Julio César Chávez Jr. Wins Fight Plus a New Fan
Julio César Chávez Jr. won a fourteen-round fight over Irishman John Duddy on Saturday, June 26th by unanimous decision.
The fight took place at the Alamodome and a day prior to the event, Jorge Alejandro called to invite me to come out and take some pictures of him and Patsy Torres during an afternoon sound check. Alejandro was selected to sing the Mexican National Anthem and Patsy was chosen to sing the American Anthem.
However, they would not allow the press to enter until 4:30 p.m. and I missed the sound check. This meant I would now have to go the fight and I had to give the keynote speech to the River City Academy Class of 2010 at 6 p.m. at the far northwest Restoration Center in Leon Valley.
Giving a commencement speech was a new experience, but I got through it okay and after grabbing a quick bite, I made it back to the Alamodome by 9:35 p.m. arriving at the same time as Torres. She went to her seat and I walked around the long corridor of dressing rooms coming to a stop in front of Julio César Junior’s dressing room, where I ran into a police officer I knew. As we engaged in conversation, Julio César Sr. stepped out in a sharp tuxedo wearing a black rosary over it and a red headband that had “”6-26 Chavez Jr. 10” embroidered in white thread.
I had met the most celebrated athlete in México over twenty years ago and he remembered me. He didn’t say much, but before going out into the dome, he took off his headband, gave it to me and said, “put it on and nobody will question you being back here.” Héctor Pavón took a quick picture of us, than he walked off.
This meant I had free reign as an honorary member of Team Chávez Jr. whom all sported the same headband.
The one awkward and embarrassing moment came when Alejandro sang the Mexican Anthem. Thirty seconds into the anthem people were whistling and cheering as the large overhead screens showed Julio César Jr. warming up in his dressing room. After that the monitors flashed his opponent, Irishman John Duddy doing the same thing. All of a sudden the entire audience of thousands started hissing and booing extremely loud. Meanwhile, Alejandro was not aware of the reason. His face turned white and registered sheer panic as he heard all the booing.
“I was devastated,” Alejandro said afterwards. And he did not find out that the people were booing the image of Duddy on the screens, not Alejandro’s singing and I felt super bad for him, but he was alright after several people told him what had accidentally transpired.
I am not into boxing and after he and Torres sang, I was ready to go home, but I saw an empty spot on a ringside bench, I sat down, stayed and enjoyed the fight without snapping one photo. Realizing I had complete excess, I stayed until after the press conference. I was also invited to join the entourage for an early morning at Mi Tierra Restaurant. I decided to call it a night as I walked out as a new Julio César Jr. fan.
I admit I felt silly wearing that headband, but thanks to that token, I was able to take the exclusive photographs you see on this page — all thanks to the six-time world boxing champion and Mexican icon.