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.