On Tuesday night, undefeated middleweight (160 pounds) prospect Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (pictured above, at left, training with Freddie Roach) of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mex., threw out the first pitch before the home-standing Los Angeles Dodgers' defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 1-0.
Before doing so, Chavez met Dodgers' manager Joe Torre as well as legendary former Dodgers' pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, the latter of whom is part of a Spanish speaking broadcast team.
The 24-year-old Chavez Jr. is preparing to end what will have been a seven-month ring absence on June 26 when he steps into the ring at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex., opposite Ireland-native, John Duddy, of New York.
Chavez-Duddy will be part of Top Rank Promotions' Latin Fury 15: La Furia De Mexico pay per view event.
The son of the Mexican former world champion by the same name, Chavez last fought on Nov. 14, when he earned a 10-round, unanimous decision victory over Michigan's 34-year-old Troy Rowlands (25-3, seven knockouts) only to have the verdict turned into a no-contest after Chavez (40-0-1, 30 KOs) was determined to have tested positive for a banned substance by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Chavez will have completed a seven-month suspension that ends on June 14, this after having tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic.
Against Duddy, however, Chavez has a chance not only to return to his winning ways, but also to perhaps thrust himself into title contention, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
Arum said that he could match Chavez against newly-crowned WBA junior middleweight (154 pounds) titlist Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs), who dethroned Brooklyn's Yuri Foreman (28-1, eight KOs) to earn fourth title in his third weight class on June 5 at the new Yankee Stadium in The Bronx.
"I think that this opens up a possiblity of Cotto against Antonio Margarito, or -- depending on how he looks on June 26 against John Duddy -- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.," said Arum during the press conference following Cotto-Foreman. "[Trainer] Freddie Roach says that he's [Chavez Jr.] coming along like a house on fire. But let's see how he does with John Duddy."
On the same night that Chavez fought Rowlands at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Roach, a three-time Trainer Of The Year, guided Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) to a 12th-round knockout that dethroned WBO welterweight (147 pounds) champion Cotto and earned Pacquiao a seventh crown in as many weight classes.
On March 13, Pacquiao defended his crown at Dallas Cowboys' Stadium with a 12-round, unanimous decision over Joshua Clottey for his 12th straight win during a run that has included eight knockouts.
On the Paquiao-Clottey undercard, the 30-year-old Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs) ground out a split-decision win over 23-year-old Michael Medina (28-2-2, 18 KOs), of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mex.
"A trainer like Freddie Roach can take me to the next level. I know how tough he is, but I will do what he says," said Chavez. "With a great training camp, I will be able to take on Duddy, who I think is a very good fighter, and I will win."