Chavez Is Heavy Favorite to Retain WBC Title Tonight

Julio Cesar Chavez will defend his World Boxing Council super-lightweight title against lightly regarded Lonnie Smith tonight at the Mirage.

Also on the card, Julian Jackson, will defend his WBC middleweight title against No. 1 contender Dennis Milton.

Chavez, a heavy favorite, hopes to move on to a rich bout with Hector Camacho or lightweight champion Pernell Whitaker.

Chavez, from Culiacan, Mexico, is 75-0 or 74-1, the outcome of one of his fights being in dispute. Smith, from Las Vegas, is 29-2-1.

Chavez will earn $750,000 tonight, Smith $100,000. At least, that is what the challenger signed for. Once, Smith signed to fight Billy Costello in New York for $360,000. He beat Costello--and got nothing.

"Lonnie not only never got a dime from that fight, but he ran up $67,000 in legal bills trying to collect on a $2.9-million judgment, and didn't get a dime of that, either," said Smith's manager, Sterling McPherson.

This also is a matchup of fighters who will sign anything put in front of them. Chavez has said he was leaving promoter Don King half a dozen times in the last several years. He signed with King rival Bob Arum, then walked out on that contract.

Yet tonight, he is fighting for King once again.

Smith, at one point in 1984, had contracts with three managers.

Jackson has 39 knockouts in his 41-1 record but is only a 2-1 choice over Milton (16-2-1) tonight.

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