May 7, 2004

Jesus Chavez To Wed Soldier On Eve Of Iraqi Deployment

By Fiona Manning

Former world 130 pound boxing champion Jesus ‘El Matador’ Chavez will marry his long-time sweetheart, US National Guard Intelligence Office Anuisa Stroklund today on the eve of her deployment to Iraq.

The pair are scheduled to wed at 1:00 p.m. at the ‘Forever Grand’ wedding chapel inside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, one day before the highly- anticipated before world featherweight championship fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.

Chavez and his bride, who broke the news Wednesday, will stay in a super suite at the MGM Grand and have their honeymoon at the MGM Grand Garden Arena tomorrow night, sitting ringside for the fight.

The couple returns to their home in Austin, Texas on Sunday.

On Monday, Aunisa heads for Fort Hood, Texas.

Her Texas National Guard unit has been activated and is going to Iraq.

“Time together now will be precious,” said Chavez, who battled Erik Morales at the MGM Grand two months ago and lost his WBC crown in his first title defense.

Chavez won many fans for his gutsy performance in which he tore his right rotator cuff at the end of the second round but remained competitive until the 12th and final round, losing a close decision to “El Terrible.”

“Anuia is an officer, a Lieutenant and works in intelligence. She’s not allowed to say where her unit is going but I guess we all know exactly where she’s headed.”

“She’s a wonderful, lovely person,” Chavez said. “We met two years ago in Austin. I was at a book signing at a Barnes and Noble where we met for the very first time. It was unforgettable, actually.”

Does he worry about what lies ahead for his bride?

“No more than she will worry about me the next time I step into the ring. We’re both fighters,” he said. “I am very, very proud of her.”

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum who looks upon Chavez as a son will attend the couple’s wedding.

It was Arum who supported Chavez when he was deported to Mexico after serving four years in prison in Chicago, Illinois on robbery charges.

Arum petitioned then-Texas Governor George Bush who gave Chavez clemency, paving the way for Chavez to return to the US legally to pursue his boxing career.

Many other Top Rank and MGM employees, plus many top boxing writers are expected to attend the nuptials.

Video of the ceremony will be shown on the Telefutura boxing telecast which originates from Chavez’ hometown of Austin, Texas tonight.

Once Anuisa heads out to Iraq, her husband intends to refocus himself on his career.

“My shoulder is so much better,” said Chavez, who required surgery after the Morales fight. “I’m looking forward to avenging my loss and retrieving my championship.”

He may have to wait a while.

Pending the outcome of two big fights tomorrow night, he is currently an outside prospect until the verdicts of Pacquaio vs Marquez and Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez’s second defense of his IBF title in San Salvador, El Salvador.

If Pacquaio is victorious tomorrow night, he intends to move up four pounds from the 126 featherweight division to the 130 pound super featherweight (or junior lightweight) and fight WBC champion Erik Morales at the end of July at the Home Depot outdoor arena in Los Angeles.

If Pacquiao loses, promoter Bob Arum intends to put Morales in the ring with Hernandez for a unification of the IBF and WBC titles.

“I will be victorious,” said Hernandez by phone from El Salvador. “And I beliee Marquez will be too. I have waited a long time for this unification.”

He next intends to face his IBF mandatory challenger Robbie Peden and then, he said Chavez will have his chance to fight him.

Chavez is hoping for a less circuitous route to a world title challenge but will have to patient.

“I’m nothing if not patient,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll be ready.”

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