Living legend Chavez says he's through fighting

Alan Rogers

With the arrival of August, half the summer boxing season is gone and while we had some decent fights so far, the best is yet to come!

But before we get to that, let's wrap up the last weekend in July, starting with the Julio Cesar Chavez fight Saturday night against Kosta Tszyu in Arizona for the WBC junior welterweight title.

As expected, Chavez - Mexico's living legend - was no match for the champion. Chavez was such a huge underdog, the Las Vegas bookies refused to put up a price on the fight. Chavez, at age 38, is washed up and finished as a top class fighter. He was competitive for the first couple of rounds, but then it was all Tszyu.

Chavez (103-6-2, 86 KOs) was on wobbly legs and ran out of gas by round three. After that fought like a shot fighter, backing up - not his style at all - and hanging on until round six when he was floored by Tszyu (25-1-1, 21 KOs) 25 seconds into the round.

From there until the referee stopped the one-sided fight at the 1:30 mark of the round, Chavez was getting his brains beat out and looked to be on the verge of getting knocked out or hurt before Tszyu was pulled away.

The Don King promoted Chavez was the crowd favorite and was cheered from the moment he headed toward the ring until the end. Tszyu was booed from the start, but that was no help to Chavez.

The younger and stronger Tszyu, in his prime at age 30, had no problem from Chavez, who announced his retirement after the fight. When asked by the ringside commentators - the fight was aired on Showtime - if he would now retire, Chavez said "Yes." Let's all hope that's his final answer!

On the other side of the spectrum, the first fight on the Showtime telecast had Hector Camacho Jr. fighting Phillip Holiday. Camacho dominated the former lightweight champ until an accidental elbow by Camacho opened a cut on Holiday's eye in round six and the fight was stopped. They went to the scorecards and Camacho won a unanimous decision.

I have two things to note on this fight. The fans booed from the opening bell as Camacho's style of moving and boxing didn't please the crowd at all, even though it was effective. Camacho knocked Holiday down in round three and was dominating and would have won easily anyway, even had the fight been allowed to continue.

And at the tender age of 21, Camacho (29-0, 18 KOs) is still learning and the junior welterweight has a bright future. Most boxers don't even reach their prime until their late 20's or even early 30's, as Lennox Lewis now has at age 34 or Tszyu at age 30.

Camacho has his best years in front of him and at his 140-pound weight, he has some fantastic future matches ahead.

Camacho is still growing and will soon be a welterweight (147-limit) and that opens the door to "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya fights and Camacho will eventually be big enough for the junior middleweights (154-limit) and that means Felix Trinidad and Fernando Vargas become possible opponents.

While a bright future for Camacho looms ahead, the best days for Chavez are behind him and let's hope he still has enough sense to really retire and make it stick!

- Fight results from Caesars Tahoe Saturday night saw Israel Vazquez (26-2, 19 KOs) stop Amador Vasquez (13-6-3, 10 KOs) in round two of their main event fight. Julio Gonzalez (24-0, 16 KOs) scored a fourth round TKO over Pat Swann (18-11-3, 10 KOs) in the semi-main.

In prelim bouts, Dario Esalas (23-0, 19 KOs) won a six-round decision over Louis Lizzaraza (13-9-2, 11 KOs) and South Lake Tahoe's Eric Majors lost a four-round decision to Reno's Carlos Leon. In a major surprise and the upset of the night, Francisco Mendez, with a 12-17-6, 6 KO record coming into the fight, won a six-round decision over previously undefeated Louis Perez, now 16-1-1, 12 KOs, in a junior welterweight fight.

Friday night on ESPN2, the main event saw another undefeated fighter bite the dust when Tony Ayala was stopped by Yory Boy Campas. Ayala, who spent 16 years in prison for rape and other charges, fought a good fight against former champ Campas but at age 37, Ayala wasn't good enough to beat the veteran Campas.

Campas, 75-4, 64 KOs, went to the body early and wore Ayala, 27-1, 24 KOs, down. A beaten Ayala, with both eyes rapidly swelling shut and out of steam, didn't answer the bell for round nine and that was that.

- This Friday at 6 p.m., ESPN2 has heavyweight Hasim Rahman (33-2) fighting Frankie Swindell (37-19-3) in the main event. ESPN2 has fights set for every Friday in August.

In more August action, Saturday night HBO has its new KO Nation boxing show starting at 5 p.m. The feature bout has Eric Morel (26-0) taking on Sornpichai Pisnurachank (19-0) in the main event and Bones Adams (39-3-3) fighting Andres Fernandez (16-4) in the semi-main event.

Fox has their usual Sunday night fights (8 p.m.) throughout the month and both Showtime and HBO have cards set for every weekend of the month.

The big fight in August takes place Las Vegas on Aug. 12 when Evander Holyfield (36-4-1) fights John Ruiz (36-3) for the vacant WBA heavyweight title that was stripped from the real champion, Lennox Lewis, for fighting Michael Grant instead of Ruiz.

Not a real title fight but it'll do until something better comes along.

Holyfield is a 3-1 favorite at local sports books ...

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer


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