The man considered to be the best middleweight fighter at the moment, Sergio Martinez, doesn’t have an alphabet title belt. His opponent, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., holds the WBC belt in the division, a belt that Martinez held but never actually lost. Boxing politics make this one more than just a title fight.
Sergio Martinez, the 37 year old boxing wonder has been aching for a big fight, in terms of money and publicity. Now, after campaigning to get a shot at the overrated Chavez, the son of the greatest Mexican fighter in history, for about two years, he finally gets his shot against a rival that’s probably his inferior, by not as much as some people think, or used to think.
What haven’t they said about Julo Cesar Chavez Junior? That his undefeated (46-0-1-1) is just because of his cupcake record early on in his career; lazy, arrogant; nepotism, nepotism, nepotism. But Chavez has been making improvements under Freddie Roach, although Roach’s recent record with Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao might suggest he isn’t all that anymore. Still, Chavez, as straightforward as a boxer can get, looked more impressive than ever in two of his latest three fights, knocking out Peter Manfredo and Andy Lee.
He has a great chin, and his size advantage, probably heading in to the fight against Martinez weighing at 180 pounds with substantial height and reach advantages should make it a problem for Martinez, at least initially. The number 3 pound for pound boxer in the world, most of the time (49-2-2) is a slow starter, has won his last four fights by knockout, but struggled early against both Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. He needs to avoid Chavez’ big body bearing down on him early, but needs to pick his shots, because Chavez doesn’t mind getting hit.
Martinez has the advantage in pretty much every department that has to do with speed and technicality, and is probably the bigger puncher. The question is just how much has he declined, because he seems to be slowly slipping, according to the problems he’s had in his recent fights. Always exciting to watch, but a bit more vulnerable, a bit slower and a bit less accurate in the fast exchanges as time goes by.
There’s also plenty of personal baggage, with Martinez claiming ‘… he won’t be eating solid food with the few teeth remaining after I get through with him.’ Chavez hold a title belt Martinez gave up on because the WBC didn’t give him the fight he wanted against Julio Cesar Chavez. But whoever it is running the Mexican’s career knew what he was doing. Chavez is as ready as he’s ever going to be for this challenge, the biggest of his career, which he wasn’t ready for 18 months ago.
This is Sergio Martinez’ fight to lose, especially if he avoids getting hit early & often, leaving enough time and rounds for his late fight spectacularity. Still, there’s a feeling that maybe Chavez does have a bit of his father in him, the making of great champion. It’s unlikely, but this is his great chance to prove it – to show he’s more than just a brawler who gets by on easy opponents.