After several years of back
and forth bickering and hollering, the stage is finally set. On September 15,
2012, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, the world will find
out who the best middleweight in the world is. WBC middleweight champion Julio
Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez will lock horns in the main
event on Mexican Independence Day. Not only are boxing fans in for a barnburner
but there is the possibility that this could be 2012’s “Fight of the Year.” But
let's not get ahead of ourselves; instead let's focus on what transpired in
order to understand how we got to this point and time.
“Making deals in boxing
isn't nor should be rocket science,” said Lou DiBella, president of DiBella
Entertainment and promoter of Martinez.
Martinez, of Quilmes,
Argentina, now 49-2-2, (28) captured the linear championship on April 17, 2010
in Atlantic City, NJ. after decisively outpointing middleweight king Kelly
Pavlik. Martinez went on to defend the WBC title once against Paul Willams,
only to be stripped of the title four months later. Martinez was forced to
relinquish the green strap due to failing to make his mandatory defense against
Sebastian Zbik. HBO passed on the opportunity to televise the fight so in an
attempt to stay busy, Martinez fought Serhiy Dzinziruk months later on the same
network. With Zbik having a date to fight without an opponent, in came in
Chavez and the two duked it out for the vacant WBC title in June of last year.
So as we press the fast forward button, hopefully you are all caught up on the
facts surrounding this terrific match-up, which prompted Martinez's trainer, Pablo
Sarmiento to utter, “Junior’s big mouth has gotten him into trouble and he will
be forced to give Martinez back his title.”
Yesterday afternoon, Chavez
and Martinez reached the third and final leg of their press conference tour.
The Edison Hotel in “Gotham City” played host as the two pugilists traded
verbal jabs at each other. It was evident that the two fighters simply had enough
of each other.
“You are going to need a new
I.D. after I get done with you,” said Martinez, now 37 years of age. “I am going
to give you such a whupping that no one will be able to recognize you.”
Chavez, looking a little
soft around the midsection, had no other choice but to smile. What else could
he do? He was on the opposite side of dais from where Martinez was posted but
it was obvious he was bothered by the comments. Chavez’s body language
“Intriguing” would be an appropriate
adjective accurately describing this fight, considering that just a couple of
years ago, most of the pundits would have described it as a one-sided mismatch
in favor of Martinez. However, as time went on, Chavez, a fighter with zero
amateur background, has come into his own. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame
trainer Freddie Roach, Chavez has proven the critics wrong, evolving into more
than just a name. Speaking of names, Chavez Sr. was in attendance celebrating
his 50th birthday. But besides blowing out candles and eating cake,
Chavez Sr. came to the aid of his son. Besides yelling, “Bullsh*t!” at
Martinez's disses, Senior assessed Junior's progress.
“Junior has been growing
real fast,” the elder Chavez told Maxboxing. “At first, Junior was getting a
lot of negative press but with time, he got the seasoning he needed and has
grown professionally. Junior is where he needs to be and where he is supposed
to be at this stage in his career. Thanks to his discipline and talent, Junior
is focused on his craft.”
As fight night slowly but
surely approaches, we would be remiss to not play fight analyst and break down
this fight. There are a couple of interesting components surrounding this great
match-up. First and foremost, Chavez's size. Physically, Chavez is the bigger
man. Therefore, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that on fight night,
he could weigh anywhere near 180 pounds if not more. The second factor is
Martinez's age. At 37, Martinez is 11 years older than Chavez. Sure, we have
seen much older fighters accomplish more but here’s the kicker: guys like
Bernard Hopkins, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver do not rely on their “second
wind” the way Martinez does. You have to figure that “Father Time” is always lurking.
Fighters getting old overnight isn't a new phenomenon.
You should expect the native
of Culiacan, Mexico to cut off the ring and impose his size against the older
and smaller Martinez (Martinez will probably weigh 165 pounds on fight night).
Chavez's game plan will probably involve forcing Martinez to expend a lot more energy
than he is accustomed to in hopes that Martinez will be flat in the later
When questioned about the
possibilities due to the cards that are dealt, Martinez vehemently disagreed.
“It's obvious that I am at a
disadvantage when it comes to size,” said the southpaw Martinez, who opened up
as an 8-5 favorite, continuing, “Just because that's the case, it doesn't
necessarily mean that I will use up more energy. What it’s going to come down
to is creating a better game plan than him, coming up with a better strategy
than normal. I will attack the body but at the end of the day, my speed,
toughness and hunger is what's going to be the difference in which my hand will
be raised in victory.”
There may have been a lot of
trash talking between the two, as well as their camps, but when sitting with
Chavez, it was plain to see that he has a lot of respect for his counterpart's
fight game. Of course, this was regardless of the fact he may have publicly referred
to his opponent as a “ballerina,” when asked about Martinez.
“He isn't your typical
37-year-old fighter,” replied Chavez, now 46-0-1, (32). “He is far from being
an old. I am aware of the difficult task that lies ahead of me but I will be
prepared physically and mentally. I am at a great place in my career. I have
grown professionally. I can box and change it up if I have to. Plus, this is
the first time in my career that I am an underdog. It's a great feeling; it’s
really serving as a huge motivator for me.”
When the smoke clears and
the dust settles, this contest will be won by the fighter who can make the
proper technical adjustments necessary. If you're the type of fan who bases an
opinion on past history, then this intangible clearly favors Martinez.
“Martinez stinks!” shouted
Chavez Sr. “Martinez runs and drops his hands. Martinez also talks a lot of
sh*t. He will eat it on September 15.”
The party has started. Let
the fun begin.
Press Conference Tidbits…
- There will be a “24/7” series courtesy of HBO
following both fighters leading up to the actual fight.
- A new episode of “Face Off with Max Kellerman”
featuring both fighters was filmed yesterday in New York City.
- Martinez's advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz,
announced he is expecting his first grandchild.
- Martinez is speaking English now and has grasped
the language quickly.
- Martinez is doing a lot of philanthropic and
charity work for organizations denouncing bullying and domestic violence. Monique
McClain, once a victim of bullying, attended the press conference and has
forged a friendship with Martinez like no other, becoming an amateur boxer
- Chavez's manager, Fernando Beltran, called
Martinez a “f**king clown.” This prompted Lewkowicz to get up out of his seat,
resulting in a mini confrontation.
- Cerveza Tecate is offering a $25 rebate for
the pay-per-view if you purchase a 10-pack of beer.
- Last but not least, author and writer Thomas
Hauser was in attendance. Maxboxing caught up with him to get his take on the Tim
Bradley-Manny Pacquiao debacle (in which he was present) as well as his
thoughts on upcoming fights.
“The night of the fight, I
scored the fight 6-5-1 in favor of Bradley. Now after reviewing the tape twice,
I scored the fight 7-5 Pacquiao. Unlike many people in boxing, I admit when I
am wrong. The reaction of the boxing community has been unfair to Tim. What's
ironic of it all is that it’s one of those rare instances where the decision
went against the house fighter.”
As for Andre Ward vs. Chad
“I am not going to attend
the fight. However, it is a very intriguing fight. I think the deck has been
stacked in Ward's favor considering that he is fighting in Oakland and that
Chad is being forced to go down to 168.”