Let’s get ready to ruuuuuummmmble! Today the boxing world will be entertained by two of the most intriguing Mexican boxers in the world and on the same night. One of them is Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46-0-1, 32 knockouts), the son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. The other is the star-child Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez (40-0,29KO), a young superstar on the rise and the most popular athlete in Mexico.
On September 15, 2012, on Mexican Independence Day, Chavez, Jr., under the shadow of his legendary father, will be taking on his most dangerous foe in his undefeated career. The fight will be held in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center, and he will be taking on Ring Magazines middleweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s).
After two years of being chased by Martinez for the super match, Chavez will be putting his undefeated record and the World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight championship belt on the line. Chavez recently stopped the Irishman Andy Lee (28-2,20KO’s) in the seventh round and took all the taller Lee could throw at him. He demonstrated his will and the same walk-down, body punching pressure on his opponent that his famous father used throughout his career. But this still does not prove that he is ready for the gigantic step he is taking against the Maravilla. In the past, Chavez has had problems with weight, claims that he was juicing, and fighting fighters who were several weights below him. He is also accused of taking the soft road behind the coattails of his legendary Father. Whether that is true or not, the answer will definitely be answered on Mexican Independence Day this Saturday.
As for Maravilla, the Argentinean, his climb to the top is completely opposite. He was raised from the slums of Argentina, a former cyclist and soccer player who started late in the boxing game, at the supposedly late age of 20 years old. Despite that, Martinez is not your ordinary fighter. The southpaw has taken the hard road to become the number three pound for pound fighter in the world. As for those who think Chavez may have more years of experience than Martinez, Chavez only started fighting professionally when he was 17. But, all of his early opponents are under speculation, so the career issue has no relevance at all.
Martinez has been a welterweight, light middleweight champion and he captured the interim WBC light middleweight championship belt when he defeated Alex Bunema (31-9,17KO’s) in 2008 when Bunema had to retire in the eighth round. He went on to defend his title against Kermit Cintron and in April of 2010 he captured the WBC and WBO middleweight titles when he unanimously defeated the heavy handed Kelly Pavlik (40-2,34KO’s). In November of that year he avenged his previous loss to Paul Williams and not only defended his middleweight crown, he knocked out the highly touted Williams in the second round. He was stripped of his title by the WBC for not fighting the mandatory contender Sebastian Zbik (30-2,20KO’s) of Germany because of promotional complications.
This is where Chavez took the opportunity and defeated Zbik in June of 2011 to claim the WBC title. Up to this day, Martinez still claims that Chavez was given the title because Zbik was supposedly a paper champion for the WBC. Despite all that, Martinez went on to defeat Serhiy Dzinziruk for the WBC Diamond middleweight title in March of 2011 and has defended it twice. And because of Martinez’ anger over getting stripped of the title and all the trash-talking by Chavez, Jr., he plans to punish him when they meet in the ring. A prediction that most believe will more than likely happen.
Throughout the last months, both fighters have said the following quotes:
“He only talks," "At the time of the fight, he only runs and runs. He doesn’t fight for the people. He doesn’t fight for the sport. ... He’ll have me all over him for 12 rounds this Saturday.”
"I'm going to retire you from boxing."
"His opponents are not ranked in the top 100 in the world." "I don't understand why people think he is a great champion." "He doesn't deserve it. He doesn't deserve to be in this position."
Martinez's trainer, Pablo Sarmiento, called Chavez a "chicken," adding his slightly favored, 37-year-old fighter will "pull the head off" his opponent at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday.
"It will not be an easy knockout,” Martinez said. "I will punish him a lot, and I hope someone in your corner stops the fight. Because I will never stop punishing you. “You’re not supposed to have taken this fight. This one will be painful for you.”
Martinez threatened “to break," Chavez's face "1,000 times."
At the weigh-in today, Chavez came in at 158lbs, two pounds under the 160lb. limit and Martinez came in at 159lbs. Chavez looked somewhat dehydrated, but will probably step into the ring around 175 or 180lbs. This may be to the advantage to the “Maravilla” who came in at the weigh-in chiseled at the perfect weight. According to HBO commentator, and world champion Roy Jones, Jr. (56-8,40KO’s), he said it will be to the advantage of Martinez if Chavez comes in the ring heavy, because the weight will slow Chavez down. In addition, he said, if Martinez can rock Chavez early in the fight, just as he did against heavyweight Ruiz, Martinez will send a big message. Also, the speed of Martinez will be something Chavez has never had to deal with and this could be his weakest point. Even though Chavez made the weight, his peculiar workout training times (1 and 2am) and missing of training workouts with Freddie Roach, show his disrespect for the boxing game and it will be his undoing. Look for the Maravilla to punish him throughout the fight and either the fight being stopped or Chavez being knocked out in the later rounds.
Also on the undercard will be Dallas’ own, Roberto Marroquin (22-1, 15KO’s) against the Cuban Guillermo “El Chacal/The Jackal” Rigondeaux (10-0,8KO’s) for the WBA super bantamweight title of the world. The undercard will also include former junior lightweight titlist Roman "Rocky" Martinez (25-1-1, 16 KOs) of Puerto Rico against Miguel Beltran Jr. (27-1, 17 KOs) of Mexico for a vacant 130-pound world title in the co-feature. In addition, former middleweight title challenger Matthew Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs) of England will challenge former junior middleweight titleist Joachim Alcine (33-2-1, 19 KOs) of Quebec in a scheduled 10-rounder, and Chicago light heavyweight prospect and Mike Lee (10-0, 6 KOs) goes against Paul Harness (4-3-1, 3 KOs) of Saint Joseph, Mo., in a scheduled six-round fight.
“Canelo,” Saul Alvarez v. Josesito Lopez
In the other fight, just down the road at the MGM Grand, the undefeated “Canelo,” Saul Alvarez, the WBC 154-pound champion from Mexico will be taking on Josesito Lopez (30-4,18KO’s). Alvarez is the up and coming red-headed sensation in Mexico’s boxing future and he is coming into this fight not only undefeated, but being touted as the future superstar in Mexico. Although he is only 22 years old, he is slowly being matched up with better fighters. In March of 2011 he captured the vacant WBC light middleweight title and has defended it four times, most recently against Kermit Cintron (3-5,28KO’s) and in May of this year against Sugar Shane Mosley (46-8,39KO’s). He knocked out Cintron in the fifth round, and punished the veteran Mosley for twelve rounds to a unanimous decision.
He was scheduled to fight Victor Ortiz (29-4,22KO’s), who was supposedly supposed to be the winner against Josesito Lopez, but Lopez shocked Ortiz and broke his jaw and the fight was stopped. To Lopez’s disgust, Goldenboy Promotions had already signed the contract between Alvarez and Ortiz before the upset. For Lopez, this was just the extra motivation he needed to win his fight against Ortiz.
So here we are, in the fight which is billed as the “Knockout Kings,” an appropriate name because someone is going to get knocked out. Alvarez is the favorite because he is fighting at his perfect weight, is much bigger physically, has power in both hands, and is the more experienced in bigger fights. On the other hand, Lopez is coming into the ring with the shocking “Rocky Balboa” upset win over Ortiz. Although Lopez is the underdog, he sees that as motivation, because if he could move up into weight and defeat Ortiz, he thinks he has a chance.
Alvarez is 5 feet 9 1/2 inches to the shorter Alvarez, and he will be using it to his advantage. This is probably the only advantage he has, but if he can use it wisely, use his jab and move out of the way of Alvaraz’ power punches and land a “Rocky” punch he has a chance to upset the boxing world.
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