SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win
By Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: The fight that has nabbed the majority of the attention in Las Vegas this week is the huge showdown between unbeaten Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez at the Thomas & Mack Center. The HBO Pay Per View-televised bout has sold out the 19,000-seat venue and it’s expected to do very well in terms of television viewers.
The matchup itself is one of the more intriguing ones in recent years. It’s the perfect duel of a young unbeaten contender ready to take his first huge step against a seasoned veteran who is one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters. Martinez is a slight betting favorite as of this writing, which makes sense because the majority of the so-called experts are picking him to beat the Mexican. Of those experts, a sizeable chunk believe that Chavez is all hype and is nothing more than a media creation because of his famous father.
In reality, the fight is a great matchup that could go either way. This is easily young Chavez’ biggest test but has age caught up to the Argentine? If you want to know exactly how the fight will unfold before it even happens, keep reading.
Punching power: If you gauge what the boxing writers almost unanimously declare, Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) is the second coming of Archie Moore, Mike Tyson and Earnie Shavers all rolled into one. Because of the shocking highlight reel one-punch knockout of Paul Williams a few years back, he suddenly became a sheer knockout artist. Obviously the guy can bang; only a fool would think otherwise. But his vaunted power has been blown way out of proportion since he clobbered Williams in their rematch. Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs) isn’t a huge puncher, but like his dad, he will slowly wear you down until you can’t go on any further. He’s got a higher knockout ratio but he’s not a brutal puncher, and not as powerful in terms one-punch power like Martinez. Advantage: Martinez.
Speed: Martinez uses awkward angles and throws his punches from everywhere. He’s got great speed, too, but that speed is usually the result of precise punching and great timing. Chavez is quick, too, but he’s like his dad in that he uses his toughness and resilience to break down his adversaries. Chavez is younger by many years, though, and that is a vital role in this fight. Chavez has terrific timing and throws a perfect hook to the body with lightning speed. Slight advantage: Chavez
Size: Chavez is a few inches taller but is at a two-inch reach disadvantage. Chavez just looks like a naturally bigger, more solid guy. As always, this category isn’t important whatsoever because they are so equal. Still, Chavez is just a slightly all around bigger, thicker guy. Slight advantage: Chavez
Age factor: Martinez is 37 and is just about at the end of his career, if one is logical and looks at history. Chavez is eleven years younger and just entering his physical prime. This is the perfect time for young Chavez to engage with a grizzled veteran still on top of his game. Youth will play a major role in this one, particularly with Chavez’ awesome body attack. Advantage: Chavez
Chin: Chavez is the son of Julio Cesar Chavez, a man with one of the sturdiest chins in the history of boxing and he’s inherited that. He’s never really been truly hurt in his life and he rolls with the punches very well. Martinez has tough whiskers, too. Martinez has been dropped by Williams and he was stopped by Antonio Margarito, though. Martinez doesn’t have a glass jaw by any means, but he’s shown to be vulnerable much more than Chavez has. Advantage: Chavez
Experience: Chavez has been brought up through the ranks at a snail’s pace. Sure, he has almost as many professional fights as his opponent, but his fights have long been against stiffs and inexperienced guys. Well, every fighter has his resume padded like that, but Chavez was ready to take bigger steps a few years ago. He’s taken on some quality guys lately like Marco Antonio Rubio, Peter Manfredo and Sebastian Zbik. Martinez has taken on much better foes, end of story. Cintron, Williams (twice), Serhiy Dzinziruk and Kelly Pavlik is all that needs to be said. Advantage: Martinez
Intangibles: Age could play a role in this matchup. Martinez has been at the top of his weight class for a while and has been on a long winning streak against great opposition. He hasn’t been in too many wars, but he’s showed signs of slowing down as of late. He’s also not overly comfortable when someone is in his face, forcing him to trade, either. Chavez is much younger and is on the verge of becoming a genuine star in the sport. The time is now for Chavez to make a statement and wrest the spotlight away from Canelo Alvarez as Mexico’s best fighter. Chavez also has more to prove because insiders still think he’s overhyped and not ever going to be half of what his father was. He’s ready to shove his fists down the throats of the naysayers. Advantage: Chavez
The bottom line: The fight will be interesting for a few rounds. Martinez will do well with his movement and awkward punching angles and he’ll win a few of the early frames. However, Chavez will start to unload his tremendous left hook to the body, which will hurt Martinez repeatedly. As the rounds wear on, Chavez will get stronger and stronger. By the time the fifth round ends, the Mexican will have total control of the fight and will never look back. He’ll step on the gas and break Martinez into shrapnel round after round. He’ll be relentless and he’ll create an avalanche of punishment onto the Argentine. Martinez will hang tough but eventually he’ll succumb to the body shots and hard, short hooks and crosses upstairs. He’ll be dropped in the ninth and again in the eleventh. From there, Chavez will be relentless and he’ll force Martinez’ corner to throw in the towel before the round ends. It’ll be the performance of the entire weekend and Chavez will have finally earned his stripes; he’ll make it look incredibly easy from round three onward. Bank on it.
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September 14, 2012