Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did not look particularly impressive, angered many by missing weight (again) the day before the fight and drew boos from a crowd of 9,245 that turned against him, but he won a unanimous 10-round decision in a light heavyweight bout against Mexican countryman Marcos Reyes on Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
The judges had it 98-91, 97-92 and 96-93 for Chavez.
"I feel good. I feel strong, but I hurt my left [hand]," said Chavez, who did not specify when in the fight he thought he injured it. "I think it's broken. I don't know. I'll see the doctor. This guy is a good boxer.
"With all respect to Reyes, I think if I didn't hurt my hand, I would have knocked him out.
"I connected with the best punches to the chin and to the body. I hurt him, but I couldn't finish him because I hurt my hand. If he wants a rematch, whatever. He never hurt me."
ESPN.com scored the fight 97-92, also for Chavez, the much bigger man, who relied on his far superior power against Reyes, a career junior middleweight and middleweight, who was picked specifically to make Chavez look good as he tried to bounce back from his disastrous outing in April.
That is when Chavez, also not in top condition, fought very poorly. He was dominated by Andrzej Fonfara in a fight contracted at 172 pounds and quit on his stool after the ninth round, angering many of his fans.
Although Chavez claimed leading up to the fight with Reyes that he was refocused on boxing and taking the fight seriously, his actions said otherwise.
The bout, according to Showtime, was contracted at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds, but it was increased to 170 during fight week because Chavez (49-2-1, 32 KOs), 29, was struggling with his weight. And then he missed weight -- not the first time -- at Friday's weigh-in, coming in at 170.8 pounds, while Reyes (33-3, 24 KOs), 27, was 168.4 pounds.
But as he has done before, Chavez simply paid Reyes an undisclosed amount of money for his trouble, and the fight went on as scheduled. Laughably, Chavez blamed his being overweight on the scale in his room being inaccurate.
It was just the latest incident in Chavez's career in which he showed he's not taking his career seriously. He has twice failed drug tests and been suspended, he was arrested on DUI charges a few weeks before a 2012 middleweight title defense and severely missed weight -- by 4½ pounds -- for his first fight with Bryan Vera in 2013.
Chavez, who said his next fight would be at 168 pounds -- he's said that before -- fought sporadically against Reyes, but his power punching made all the difference. Reyes would throw flurries but could not do any damage. Then Chavez, like a big guy picking on a little guy, would walk to him, with no defense, and throw a couple of shots that would rock him. Chavez's power was evident in the second round, when he rocked Reyes with a left hand to the body followed by a left to the head. He also nailed Reyes with a low blow for which referee Guadalupe Garcia gave Reyes time to recover.
Reyes landed his share of blows, but they did no damage. When he cracked Chavez with a clean right hand in the fourth round, Chavez did not even blink.
Reyes was having a good sixth round until Chavez closed it out with a big flurry of hard shots that left Reyes with swelling around his left eye. Chavez was clearly tiring in the later rounds, and trainer Robert Garcia -- working his first fight with Chavez, who has had four trainers in the past five fights -- was all over him, telling Chavez he did not like what he had seen from him in the eighth round.
Garcia said after the fight there was still work to be done with Chavez.
"I think he could have been better," he said. "It's a process. It's only been one fight."
Whatever notion that Reyes might have had a chance on the scorecards seemed to disappear in the ninth round when an obviously accidental head-butt opened a cut over Chavez's left eye. As blood streamed down his face, he complained repeatedly to the referee, who bought what Chavez was selling and surprisingly docked a point from Reyes, deciding the head-butt had been intentional.
The crowd also thought the ruling was unfair and began to chant, "Reyes! Reyes!"
"It was an accident," Reyes said. "You can see [on the Showtime replay] that he came into my head."
But Chavez's accuracy with his punches and the power made all the difference. He landed 149 of 340 punches (44 percent), while Reyes landed 164 of 690 (24 percent).
Still, Reyes felt that he won the fight.
"I did my work; I showed him how I box," he said. "[The weight] makes a difference. And he didn't make the weight. He's a light heavyweight fighting a middleweight."
Arroyo wins a junior bantamweight title
Puerto Rico's McJoe Arroyo won a vacant junior bantamweight world title via 10th-round technical decision in a dreadful fight against Arthur Villanueva of the Philippines.
Referee Rafael Ramos, who had his hands full all night, stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 5 seconds of the 10th round on advice of the ringside doctor because of a deep and bloody cut over Villanueva's right eye that was caused by an accidental head-butt in the sixth round.
With Villanueva (27-1, 14 KOs), 26, unable to continue, they went to the scorecards, on which Arroyo was ahead 98-91, 98-91 and 97-92.
The fight was a messy, foul-filled affair with very little clean punching and a lot of holding. They could never get into any kind of rhythm, in part because Arroyo's right-handed stance and Villanueva's southpaw stance did not mesh.
"Before the fight, I knew he was a tough fighter. All Philippine fighters come to fight," Arroyo said. "I knew I had to be ready for the 12 rounds to box or fight. It was a competitive fight, but we just worked harder every round."
Arroyo (17-0, 8 KOs), 29, a 2008 Olympian, won the 115-pound world title recently vacated by South Africa's Zolani Tete, who declined to accept the $75,000 he was due under the terms of a purse bid for him to defend against Arroyo.
Arroyo and Villanueva had clashed heads early in the fight and did so again in the sixth round, which opened the cut over Villanueva's eye. Ramos surprisingly docked a point from Villanueva for the clash of heads -- even though it was Arroyo who initiated it. Ramos had the doctor check the cut during the seventh round, again after the seventh round and then, finally, during the 10th round, at which point the fight was called off.
"That's a normal thing when a southpaw fights a right-hander," Arroyo said of the head-butts. "We were both trying to be slick and smart. That happens when two boxers with the same style fight."
Villanueva said he thought he was winning the fight.
"I'm very disappointed they stopped it. He head-butted me. It was bleeding badly, but I thought the fight was going my way and I was winning the fight," he said. "I'm very disappointed, and I want an immediate rematch. I know I can beat him."
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Arroyo landed 77 of 278 punches (28 percent), and Villanueva connected on 95 of 494 (19 percent).
• Junior welterweight Amir Imam scored a spectacular fourth-round knockout of Fernando Angulo in their world title elimination bout.
With the win, Imam became the mandatory challenger for the winner of the vacant title bout between Lucas Matthysse and Viktor Postol, who will meet this fall on a date to be determined.
Imam (18-0, 15 KOs), 24, of Albany, New York, had trouble with Angulo early on, but then he turned out the lights with a single big right hand behind Angulo's ear. Angulo (28-10, 16 KOs), 34, a native of Ecuador living in Venezuela, crashed to the canvas face-first and was out cold. Referee Jon Schorle immediately waved off the fight without a count at 56 seconds. Angulo, who lost a decision to Juan Diaz in a 2006 lightweight world title bout, saw his five-fight winning streak come to an end.
"Good opponent. Just caught him with a good shot behind the ear," Imam said. "Postol-Matthysse -- I got the winner."
Said Angulo, "He's a good, strong, young fighter and a future world champion."