By Albert J. Howell in Las Vegas, Nevada: Verbal fireworks enflamed the growing grudge match for the undisputed world middleweight crown between Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46-0-1, 32 KOs) and Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) when the fighters’ camps hurled heated insults at each other at Wednesday’s final presser at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Martinez visibly disgusted with Chavez’ trash-talking shouted, "Junior says I am a ballerina. But, I am amused by his insults. And, on Saturday night, I will break his face into a thousand pieces." An increasingly animated Martinez bellowed, "It won’t be an easy knockout. I will make him suffer first." Now addressing his challenger directly, Martinez swore, "This fight will be very painful for you, Junior, because you never respected this sport to begin with."
Chavez seized his opportunity at the podium to answer Martinez with some seasoned smack talking of his own. Chavez took aim at his challenger saying, "Martinez is a liar and a loud mouth. I am anxious for Saturday. I have seen him (Martinez) in the tapes when he’s been knocked down or knocked out. And, what you see is the white in his eyes and I think he looks pretty good like that." Gathering momentum with his words, Chavez accused Martinez of being a runner and not a fighter, saying, "He just runs. He doesn’t fight for the people or the sport. Martinez said on (HBO) 24/7 that he had a hard time keeping the bigger, taller Kelly Pavlik off of him. Well, wait until this Saturday night. I will retire him!"
Pablo Sarmiento, trainer for Martinez, took to the mic to add more fuel to the already burning bright fire of hostility between the two camps. With a stone cold face, Sarmiento calmly stated, "He (Martinez) is very motivated to shut the mouth of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr." Sarmiento boldly claimed that "Sergio Martinez will rip off the head of Junior."
Continuing the verbal volley between the two camps, Bob Arum, promoter for Chavez, echoed his fighter’s supreme confidence, exclaiming, "I feel sorry for Sergio Martinez because he is going to take body shots like he’s never seen before." Arum explained that Chavez, like his father before him, has learned that you beat your challenger by killing his body. Chavez’ father, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. was a legend at working the body so much so that he emerged as the greatest Mexican boxer of all-time.
In taking to the podium himself, Chavez, Sr. expressed his lack of patience with the trash-talking that has been associated with this epic showdown. Chavez. Sr. told the media, "There has been a lot of talk about this fight. There is nothing more to say. Now is the time for the fight." Chavez, Sr. concluded, "Julio did the work. He is ready. Martinez (with his smack talking) has invoked the devil. And, when he sees the devil coming, he won’t know what to do."
The media gathered seemed to agree with Chavez, Sr. Yes, the promotion and lead up to this grudge match has been entertaining. But, enough with the talk. Let’s see these two fighters settle the matter in the ring!
Saturday’s showdown for middleweight supremacy will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View from the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The gate is a sell-out with 19,186 tickets sold, a record for a boxing match at this popular venue. There are still tickets remaining for the closed circuit broadcast at the Wynn Resort and Casino.
At the time of Wednesday’s final press conference, Martinez was a 2:1 favorite. However, the oddsmakers see this gap closing so much so that by fight time the odds could be drawing even.
September 12, 2012