LOS ANGELES - Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defeated Sebastian Zbik by majority decision on Saturday night to win the middleweight title, taking a major step toward establishing his own legacy while his famous father looked on.
Two judges scored the fight for Chavez, 115-113 and 116-112, while the third called it a draw.
"My father came to the Wild Card and told me, 'This is where you win the fight, not down the street at Staples Center,"' Chavez said of the gym of his trainer, Freddie Roach, who also works with Manny Pacquiao. "Work hard, listen to Freddie Roach. This is how you win titles."
Chavez's father won his first title in the same town in 1984, when he stopped Mario Martinez to win the WBC junior lightweight title at the Olympic Auditorium.
His 25-year-old son was behind early against Zbik (30-1), who was the quicker fighter and landed more punches early. But Chavez kept coming forward, countering with hard body shots that seemed to slow his German opponent down.
The fighters, apparently believing the fight could go either way, came out firing in the final round. Chavez seemed to outwork his foe to punctuate a solid performance.
"Zbik had a lot of heart," Roach said. "He came to win, he fought hard. But Junior was in the best condition ever. He simply outlasted Zbik."
Zbik believed he was ahead on the cards going into the final round.
"I won the first five or six rounds," he said. "I thought I was far ahead. But I got hit with those body shots and began to get tired. ... My corner told me I had to win the final round and I thought I did. I think the judges gave Chavez all the close rounds."