands a jab at 2:56, little else happens through 2:44…Vanda backs into the ropes voluntarily again, walks around Chavez, both men miss with more punches. Vanda lands a good left-right at 2:11. Chavez is getting inside and throwing body shots. Goes slightly low at 1:56. More body work from Chavez, and Vanda seems content to stand at the ropes and absorb the punishment. Right hook to Vanda’s head at 1:28, and Vanda lands a left hook to Chavez’ head at 1:06. Vanda drops his hands at :39, Chavez connects and then Vanda does. Vanda’s left hand is at his waist at :25, he isn’t afraid of Chavez. Chavez, inexplicably, is concentrating on the body while Vanda’s head is exposed. A nice flurry by Chavez before the bell. Neither man is looking stronger or tougher, but Chavez probably deserves to be ahead on points at this time.
Commercials go long and we join the fight at 1:45 or so. Little action to 1:09, but Chavez’ bombs are getting through with more frequency than Vanda’s. Neither man has the other timed, and yet both are connecting. Vanda connects a nice right at :48. Vanda dances a little at :33, Chavez is more mobile and stronger, but Vanda is hanging with him. Chavez is making the height and reach advantage work for him, and probably won this round by a narrow margin. Chavez is throwing lots of power shots but to little effect as Vanda is covering up effectively. Vanda did connect strongly several times that round, but Chavez landed more often.
Vanda connects with a nice jab at 2:50, throws a wide right-left hook combo to the body…Chavez is bulling him around, but doing little damage. Vanda doesn’t score a lot but he is game and isn’t afraid of Chavez at all. Right lands to Chavez’ chest at 1:52. Left hook misses, Chavez makes him pay. Then Vanda lands a couple of strong body shots at 1:32 or so. Vanda retreats to a corner, sticking good jabs as he does so. Back in the center of the ring, the two trade shots from 1:15 to 1:00. Vanda likes it inside, but gets hit frequently with strong body shots when he’s outside. Left to the ribs might have hurt Vanda at :28, but he hides it well. Vanda hits Chavez with a strong and extended combo beginning about :20, combo looked good but Chavez fights back and the two are very even at the bell.
Chavez looks tired in his corner between rounds. Now he’s barking at the ref as the round begins. Vanda follows Chavez now through 2:40, throwing the left hook repeatedly to the body. Now Chavez drops his hands, continues to back into the ropes. Vanda is throwing and Chavez is leaning back into the ropes at 2:10. Left hook lands for Chavez, right hook for Vanda, and the round again looks even. The two are throwing dueling hook-bombs to 1:23. Chavez gets aggressive at 1:14, he’s been loading up. But it’s over by 1:05. Vanda following Chavez again, landing a hard right hook at :52. Chavez is immobile, Vanda is moving. Now Chavez throws an extended combo at :34 but it ends with him eating a very strong left hook. Both fighters are going bombs away, Chavez throwing more but Vanda also connecting occasionally, and now the round ends.
A closeup reveals that Vanda’s face looks smooth and unmarked beteen rounds, his demeanor is laid-back, almost lazy. He looks very comfortable in his corner. Vanda follows Chavez again to the 2:41 mark then landing some nice body shots about 2:33. Chavez throws his usual slow hook flurry and backs up again. This is a slugfest. The crowd is chanting Chavez’ name beginning about 2:04, but he’s uninspired. He works at his own speed, which is slow. Vanda has taken a lot of punches, but is unmoved. Left jab lands for Vanda, hook combo for Chavez. More hooks from both men and a good hook by Chavez to Vanda’s head at 1:09. It’s tit-for tat at :55, no advantage to either man this round. Chavez scurries backwards to the ropes at :40, Vanda pursues and gets hit with a nice counter from Chavez. Idiot producer goes to a camera on Chavez at :20. And again at :09. The worshipfulness has to stop! Vanda got the better of the exchange just before the bell, and that’s a change of pace for the middleweight from St Paul.
Chavez is hunched over and breathing hard between rounds. Round 9 begins with a strong flurry by Vanda to 2:54, now the two trade again, and Vanda is unimpressed, as am I. Chavez, in a jam, experiments with an uppercut combo at about 2:30, now Vanda begins to jab, walks backward to the ropes, and turns away from a punch. Is he hurt to the body? The two are slugging it out through 2:00, Chavez lands a bunch of hooks to 1:45, and his attack goes unanswered. Now Vanda snaps Chavez head back several times, but again grimaces at a body shot at 1:30. More flurrying from Chavez, those slow hook-flurries again. Vanda shoves him into the ropes, then Chavez spins him around and lands about ten in a row at :59. Vanda fights back, and for the first time looks really tired. Chavez has a killer instinct, but now gets hit with a big left hook at :30 and again at :26. Vanda lands repeatedly, then the ref steps in and breaks them up at :11. Chavez makes a big show of ineffective punching as the round ends.
The final round begins with Chavez bouncing and Vanda bobbing. A straight right lands for Vanda, more hooks by Chavez, and a right lands to the head. Both men are now looking exhausted. Both land effective hooks, but Vanda flinches again at 2:25. Now suddenly Vanda bulls Chavez across the ring and into the ropes at about 2:13. I think he was just warned for butting. Vanda lands a handful of power shots to 1;54, then Chavez returns in kind. Chavez missed several hooks there, Vanda tripped over his own feet but regains his footing and is okay. Chavez charges anyway, and takes a good combination to the head for his trouble. The two are trading hard to 1:10 – all power shots and both men are wilting. Vanda lands two good hooks at :52. Vanda gives chase at :40 and corners Chavez, now he’s showboating. Vanda feels good! A hard right hook flattens Chavez’ face, more flurrying, and now Chavez escapes just as the round ends.
Both corners appear confident of victory, but Vanda looks jubilant. He’s just hung strongly with an undefeated up-and-comer. Chavez’ corner is showering him with water and he’s looking exhausted while Vanda walks around the ring smiling at everybody. My guess: Chavez will get the decision in this close fight, and it’s probably deserved, though Vanda was much stronger in the final round. It’ll be considered a bad decision by the Minnesota crowd, but it’ll be the expected hometown decision for the Mexican hero’s offspring. Vanda is now clowning for the camera, feeling like a winner. Chavez is still on his stool a minute and a half after the fight ended, head between his knees. Now he’s finally up and the two hug, but Chavez looks like a man going to his own execution. And the bell rings, here’s the decision: …okay, it’s got to come soon. The crowd is chanting something, I can’t tell what…Classy Jimmy Lennon Jr is now on the mic…is he saying that this a split decision? It appears to be. The winner is Chavez, and that’s expected. The crowd is cheering, but the ring is being pelted with garbage. Amazing, is this an unpopular decision or what? Ooh, that cup was full of beer when it hit the ring.