Kicking off a series of breakdowns on the magnificent Julio Cesar Chavez, we start with his 1989 WBC Light Welterweight title defense against Sammy Fuentes.
1. Opening up your opponent’s guard. Ali, Lennox Lewis, Manny Pacquiao, Lomachenko, Klitschko, Garcia are just a few examples of fighters that do this but we think the way Chavez does it here is quite exceptional, here’s why:
a. It disguises what he’s doing. Where other fighters, say Lomachenko, rely on their opponent’s limited visibility to execute this tactic, Chavez disguises his reaching motion as a jab encouraging his opponent to stay covered.
b. The full jab motion also affords him all of typical built in defense that comes with it. Its not a reaching, pawing, exposing maneuver but one that is very familiar in throwing and recovering from.
2. Chavez controls Fuentes with his elbow. This too is textbook inside fighting but done to near perfection in Chavez’ fights. In this particular exchange it gives him a couple key advantages:
a. Distance deception. By catching Fuentes’ weight with an outreached arm, it makes it seem as if Fuentes is safer than he is when in reality he greatly controlled by Chavez’ extended arm. This allows Chavez to stay at a striking distance.
b. It ties up Fuentes hands. Notice his forearms lay across Fuentes hands. At best this prevents counter fire but in most situations prevents direct punching while providing an advanced warning to Chavez whenever a hand leaves his forearm.
3. Weight distribution. Rewatch the clip and notice who has the stronger weight position in their clinches. Fuentes as in many exchanges is weight forward, almost leaning on Chavez while Chavez remains grounded, controlling with his arm, in a power position.
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