CHICAGO — At 5’ 9” and 135 lbs., lanky lightweight boxer Jaime “Superfly” Sandoval physically towers over his older brother, Jesus “El Matador” Chavez, a former two division world champion who casts a pretty long shadow, himself.
Chavez held the World Boxing Council Super Featherweight and the International Boxing Federation Lightweight titles. He faced such legends as Erik Morales and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. –- not to mention the likes of such ex-champs as Tom Johnson, Troy Dorsey, Julio Diaz and Levander Johnson –- in compiling a record of 44 wins with five losses and 33 knockouts. Short with a rugged, brawling style, his bruising game of attrition does not translate well to Jaime’s frame and stature, which does better at longer range.
By comparison, at 15-3-1 and 12 knockouts against mostly unknown competition, Jaime’s got some summit to climb if he’s to reach the heights of his older sibling. Yet, in talking to him, one doesn’t get the sense of urgency that one might expect of someone with a champion’s drive. He’s laidback, easy going, says he loves boxing and simply expects to win.
Fair enough. Don’t’ say much, just let your fists do the talking. That seems to be the family way as exemplified by older brother Jesus. And just in case that strikes you as too mellow, don’t be fooled: Chavez fought the better part of his bout against hall of famer Erik Morales one-handed ( he’d hurt the other early on) in losing a 12 round decision and, two fights later, savagely battered defending IBF Lightweight champ Levander Johnson en route to an 11th round stoppage win, one that ended up taking Johnson’s life when he failed to come out of a coma several weeks later. When pressed, Jaime also unloads with malevolent intent, as reflected in his 60 percent knockout ratio.
Still, he’s got a one round knockout loss to one Martin Bermudez in May 2005, a majority draw against Johnny Edwards (who was 11-1 at the time and is slated to challenge International Boxing Federation Featherweight title holder Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero on June 12th), and a unanimous decision loss against Juan Martinez in October 2007, a bout he aims to get revenge for this Friday night.
But just as soon as some were writing him off, Sandoval turned a few heads upsetting then 12-0 (8 KO’s) Argenis Mendez at the National Western Complex Arena, Denver, Colorado in October 2008 and getting a draw against then 9-0 Rashad Ganaway (7 KO’s) at Harlingen Field, Harlingen, Texas in March. Maybe this kid had a future in the game after all.
The youngest of three children—with older brother Jesus and a sister before him, Sandoval participated in high school wrestling, ultimately graduating from Calvin Park High School in 2000. Through it all, he was never far removed from boxing.
“I’ve always been on the boxing scene, too, because of my brother,” said Sandoval. “So that kept me in training and staying in shape…I got older, I got into it a little more…[and] just got that little bug, all of a sudden, and stuck with it.”
Now with older brother Chavez managing him, renowned trainer Sam Colonna, and best friend and day-in and day-out trainer Rick Ramos in his corner, Sandoval looks to remove this burr from his shoe that goes by the name of Juan Martinez and move forward.
Sniffling while fighting a cold and watching the Cubs game, Jaime Sandoval talked about training, preparations and post-fight activities over the phone.
On training, sparring and his fight plan:
Everything is going pretty much according to plan except this cold. I’m trying to get rid of it. I’ve been sparring with a lot of shorter guys, like Eric Estrada, Sergio Montes. That’s pretty much it.
It’s no secret – I’m going to try and box him, move around, use my jab and try and make it an easy fight for myself.
On the rumor that his older brother, Jesus Chavez, is retiring from the ring:
I think so. He’s 36. Who knows, though!
On whether being the younger brother of a two-time world champion brings a lot of pressure on him:
No, not at all. I do it because I love the sport. He supports me no matter what I do, so there’s no pressure.
On his corner:
I have Sam Colonna and Rick in my corner, so I’ll be ready for whatever happens. That’s what having a good corner does for you!
A win (he laughs). That’s the only prediction I can make on Friday night.
On whether he’s going to cut loose with his brother, Jesus Chavez, at the combination after party and birthday celebration for best friend and trainer, Rick Ramos, at Bar 33 (2944 South Wentworth in Chicago) and on being a Chicago Cubs fan:
No, I’ll just hang out for a while; I have a Cubs game [to attend] on Saturday night. That’s what I’m looking forward to! I’m a Cubs fan. I’m watching the game right now!
I’m a North-sider – I was born and raised on the north side [of Chicago]. They have a good team this year, [but I’m not going to make a prediction because] every time they have a prediction, it always becomes next year. [However], I think they have a team to pull it off. They’re a young team. They just need to stay healthy.
On whether he has long-term plans in boxing:
No, not really. Long-term, I want to stay in school and get my credential in engineering with the operating stationary engineers. That involves whatever makes a building run – boiler, heating, A/C, and electrical.
Come out for the fight — It’s going to be a great fight! [The fans will] get their money’s worth!
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My thoughts? Try as he might to box Martinez from the outside, Sandoval will be drawn into a war with his swarming, shorter foe, and fireworks will result. It should be a crowd-pleaser.