Fagan backs friend Andy Lee over old foe Chavez jr
By Jonny Stapleton
THE Irish fighter deemed ‘too tough’ for Julio Chavez Jr to accept a rematch with believes Andy Lee will net the WBC world middleweight title unless something ‘fishy’ takes places Texas next month.
Iron willed Oisin Fagan gave a teenage Chavez jr the fight and fright of his life when the pair meet in Las Vegas back in 2004. So impressive was then novice Gael Force that most neutrals including George Foreman believed he done enough to win the fight.
Unfortunately for the Dubliner impartial fight fans where in the minority. With the 16,000 strong crowd boasting a sever Mexican bias there was no way he was going to get the decision after a close encounter of the boxing kind.
Fagan is still adamant he won the bout and believes his career may have been different if he had his hand raised over eight years ago. He takes solace in the fact Chavez’s promoter turned down a rematch on three occasions claiming the Irish fighter was ‘too tough’ to risk fighting again.
Having had first glove experience of the Mexican, Fagan believes Lee has the tools to defeat Chavez Jr in their June 16 world title fight, but claims you could have the worlds strongest magnet in your arsenal and you still might not be able to prise the title from the protected Mexican.
“Andy is a good friend of mine and I can’t wait for this fight. It’s definitely one that I think he can pull off- I feel it’s his time to shine. I think Andy is naturally more talented a boxer than Chavez Jr. and once he plays to his strengths. I think we’ll have a new Irish world champ on our hands that night, unless bad-judging or something fishy goes on-which unfortunately, is always a possibility in professional boxing,” Fagan revealed.
“When I fought him, it was on the under card of Eric Morales V Jesus Chavez at the MGM Grand in Vegas, which was co-headlined by Miguel Cotto, so it was a massive fight-night for us both. I came out in the first round like a bull and hit him with some really good shots. I was relentless and extremely aggressive. I had nothing to lose, so I was grinding him down and I could see the fear in his eyes wondering why this mad Irishman wouldn’t stop throwing punches,” the former Irish champion added before revealing one moment of poor shot selection cost him dear.
“I felt I won the first couple of rounds easily and the third was going a similar way, until I naively, tried to throw an uppercut from outside. I ended up falling off balance just as he landed a straight-right. It hadn’t much power, but enough that my glove touched the ground to regain my balance, but it was called a knock-down, even though I was back up and ready to fight before the ref even counted to “one”. This meant that a definite 10-9 round to me, turned into a 10-8 round to him- this of course lost me the fight on the scorecards, as it was only a 4-rounder.
“It was a good fight but he got the decision. He looked battered and exhausted after the fight. Even the Mexicans in the crowd approached me afterwards and were taking turns to raise my hand in gestures, to let me know that they thought I had won. George Foreman came over to me afterwards and told me plain and simple… ‘Irishman, you’re one tough cookie and if we didn’t fight here in Vegas and his father didn’t escort him into the ring, we’d be talking about you instead of him right now‘.”
Fagan used will to trouble the young son of boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez, but advised Kronk fighter Lee to take a skill approach.
The fighter, who now works with the DCC and IABA introducing boxing to kids across the country, thinks lee can shine in the Sun Bowl next month.
“It was predominantly my aggression and heart that troubled Chavez Jr in our fight. That probably won’t surprise most people, as I’d be the first one to admit that I’m not the most skilled operators, but I knew he couldn’t match me for grit. That said, he was a tough enough kid and although I was clearly beating him, he was smart enough to know that if he stayed on his feet, none of the Vegas judges would vote against him, especially that his legendary father brought him into the ring, in front of 16,000 passionate Mexican fans.
“That said, while Andy wouldn’t be as aggressive as I am, he is a much more stylish boxer than me and thus, I don’t think it would be to his benefit to slug it out with Chavez Jr. Instead he should use his skills. I would tell Andy to use his nice body shots and break Chavez down. I think the fact that Andy is a stylish southpaw will be a huge factor in the fight and the key to his success.”