Ever since Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. turned pro in 2003 observers have wondered whether he's truly world class or if he's the product of marketing and maneuvering. Sure, his 43-0-1 record is glossy and several performances have shown he has grit, but does he have the skills to deal with fellow titlists Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Geale and Dmitry Pirog, much less Sergio Martinez?
That's where Peter Manfredo Jr. comes in, for he's good enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. He's skillful enough to beat those of equal pedigree and below but fails when the level is raised. Does Chavez have the goods to get past Manfredo, or will "The Pride of Providence" show that the jig is up? Their CompuBox histories offer the following clues:
A Common Opponent: Both have decisoined Matt Vanda; Chavez Jr. in back-to-back fights in 2008 and Manfredo in January 2010. The numbers heavily favor Manfredo, for he scored a lopsided decision and dominated the CompuBox stats.
Manfredo unleashed a 99.6 punch-per-round attack that helped him amass bulges of 324-124 (total connects), 80-33 (jab connects) and 244-91 (power connects). He limited Vanda to 42.2 punches per round, a 29.4 total connect percentage and a 38.4 percent power connect rate. Manfredo landed an impressive 48.7 percent of his power shots while holding Vanda to 38.4, a plus-10.3 gap.
Chavez struggled to beat Vanda the first time, for the Minnesota product out-landed Chavez 279-262 (overall) and 82-28 (jabs). Chavez's 234-197 power connect edge -- and home ring advantage -- proved pivotal. In the Las Vegas rematch, a better-prepared Chavez enjoyed edges of 241-167 (overall connects) and 195-113 (power connects), negating Vanda's 54-46 edge in landed jabs.
Hit -- and Be Hit: Both are offensive-minded fighters who aren't afraid to absorb.
In four middleweight fights, Chavez threw 62.2 punches per round (8.1 percent above the 57.1 divisional norm) and landed 43.7 percent of them (26.6 percent above the 32.1 average). He also uncorked 45.5 power punches each round (26.9 percent above the 33.3 median) and connected at 46.4 percent (18.6 percent above the 37.8 average).
A troubling sign for Chavez is that despite being unbeaten at 160 he was out-landed three times. Sebastian Zbik out-landed Chavez 391-256 (overall), 56-14 (jabs) and 335-242 (power) and out-threw him in two of three categories (834-796 overall, 211-72 jabs). Apparently, the deciding factor was that each of Chavez's connects carried more impact and that his 724-623 edge in power punch attempts signaled he was "pushing the fight."
In beating Troy Rowland (a fight changed to no-decision after Chavez failed a post-fight drug test), Chavez was out-landed 249-238 overall and out-jabbed 93-50 and Billy Lyell out-landed Chavez 218-197 overall and 167-138 in power shots. Their statistical edges, however, were the result of vastly higher outputs (19.5 more punches per round by Lyell and 33.1 more by Rowland) and Chavez prevailed due to superior accuracy (plus-5.1 overall and plus-4.1 power against Lyell; plus-14.1 overall and plus-2.0 power over Rowland).
Alarmingly for Chavez, he fields a high percentage of his rivals' power shots. The average middleweight takes 37.8 percent of power shots, but Chavez absorbed 53.8 percent of Zbik's, 44.3 percent of John Duddy's and 45.6 percent of Rowland's. Only Lyell's 34.8 percent was below the divisional norm. Chavez's 46.4 power accuracy at middleweight should be good enough to dominate, but that is mitigated by his opponents' 45.1 percent accuracy -- a slim plus-1.4 ratio.
That's good news for Manfredo, who in his four middleweight fights averaged 78.2 punches per round (27 percent above the divisional norm), landed 36.7 percent of them (8.7 percent above), attempted 48.5 power shots (31.4 percent above) and landed 46.0 percent of those (17.9 percent above).
Besides his success against Vanda (48.7 percent), he landed 46.2 percent of his power punches against Angel Hernandez, 46.3 percent against Walid Smichet, 49.5 percent against Jhon Berrio and 41.1 percent against Daniel Edouard.
But Manfredo occasionally has been a reachable target, for Hernandez landed 45.3 percent of his power punches and Vanda's 38.4 percent is above the 37.8 divisional norm. However, Manfredo's defense was better against Smichet (32.8 percent) and Berrio (24.4 percent). Which Manfredo will show up November 19?
Prediction: While Manfredo is naturally bigger, his power -- while good -- isn't devastating. Chavez began his career at 130 and most of his knockouts came at 140 through 154. Finally, both men have sturdy chins and brows. Before a heavily pro-Chavez crowd in Houston, their man will win competitively but unanimously.
HBO BAD - Nov 19, 2011