Chaves says ‘dirty fighter’ reputation unwarranted

If enough people say something and their stories match up, one might tend to believe they’re telling the truth.

Bring up Diego Chaves’ name to boxers who have fought him and the response is the same — he’s a dirty fighter.

Brandon Rios is convinced after he almost had his eye gouged out and his windpipe bruised from a Chaves elbow when they fought Aug. 2 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which resulted in Chaves being disqualified.

Keith Thurman told a similar story of how Chaves used his glove to try to gouge Thurman’s eye while also trying to rearrange his nose after getting him in a headlock when they fought in July 2013 in San Antonio. Thurman ended up winning the bout by 10th-round knockout.

And while his 12-round welterweight nontitle bout with Chaves at The Cosmopolitan is still 24 hours away, Timothy Bradley has said that his Argentine opponent breaks the rules in the ring.

“He’s a dirty fighter,” said Bradley, who is coming off the first loss of his career, to Manny Pacquiao on April 12. “In the beginning, I didn’t think he was. Then I went back and watched some film on him, and he really is a dirty fighter. He’s throwing elbows and trying to scrape the eyes, rake the eyes with his gloves, pushing down on the head. He has a lot of dirty tactics.”

Whether it’s gamesmanship on Bradley’s part to get inside Chaves’ head or an attempt to make sure referee Tony Weeks pays extra attention to Chaves, the die has been cast for the HBO-televised fight. And it will be up to Chaves to prove he’s not the dirty fighter opponents say he is.

“Let the people talk,” Chaves said through an interpreter Thursday. “I’m not a dirty fighter. I didn’t try to intentionally hurt Thurman. And with Rios, he was holding me and hitting me in the back of the head and the referee lost control.”

Chaves (23-2, 19 knockouts) said his plan is to fight intelligently.

“I need to box him smart,” Chaves said. “I can’t allow him to grow (confident) during the fight.”

Chaves, 28, said he’s in a much better state of mind for his return to Las Vegas. He had visa issues before the Rios fight, and it took the assistance of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to get Chaves from Argentina to Las Vegas.

He arrived two days before the fight and said he was mentally and physically fatigued when he entered the ring.

“It’s completely different this time,” he said. “Everything went fine. There were no issues, and there will be no excuses. I’m ready to fight.”

And if he tries to break the rules, Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) will be ready, said his trainer, Joel Diaz.

“Tim’s a gentleman in the ring, but he’s ready to turn this into a street brawl if he has to,” Diaz said. “We’re prepared for Chaves’ best. But we’re also prepared for his worst.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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