Bringing The Fire Back – Martinez vs. Chavez, Jr.
By Jason Petock, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 4, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. -  Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez
The venerable eternal flame of boxing has been all but extinguished over the past few years by various culprits. Dejected fans, a biased and unforgiving media, and the promise of unexciting and potentially set-up fights and mismatches have left the sport and its followers at an inevitable crossroads. Compound that with the pipe dream of a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao meeting that has become the hypothesis to end all others before it, boxing optimists aren’t left with much in their bag to be too hopeful about. With the future of the sport always hanging in the balance by clichés and adamant dejectors, it has been a definitive ray of light on the horizon when considering the explosive showdown that is scheduled for September 15th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada between Argentinian Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez 49-2-2 (28) and Mexican son and namesake Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. 46-0-1 (32). Pegged for a day alongside the highly anticipated match-up between Josesito Lopez 30-4-0 (18) and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 40-0-1 (29) at the MGM Grand, also in Las Vegas, Nevada, fans will have their dance cards full. This should prove to be a great night of boxing.

Leading up to their bout both men haven’t pulled any punches with their verbal parrying, making it more than clear what they think about one another and how they see the fight playing out. During HBO’s Face Off with Max Kellerman (video embedded on this page), the two let the words fly which will hopefully be a precursor to the leather that they will be throwing in Las Vegas against one another. When asked about his size advantage by Kellerman, Chavez, Jr. agreed of its significance with, “My size will be important to win this fight, but I’m not relying on weight to win. It will be my boxing and my intelligence.” To which Martinez disagreed, answering with, “You are lost then.” An overblown Chavez, Jr. has been successful in past campaigns against smaller fighters, most recently against a beaten but simply overmatched and less experienced Irishman Andy Lee 28-2 (20), who didn’t move during their fight and stayed in the pocket, although Lee did land his straight left against Chavez, Jr. in a virtual “hype” fight of sorts. Yet Martinez is not Lee, and will bring technical boxing ability, strength and experience into the ring against the Culiacan fighter.

Martinez possesses great speed, ring agility, deft mobility, and is exceedingly underrated as a puncher. His fluidity and natural comfort zone in the ring is going to be a true test for Chavez, Jr., who looks to escape his legendary father’s massive shadow with a win over “Maravilla”. With a solid chin that hasn’t been truly tested against high level punchers, Chavez will more than likely resort to his standard bull rushing tactics and body shots in his run for a victory over Sergio. His plodding style leaves much to be desired, and with Martinez not willing to be a stationary target Julio is going to have to do far more than just pin his opponent and hope to merely outweigh and overpower him. Jr. hasn’t faced an opponent like Martinez yet during his career, and while his camp may feel like this is the opportune time for the younger Chavez to take on Martinez this will undeniably be the biggest test of the young fighters burgeoning but questionable career to date. This bout has all of the makings of a ring classic, a contest where either Chavez, Jr.’s over touted “granite” chin will get tested or where Martinez will age overnight and concede to youth and hype.

Needless to say it is bouts like the upcoming one with Martinez and Chavez, Jr. that match young against old, and Argentina vs. Mexico, in a contest that has already garnered public favor and interest. There is nothing more compelling or awe-inspiring than watching two boxers representing their respective countries in the squared circle with legions of fans behind them. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. has the weight of the nation of Mexico and his father’s illustrious and famed career on his shoulders. With Sergio Martinez there is a revalidation of his position in the boxing landscape and the Middleweight division. To be the best you must fight the best. And if part of the public deems Chavez, Jr. as one of the “best”, then it is Martinez’s job to prove them wrong. Sergio has to prove to an ever judging boxing public that he still has what it takes at 37 years old, and that father time will continue to elude him. Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins has continued to defy the odds, so there’s no plausible reason that a game, determined, and greatly prepared Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez is any less capable of such a task. Maybe all it will take for boxing to catch a fire again with fans will be that first punch thrown on September 15th that will ignite the spark which will turn into the raging inferno that boxing once was. Burn baby, burn.

Jason can be reached with your questions, concerns, gripes, moans, complaints, insults or kudos at BoxingWarrior@hotmail.com. Your feedback is appreciated as always. Stay honest and keep punching.

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