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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Chavez Appears Ready to Rumble Right Now

May 22, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

The only complaint Julio Cesar Chavez has is that his fight with Oscar De La Hoya isn't tonight. . . .

On Tuesday at his training camp at Lake Tahoe, Chavez weighed 143, only a three-pound drying-out process from the limit for his defense of the World Boxing Council super-lightweight title on June 7 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. . . .

His body is hard and well-defined, something that hasn't always been the case with the free spirit from Culiacan, Mexico, who doesn't require an invitation to party all night and most of the morning. . . .

"I know that recently I haven't been the fighter that I used to be," Chavez said through an interpreter. "I needed Oscar De La Hoya to get motivated. I've never trained harder for a fight. I haven't been in this kind of shape since I beat Edwin Rosario in 1987. You will see the real Julio Cesar Chavez on June 7." . . .

The real and not-so-real Chavez has won 97, lost one, drawn one and reigned as a world champion for nearly the last 12 years except for a 14-week period. . . .

He knocked out Mario "Azabache" Martinez in the eighth round at the Olympic Auditorium in 1984 for the WBC super-featherweight title. . . .

Frankie Randall removed the super-lightweight crown from Chavez on a 12-round decision Jan. 29, 1994, but Chavez won the rematch on May 7, 1994, in the eighth when, ahead on points, he was unable to continue because of a head butt. . . .

Most older fighters, such as George Foreman, prefer easy sparring partners in order to conserve energy. . . .

But Chavez, who will turn 34 on July 12, has chosen to practice with two outstanding young prospects who are built and move like De La Hoya. Aaron Zarate is 5-11 1/2, an inch taller than De La Hoya, and Jose Escriche is 5-10. . . .

Chavez will break camp at 7,000 feet altitude Friday and conduct a sparring session Saturday at Hollywood Park before the thoroughbred racing card. . . .

The last time Chavez trained at the track, three years ago, 33,000 turned out.

*

Danny Cey, son of Ron, is expected to be selected in the first three rounds of the major league draft next month. . . .

A junior shortstop for California, Cey batted .377 this season. . . .

"We've heard from several teams, including the Dodgers and Angels," said his father, the Penguin, who was a fixture at third base in L.A. from 1971 to '84. "The Angels, in particular, have shown a lot of interest." . . .

The Dodgers miss Brett Butler more in center field, where young Roger Cedeno has been shaky, than at the plate. . . .

Five of the the top nine hitters in the National League on Tuesday were first basemen--Mark Grace, Fred McGriff, Jeff Bagwell, Wally Joyner and David Segui. . . .

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the Class-A California League have the fourth-highest home attendance in the minor leagues. . . .

A pet peeve is umpires, such as Greg Bonin during the Dodger-New York Met game on Monday night, who call strikes as though they were afterthoughts. . . .

This will be USC's eighth trip to the NCAA baseball regionals in the 10 years Mike Gillespie has been coach. In the previous eight years, the Trojans had gone only once. . . .

When Cigar tries to extend his win streak to 15 in the Massachusetts Handicap on June 1, he might be tested by Key Of Luck. Early on the night that Cigar won the Dubai World Cup, Key Of Luck won a race at the same distance in a faster time. . . .

Josh Johnson, whose second-place finish in the javelin helped UCLA win the Pacific 10 Conference track and field championship, is the son of Rafer Johnson. . . .

The Clippers need a point guard, but the two undergraduate stars, Allen Iverson from Georgetown and Stephon Marbury from Georgia Tech, undoubtedly will be gone by the time they pick at No. 7. . . .

Among the Clipper possibilities are forwards John Wallace from Syracuse and Antoine Walker from Kentucky and center Erick Dampier from Mississippi State, especially if they don't re-sign Brian Williams. . . .

The Chicago Bulls would be getting away cheaply by signing Michael Jordan to the $36-million, two-year contract he is talking about. I mean, Patrick Ewing got $18 million from the New York Knicks last season and Alonzo Mourning is demanding something in that neighborhood from the Miami Heat. . . .

Imagine how inexperienced and unimposing the U.S. Olympic basketball team would be in Atlanta if professionals weren't allowed to participate.

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