By James Slater: A year or so ago, fans either labelled the fight a mismatch or a joke, while others still said it would never actually happen anyway. I’m talking about the fast-approaching genuine grudge-match that is September 15th’s Sergio Gabriel Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Junior middleweight title fight showdown.
Martinez, the fans and experts said, is way too strong, way too powerful, way too technically superior and just too clever for the Mexican pretender (and to be fair, many people still say this). A beatdown was all that Chavez Jr. would get were he brave enough to actually step into the ring with the Argentine southpaw.
Well, unbeaten Chavez Jr. has heard all this, along with some nasty talk by Martinez himself (who said that Julio’s dad, the great and legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Senior, the one and only “ El Gran Campeon,” had better take a photo of his son now, as he will be unable to recognise him after the fight) and he has bitten. A proud man, 26-year-old Chavez proved he is not only brave enough to get in there with Martinez, he is also predicting a win – a KO win.
And some good judges are giving Chavez, 46-0-1(32) a legit shot at pulling it off. Massive for the weight, entering the ring at around 180-pounds, and so much the younger man and approaching his physical peak, Chavez Jr. is certainly a live underdog at the very least. Yet the Mexican’s long-time matchmaker, Sean Gibbons, doesn’t feel his fighter is an underdog at all. In fact, Gibbons also believes 37-year-old Martinez, 49-2-2(28) and a pound-for-pound entrant, will be knocked out on Sept. 15th.
“He’s knocking Sergio Martinez out,” Gibbons told Ringtv.com after a Chavez Jr. workout that so impressed him. “That’s how focused Julio looks and that’s how strong he looks, so I’m looking to see him get Martinez out of there in round ten or 11.”
Gibbons went on to say that Martinez doesn’t punch often enough per round to beat Chavez Jr. (Gibbons went as far as to say Maravilla “runs around the ring like a ballerina,” and “has four punches.”). But as great as Chavez may have been looking in the gym, who else really expects him to do the unthinkable and KO Martinez, a man who has not lost since his controversial points defeat at the hands of Paul Williams, before that to Antonio Margarito, way back in 2000?
Martinez is the only man to have stopped the Argentinean, but back then, Martinez was a mere novice pro, having just his 9th pro outing. No doubt, the way he’s been looking in dominating world class fighters like the aforementioned Williams (in a scary, revenge KO), Serhiy Dzinziruk, Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin (both young, strong middleweights), it will be one huge shock if Martinez is stopped in Las Vegas next month.
Martinez is predicting his own KO, however. Interestingly, Martinez also predicts a KO in the last two rounds, but this is largely due to his plan to punish Chavez and make him pay for making him wait for the fight.
Both warriors sound ultra-confident. I have to go with Martinez, but he’d better be ready for a very hard night’s work. Could we be about to be treated to a FOTY candidate?