Chavez Ripens for Martinez
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (July 11, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
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Bob Arum
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
It was over a year ago when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. captured the WBC middleweight title by outpointing Sebastian Zbik at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was a belt vacated by Sergio Martinez (who has rightfully held the title of the recognized champion at 160 pounds) after HBO refused to purchase a fight between he and Zbik. It was widely assumed that Top Rank wouldn't let Chavez Jr. anywhere near “Maravilla” till they felt he was ready- if ever.
 
Well, that time has come, as they are scheduled to meet at the Thomas and Mack Center on September 15th in Las Vegas.
 
At a press conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the official announcement was made for this fight. And both fighters had a bit of an edge to them.
 
“I want to thank Julio for accepting this difficult, very difficult fight- difficult for him,” cracked Martinez, through his adviser, Sampson Lewkowicz. He added later, “Take a picture of [Chavez] now because after the fight, you will not recognize him. I will really beat him up.”
 
Martinez firmly believes he will be taking back something that was ripped away from him. “Not only will I recoup my championship as a middleweight, I will continue to demonstrate I am one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.” And he added this final salvo toward Chavez, “On September 15th, it will be time to take all the feathers off the skin of Chavez Jr.”
 
Chavez Jr. sounded determined.

“He's one of the best fighters in the middleweight division; he's a very good fighter,” he said of Martinez, through his co-promoter, Fernando Beltran. “I think it's going to be a sensational fight but on September the 15th, you'll see what type of fighter I am. You will know what type of fighter I am; you will know who Julio Cesar Chavez Carrasco is.”
 
He added later, “I have no doubt I am going to be the winner. Don't have any doubts.”
 
Many pundits are now tabbing Chavez Jr., who will come into the ring with a considerable size advantage, to defeat Martinez. Just 12 months ago, this fight was considered a mismatch, a pampered trust fund baby versus a seasoned master of the sport. It speaks to the great strides Chavez Jr. has made in that stretch, defeating the likes of Peter Manfredo Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio and most recently, Andy Lee. The same applies to Top Rank's foresight and patience in allowing him to grow as a fighter.

“I certainly had an obligation to the young man and I had an obligation to his father,” said Bob Arum, of the legendary “J.C. Superstar,” “and I wasn't going to let this fight happen unless I believed Chavez was competitive. I don't necessarily look for a certainty that he's going to win- but that he was competitive and had a good chance to win.” And the veteran promoter claims it had nothing to do with marinating the pay-per-view sales of this event. “It's not only about when it's ripe because there you can sometimes be too cautious, like what happened with [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and [Juan Manuel] Lopez and you blow it. But this was different; I didn't make this fight because I didn't believe that Chavez was ready, not to contrast how much better it would be to do now than it did then. That wasn't a factor in my thinking. I just didn't believe and [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce Trampler didn't believe that [Chavez] was ready to fight Martinez.”
 
Lou DiBella, Arum's counterpart in this promotion, admits he felt this fight would never come to fruition. “I didn't for a long time but I thought Chavez looked terrific his last few fights. I also think his team believes the size difference is huge- and I think it is huge- and I think the night of the fight, he's going to be very big in the ring. I think they believe they have the stronger, younger, bigger guy and that Sergio's going to get old in the ring and this is Chavez's moment. I think what they don't understand is they have the more skilled, much better fighter in Martinez, who's the hungrier fighter. He's got hunger on his side as well as athletic ability, speed, elusiveness and I think it's going to be a great fight, a very difficult fight. But I expect Martinez to win that fight.”
 
The young man says he is reenergized about the sport he was seemingly destined for.

“I'm excited about boxing right now. I'm excited about fighting the best fights. When they tell me about fights like this, I get motivated. I think I'm ready for all this, so I get emotional; I get passionate about it. I just want to fight to prove I am one of the best,” he said.
 
The days of Chavez having to struggle to find motivation to face the Matt Vandas of the world are long gone.

“Without a doubt, everyone’s saying I'm going to win every fight; everyone expects me to win. Nobody expects me to lose, even when I'm fighting good fighters on top of the rankings,” said Chavez, whose record stands at 46-0-1 with 32 knockouts. “But this guy [Martinez], everyone knows he's supposed to beat me. Everyone talks about how he's going to beat me and it gets me started, motivated, working hard. I just want to beat this guy, so everyone knows how good I am.”
 
THE BATTLE
 
Of course, Martinez-Chavez is just one of two high-profile shows taking place in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day weekend, as Golden Boy Promotions will have a card staged at the MGM Grand featuring Saul “Canelo” Alvarez- who still has to find an opponent.
 
“There's no other fight in the interest of the Mexican public for the day,” said Beltran, who obviously has a biased opinion of things. “We're not announcing a fight with Chavez against a ‘TBA.’ We have the two best middleweights in the world fighting against each other.”
 
Regardless, when asked about what effect the Golden Boy event will have on Top Rank’s, Arum stated, “I don't think it'll have any and I just really wonder why there isn't adult supervision at Showtime. I mean, how can they blow money on this kind of drivel? That's the problem. I mean, it's wonderful to be an adjunct of a promoter- which they're doing- but how do you blow corporate money putting on unappealing product? That's what they're doing.”
 
The latest rumor floating around was that not only was Alvarez going to face Josesito Lopez (a career junior welterweight) but the fight would possibly air on CBS, to which Arum responded, “The one thing I'm sure of is that it won’t end up on CBS because [President and CEO of CBS] Les Moonves won’t let this garbage on CBS. If they go through with this, Alvarez against Lopez, it's garbage. It is garbage; it is something that even if none of this happened, that you wouldn't want to buy.”
 
TIX
 
When asked what he projected in terms of attendance, Arum seemed optimistic- especially given that Steve Wynn and his properties have thrown their full support behind the fight.
 
“I think we have 17,000 seats there [at the Thomas and Mack] and you gotta understand there's the lower bowl which has over 9,000 seats. So that will be sold out and then the balcony has 75, 50 and 25-dollar seats and I think most of those will be sold. And if they're not, that's not where the real money is,” he explained.
 
Here's the ticket infowhich go on sale on July 12 at 3:00 p.m., ET/noon, PT: 
 
Priced at $600, $400, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, they can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center box office and Town Square Las Vegas Concierge. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.unlvtickets.com.  To charge by telephone call (702) 739-FANS.
 
MIDDLEWEIGHT FLURRIES
 
Arum believes this event can do 400,000 pay-per-view purchases...HBO, which will be distributing Martinez-Chavez, will be doing a “24/7” series, a “Face-Off with Max Kellerman” and a “2 Days with Chavez” in the lead-up to this fight...Speaking of which, HBO is doing a “24/7” for and “Face-Off” between Chad Dawson and Andre Ward the week before their fight. Yeah, that should be some riveting TV...The Staples Center seems to be the preferred destination of Top Rank for a Nonito Donaire-Jorge Arce/Orlando Salido-Mikey Garcia doubleheader in October. And although Staples might be booked up, Top Rank isn't going away without a fight. According to Arum, the doubleheader will be at the Alamodome in San Antonio, if not the new home of Steve Nash...Will they trade Dwight Howard already? This is getting old...Robinson Cano might be the most despised Yankee since Chris Chambliss...Yeah, it might be a tad overwritten but “The Newsroom” on HBO is a keeper...



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