Chicago: Midwest Mecca for Boxing?

By Tom Donelson
Updated: August 11, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Chicago is one of the most racially diverse cities with one of the largest Hispanic communities. With over a million Mexican-Americans and over a half-million Puerto Ricans, there was a natural base for Bob Arum to sell a card that featured much local Chicago talent as well as Morales vs. Diaz and other leading Mexican fighters.

There has been a revival of Chicago boxing led by 8 Count Productions, the brain child of Dominic Pesoli. Pesoli has built a solid promotional company that regularly produces solid cards and now has some solid prospects; some featured on the undercard.

For the past several years, Pesoli worked closely with both Golden Boy Productions and Top Rank to bring nationally top cards to the Chicago and taking advantages of the Chicago location in the middle of the country and rabid boxing fans.

Two Middleweight prospects, Michael Walker and Donavan George showed their own wares. George personally told Arum that he was going to put on a show and knock his opponent out in style.

He did just that as he nailed Shay Mobley (another Chicago product) with solid combinations and ended their bout in just three rounds with a spectacular knockout.

Not be outdone, Walker nailed Dante Clark with a perfect left hook that sent the Cincinnati native down for the count.

Both fighters are still undefeated and in the case of George, he has not escaped the notice of Bob Arum. This could only mean more exposures for George and for Chicago boxing.

The All-State Arena featured 10,000 fans, many of whom carried Mexican flags as they celebrated their own cultures. When Ulises Solis came into the ring to fight Rodel Mayol for the IBF light flyweight title, the crowd noise was deafening.

Both fighters brought in their respective country banners, Mayol the Philippines flag and Solis, the Mexican flag. Solis outboxed Mayol in the early rounds, but in the sixth round Mayol garnered momentum as he nailed Solis with solid shots and even shaking the Mexican fighter.

Mayol continued to dominate in the seventh round and when the eighth round began, Solis held the slight edge on the scorecard but Mayol had the momentum.

He pursued Solis and after nailing him with a series of combinations and went for the kill.

As the Philippine fighter moved forward, Solis saw a quick opening between Mayol’s guard and threw the perfect right that nailed him right on the chin. Mayol went down and after nearly 10 seconds of stumbling on the ground, he made one last effort to beat the count.

He failed and Solis defended his IBF title.

Julio Chavez is the son of a Mexican boxing legend.

His father was the famous Julio Cesar Chavez and the Chavez legend is the mark that all young Mexican fighters are judged.

Chavez featured a devastating left hook that sapped the strength out of his opponent and eventually weakened him for the final assault. The younger Chavez looks like a carbon copy of his father but there are differences as well.

Chavez, Jr. is bigger than his father and at 6 feet, he’s tall for a welterweight and super welterweight. The young Mexican fighter often gives up his height as he concentrates on body shots just like his dad.

Fighting against Louis Brown, he repeatedly ripped left hooks to Brown’s body in their fight. These hooks set up his other arsenal which included a sharp looking uppercut and short but accurate right hands.

Brown occasionally countered with right hands over the left hooks but eventually the hooks digging to the right side of his body sapped his strength. Brown survived a knockdown in the fourth but a barrage of Chavez power shots in the fifth caused the referee to stop the fight.

Chavez was originally scheduled to fight Arturo Gatti for his next fight, but the Gatti lost eliminated that fight. His next bout will be against former contender fighter Alfonso Gomez, who recently sent Gatti into retirement.

Gomez represents a move up for Chavez and Arum is thinking that this bout happens in January or maybe in December. In the meantime, Chavez will be matched with a tune up to keep him in the ring. He represents the future for Top Rank but Morales was part of its glorious past.

For Arum, he stated in at the post fight interviews that he is looking to return to the Midwest to look for talent and augment his Hispanic stable.

His next big star could be hard slugging Kelly Pavlik, who challenges Jermaine Taylor for the true Middleweight championship.

Arum is counting on Pavlik not just upset Taylor but become a star in his own right and is part of this Top Rank strategy of augmentation. If Pavlik pulls off the upset and Chavez fulfills his potential; Arum will be armed with two attractive PPV stars.

One a Midwest slugging Middleweight and the other a son of a legend. As for 8 Count, they are becoming the magnet for future stars in Chicago.