It may not be a title fight or a “big” fight as far as the wider sporting world is concerned, but this Saturday night (November 1) Matt Vanda and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr give us boxing’s closest approximation to a big fight: an anticipated fight.
Hardcore fans in the US and casual fans in Mexico have been waiting for this bout with keen anticipation since Vanda provided an unexpectedly stern test for young Chavez back in July. Writing at the conclusion of that bout but before the decision was announced, it was my opinion that night that although “Vanda was much stronger in the final round,” Chavez probably deserved a close decision and “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.” It’ll be no surprise to anyone to learn that I stand by that today – Chavez piled up points in the early and middle rounds and by my scorecard had six rounds in his column. But the Mexican crowd was offended by the fact that one judge dishonored Vanda by scoring the fight a shutout in favor of Chavez, especially when Vanda was so energetic and completely unmarked immediately following the fight. So here’s the dual key for Saturday night’s fight: will Vanda be more aggressive in the early rounds, and conversely, will Chavez be less comatose in the later rounds?
The pick here is for this fight to look much the same, despite Vanda’s protestations to the contrary. He says he’ll pick up where he left off in the last fight, break Chavez’s nose in the fifth, and knock him out before it’s all over. More likely, Chavez will come in in better shape than last time, Vanda will be less tentative in the first few rounds, and just like last time, neither man will have power sufficient to kayo the other. So we go the distance, and there’s no telling who wins.
Are These Still The Good Old Days?
Think fast: When’s the last time a Minnesota boxer headlined an event in Las Vegas? When was the last time a Minnesota boxer headlined a pay-per-view anywhere? Let’s face it, folks – these are the good old days of Minnesota boxing. There are a lot of good fighters around our big state. Whether any of them will eventually make a big worldwide splash is a question for someone smarter than the Fistic Mystic, but it’s sure going to be fun to watch and find out.
Due Respect to Vanda:
It has been said of sailors that they reason as they feel. That is, their thoughts are dictated by their feelings. It may also be true of Vanda – he has a reputation for a mercurial temperament. But while we may not all hold Vanda in reverence, it’s only fair to credit him for his willingness to fight all comers and acknowledge that his unique attitude and disposition is serving him well enough these days.