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Where am I? Home Columns Marc Livitz

Martinez Survives Late knockdown To Out-Point Chavez Jr

By: Marc Livitz ringside in Las Vegas: The decibel level at the Thomas and Mack Center this evening was just short of deafening. A roughly 50/50 Mexico/Argentina crowd packed the arena and there was not an empty seat to be had. The fight which so many were waiting patiently for was finally delivered and it did not disappoint. Sergio Martinez was at last in the ring with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Mexican Independence Day weekend would get a crashing bang for the ages.


After the opening bell sounded, each fighter’s respective nerves and pre fight jitters were clearly evident as they circled each other in the center of the ring. Sergio had his hands up for the first half of the round before going back to his typical hands-down style. He showed his share of patience as he attempted to break through Chavez Jr.’s tight guard. In the second, Martinez landed an effective three punch combination which resulted in taunts and gestures from his opponent. The Argentine champion was simply doing more at this point. Chavez Jr. was however able to land a few body shots whenever he manged to pin Martinez against the ropes, but Sergio was just too elusive.


The third round saw its beginnings with uppercuts from both fighters. Chavez, Jr. was chasing Martinez around the ring at times. Sergio had established a good right job by this time. Julio kept to his original game plan and did land his share of body shots. He’d bend at the waist, drop his head a bit and try to attack. Sergio would take a few but seemed to know better than to push his luck. The fourth began with a few exchanges between the two combatants. Martinez thereafter continued to move around the large 24’ ring and connect with more head shots.


Chavez, Jr. was at times walking straight into his punches, but he still was able to land an impressive right cross as the round was nearing a close. Martinez would counter as the bell sounded with a hard left. A third of the fight was in the books and Sergio was in control.


Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez continued to jab and move. He was slowly whittling away at Chavez’s tight defense. He played the same scenario on numerous occasions: a quick right to the head followed by a left to the body. Julio connected with an effective left/right package to the head and body, but Martinez kept on moving a firing back. He spun his left arm in a pinwheel like fashion to end the fifth. Chavez tried to stalk Martinez to begin the sixth. He was able to momentarily trap him in a corner and catch Sergio with his typical hard punches. Away he would move in his bouncing fashion. The fighter from Culiacan, Mexico was walking in the ring and not doing enough. Martinez connected with a quick three punch combination to end the stanza. Chavez, Jr. slowed a bit in the seventh, all while Sergio continued to fire away with his rapid right jab. A powerful straight left to the head to Chavez, jr. got a loud reaction from the crowd to close the period.


The eighth round was somewhat more of the same as the slick fighter from South America effortlessly landed jabs and the occasional power shot. Julio wasn’t answering much in round nine. His punches were at times quite easy for Sergio to anticipate and he was completely missing wide with some of his shots.



The championship rounds which followed would be beautifully accented with a moment that will not be forgotten any time in the near future. Martinez still appeared fresh in round ten. He used angles well, although he was warned by referee Tony Weeks to keep his punches above the waist of Chavez, Jr. A clash of heads briefly halted the action and luckily no damage resulted from it. The Mexican fighter caught Martinez with a hard left seconds before the bell sounded to close the round. 


In the eleventh, a hard right from Julio got the attention of his adversary. However, this was shortly followed by perhaps fifteen to twenty unanswered shots expertly delivered to head and body of Chavez, Jr. Sergio was showing hints of possessing the iron chin which his Mexican opponent had so greatly coveted. The son of Mexico’s greatest ever boxer was now looking for a solid shot or two to score a knockout. He seemed to know that he was behind on the cards this evening. 


Round twelve. In one word: beautiful. The final period reminded us why we love this sport and was eerily similar to a certain memorable yet controversial fight which took place in Las Vegas in the spring of 1990. Sergio was moving as always and trying to protect his lead. Chavez, Jr. was a bit turned around, but he quickly found his bearings and popped Martinez with two hard rights to the head. Both warriors appeared fatigued. Chavez memorably took advantage of the wear displayed by Martinez. 


He caught him with a straight right and followed up with a crushing left to nearly send Martinez through the ropes. Martinez fell to the canvas but quickly rose to his feet. The Mexican fans in the crowd showed little appreciation for the slip and fall shown by Martinez shortly thereafter. He was holding on for dear life and hoping for the saving graces of the bell. He got it just in time.


The statistics told the story tonight. The overall differences in activity and output was the icing on the pugilistic cake. Martinez threw 908 total punches to Chavez Jr.’s 390. Julio did hold a 37-8 edge in terms of power shots in the twelfth and final round. It was too little, too late for Chavez, Jr., but was it ever an evening to cherish. The scorecards read as follows: 117-110 (Stanley Christodoulou) and the other two were identical at 118-109 (Adalaide Byrd and Dave Moretti). Sergio Martinez regained his WBC Middleweight title and held on to his lineal championship as well. He gained win number 50 and improved to (50(28)-2-2), while Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. falls from the ranks of the undefeated to now show a record of (46(32)-1-1-1). Martinez stated that he would gladly take part in a rematch. Let’s hope we see one.


September 15, 2012


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