Martinez's job is to supply much of the flair: He is the deft, expert, agile swordsman. Chavez's job is to supply much of the action: He is King Kong, all brute force and size. Or, at least, those are the basic archetypes. With his considerable knockout power and adventurous forays into harm's way, Martinez has been known to supply some action, while the beastly Chavez has added some subtlety to his attack in recent years.
They each give fans ammunition to root for and against -- Chavez was born with a silver spoon in his mouth thanks to his famous father, but has a touch of the common man appeal because of his straightforward brawling style, while Martinez is the "good guy" who champions bullying victims yet is so pretty and and such a good dancer that he's simply too "face," in wrestling parlance, to be embraced by everyone.
The competing Showtime card is the more complete product. But you won't find a single fight that gives fans more than Martinez-Chavez, on a card that is already a sellout in Vegas with nearly 20,000 tickets sold and a main event that is one of the most significant middleweight fights of the past decade or so, rivaling or surpassing the likes of Bernard Hopkins-Felix Trinidad, Kelly Pavlik-Jermain Taylor or Martinez-Paul Williams II. The fight's offerings include an ambiguous outcome, unthinkable more than a year ago when Martinez began agitating for a fight against Chavez.
The root of the dispute lies not with the lineal middleweight championship but a mere alphabet gang strap: The WBC took Martinez's title when he passed on a mandatory challenge from Sebastian Zbik in order to make more money in an HBO clash against Serhiy Dzinziruk. Chavez fought Zbik for the belt that Martinez abandoned, and because of that, and because Chavez is a huge ratings and gate draw, Martinez has been trying to get the belt back ever since. And despite repeated promises that he'd get a chance at it, the Mexican-favoring WBC kept fending it off and fending it off. All the while, Martinez would take verbal swipes at Chavez, and Chavez's promoter Top Rank wisely avoided matching their cash cow with a dangerous, experienced foe, but Chavez clearly was eager to shut up Martinez. Now he'll get his chance.
Where Chavez has improved over that time frame isn't so much in his defense, like fellow Freddie Roach pupil Amir Khan showed for a few fights, or in almost an entire makeover, as Roach did in turning Manny Pacquiao from a one-handed, one-direction fighter into a two-handed, in-and-out/side-to-side one. Chavez's main weapon is the same dual-headed weapon he had before: He's freaking enormous, prone to coming into the ring 20 pounds above the weight limit the day after the weigh-in, and he's totally impervious to all punches.
Rather, Chavez is more fluid now, less mechanical. He can counter if need be, too, whereas once he would simply take turns hitting and getting hit. And he throws pretty much every punch now with maximum leverage, also. The kinds of punches have hardly changed: It's all hooking shots with either hand, to the head and body, with the left hook to the body and right hand to the head the best of the four punches. He'll mix in an effective uppercut every now and then, and paw with a jab because someone told him he ought to but he doesn't really believe it's worth throwing. Tall fighters ought to have nice jabs, but Chavez seems to think the prototype is stupid because he wants every punch to be shooting for the knockout. Defense, too, is something he tries at every now and then, but it's like a dense football player squinting at a math story problem -- he just wants to throw the football, man! That's what he knows!
That mixture of power, no defense and absolute belief in his ability to take a punch was at first fun against journeymen like Matt Vanda (who nearly defeated Chavez), and then fun and effective against authentic against contenders like Andy Lee (whom Chavez defeated in his last fight like he was wadding up a napkin and tossing it over his shoulder). It's not that there don't remain questions about Chavez, despite his progress. He is the most hittable top-level fighter in the sport, and someday that might not pay off for him, maybe as soon as Saturday. There are reasonable doubts that he has acquired his physical abilities naturally, as he has been busted with banned substances in his body once and suspected more than once. And whatever passion he shows in the ring, his work habits outside it are lackluster at best, with a tendency to skip training or blow off Roach.
That, too, could bring the chickens home to roost against Martinez. Martinez routinely beats guys like Lee, Chavez's best opponent, and then better guys on top of it -- Kelly Pavlik, Williams, Dzinziruk. And while Chavez wrecks people with absurd strength, Martinez produces highlight reel knockouts with speed, unexpected angles and perfect placement. He's the better all-around fighter, by far, with quicker hands, quicker feet, better defense and more varied offense, all from a tricky southpaw stance. Martinez does have a jab, and knows how to mix up his shots rather than just throwing the kitchen sink at everyone and pressing forward at the same slow pace all the time.
There are two things working against Martinez for this fight. One is that Chavez is a giant. Martinez has matured into a full-boned middleweight, but he's not an enormous one like Chavez. Martinez still could move down to 154 pounds if he wanted to, probably. And the last huge 160-pounder Martinez faced, Pavlik, gave Martinez his share of drama. Pavlik is an instructive example, in that he, like Chavez, is a fairly basic, slower fighter, but until Martinez cut him late in the fight, it was a pretty even affair. The other is that Martinez might have slowed down since his 2010 Fighter of the Year campaign. He's been dropped by Matthew Macklin and struggled with Darren Barker, both mid-tier middleweight contenders, although he ended up stopping both of them.
I don't think the Pavlik example is too instructive, though. Pavlik is very conventional for a tall fighter, capable of jabbing someone like Martinez to steady him and stifle his movement, a trait Chavez doesn't possess. Moreover, I don't think Martinez was ever really hurt by the knockdown he suffered at Pavlik's hands, nor any knockdown he's suffered at the hands of Williams or Macklin or whoever in recent years. Martinez has a funky balance thing going, and he sometimes gets knocked off his high wire. Nor am I completely convinced that Martinez has faded all that badly -- more like that his Fighter of the Year campaign was him overachieving, and people "figuring him out" a bit since. He's 37, sure, but he is still fast and he doesn't have trouble pulling the trigger or struggle with stamina. Macklin and Barker had some success against Martinez's style by forcing him to initiate and countering him, something that Chavez won't be doing and couldn't do as well even if he tried.
So here's how I see the fight going: Martinez wins the early rounds easily, Chavez does some damage in the middle rounds by getting super-aggressive, and Martinez reestablishes himself late and has Chavez woozy by the final bell. I could also see a fight with a lot of close rounds that go to Chavez because he'll have the fans on his side and that will influence the judges, but I see Martinez hitting Chavez more than he usually gets hit, and cleaner, and dodging more of Chavez's return punches than the defensively-challenged fighters Chavez has been fighting in his hot streak. The middle rounds are when Chavez might begin to impose his will, but he'll still be getting hit a lot, and Martinez is sturdier than Lee or Peter Manfredo, probably more on par with Marco Antonio Rubio and Zbik, whom Chavez did not stop. Plus, when it comes down to a close call, I'm going to go with the guy who is preparing like it's the fight of his life, as Martinez is, over the guy who is waking up at 6 p.m. and parading around eating cereal in pink underwear, like Chavez did on the most recent episode of HBO's 24/7. But I can't wait to find out if I'm wrong.
I'm with stickfigure below: I think Martinez TKO's Chavez in the first half of the fight, possibly even as early as round five.
Martinez knows this is a crossroads fight for him. He's 37, and he hasn't ignited the American sporting consciousness despite being one of three or four best fighters in the world and a very handsome dude.
Maravilla must win -- and win big -- to become a superstar. If he loses at this age, he's done. Even if it's a close fight, the Top Rank-Sulaiman hype machine will spin a narrow Chavez victory into a dominant conquest, and Martinez will be left behind as Bob Arum-WBC road kill.
A loss for Chavez doesn't end his career. He's a franchise due to his last name, and sequels will be written. Chavez knows this.
The intensity that Martinez is showing in his interviews is backed by the apparent ferocity and discipline of his training. Chavez's bravado seems to be little more than bravado or show business when you look at his nonchalant attitude toward training.
There's also one more factor to mention that is getting very little attention, Freddie Roach. Am I the only one who thinks Roach is on the decline as a trainer? Maybe Freddie is getting stretched too thin? His fighters haven't looked that great lately, and I think all of the publicity and melodrama surrounding his camps with Pacquiao, Khan and Chavez, his personal dispute with Ariza and his accelerating Parkinson's are affecting his ability to conduct tight, focused, disciplined camps. It's showing in the ring.
@PaulKelly I think Roach is very much in the decline as a trainer. All of the reasons you stated.
With Martinez's intensity: I do think there's a good argument that he might come in too intense, too ready to slug, too eager to KO Chavez. I hope I'm wrong.
the last time someone blew off training and disregarded his opponent to the extent that Chavez seems to be doing, he got completely ktfo by Judah.
@CedricLee Who do you mean?
@tstarks vernon paris...they were asking him if he watched tapes etc. he got all cocky, said he was going to beat judah easy and he's not even going to bother watching the tapes. then the fight came and he couldnt win a single round and then got his face bashed in. it was great.
Finally all the staged trash talk can be put aside and we can finally see the fight we’ve all been waiting for. Famed boxing analyst thinks it’s going to be a close fight to the end http://www.chewthedirt.com/fight-weekend-sergio-martinez-julio-cesar-chavez-jr/ . Will Martinez regain the middleweight title belt the good old fashioned way while also bringing boxing back into the spotlight? We shall see...
@RoWyN Old school prediction game style posting!
@tstarks LOL. I wasn't aware that it's changed. That and I've been lazy haha. No wonder my points don't count! Not sure how new school predictions are done but here are my two cents:
- Sergio is very skilled and unorthodox fighter -- but as proven highly effective. Judging by the measurements, his 75" reach is very hard to ignore, but not as much against the taller Chavez's 73". But to be able to fully utilize all of these advantages, Martinez will need space. And space, is something that he won't have against JCCjr. I see Jr cutting all exit routes with a lot of shoving and elbows. I think Sergio throws the more scintillating blows but overall JCC imposing more strength. I anticipate a very rugged but good close fight (almost Froch-like) with Jr getting a (maybe controversial) win.
I have a hard time seeing how Chavez can win this fight legitimately. given the crowd and location though, I hope for Martinez's sake that he ends it before the judges decide it for him.
either way though, it's a heck of a fight and I'm seriously looking forward to it. I would have slapped myself for saying that a year ago.
@The Count of Monte Fisto (boom!) The "Chavez wins by controversial/bunk decision" thing is a totally viable outcome, unfortunately.
I've watching tape... or files rather of the two a lot lately. I've come to the conclusion that Chavez has absolutely nothing on Martinez. The only thing he has is size and durability, but this maybe all he needs.
Ive played the fight out over and over in my head and it plays out like this: Martinez dominates early rounds that'll have the crowd oohing and ahhing. Chavez will reach him in the middle rounds that will have the crowd excited. But ultimately the doctor will call a halt to the bout because Chavez's face will be torn up.
Pretty much the same result as all of Martinez's last 4 fights.
With that said, I feel like Martinez gets sloppy or coasts in the Middle and that may be enough for Jr to do the kind of damage that will give him the momentum to win.
As safesideOTR pointed out, why is this fight significant? Well because Its the legitimate championship of the world and a lot of people care about it and are going to watch it. All of Martinez's last five fights have been for the legitimate middleweight championship, but not this many people cared. All Klitschko fights are the legitimate heavy championship but only people in germany care. Even Mayweather and Pacquiao welterweight fights weren't as significant because unless they fought each other, it wasn't for the legit championship. This fight is what boxing is all about. This fight is why promoters know what they're doing and when belts mean something
@the legend known as the legend LOL, I think I accidentally stole your "but size might be enough" line in my response to Andrew.
I have a feeling Martinez won't coast in this fight, though. If anything, I lean toward thinking he'll be too amped up for his own good.
And you make a great argument for why we should care. Look, people still care about champs. I do. You do. Is it everyone? Nah. But it does matter to some, and that makes it an attraction to people.
Very thoughtful analysis, Tim. Your final prediction tries to have it both ways a little, with Chavez and Martinez getting in some of their best work at various points of the fight. However, I think given the clash of styles one fighter will clearly get the better of the other. The fight'll therefore end up violently in favor of one or the other: either Chavez pummeling Martinez into a stoppage ending (a la Andy Lee), or Martinez messing up Chavez's face with cuts (a la Kelly Pavlik).
I'm a Martinez partisan, so I go that way. Junior's too green in big fights, and this is a mega fight. Chavez will get his face cut up from Martinez's accurate punches and we're gonna get a TKO about 2/3 through the 12 rounds.
One point of analysis that I haven't heard aired yet is the greatly different consequences for the division if either fighter wins. Martinez's considered a notch better than all the belt holders right now. If he wins, things pretty much stay the same: he'll fight Geale or Golovkin next, and Chavez will try to grab one of the easier alphabet belts. And he'll still be considered a notch better. But if Chavez wins, we have a new lineal champion and a bunch of guys all considered around the same level, so let the unification rumbles begin (as they already did with Sturm and Geale). Plus an aggrieved Martinez. Man, that sounds like the setup for all sorts of exciting hype and fights. So part of me thinks that it'd be fun to see Junior win and let the chips fall where they may.
FWIW, I am picking Martinez, I just think both men will have their moments. But your take is perfectly plausible, too.
Very good point about the future you describe with a Chavez win. I do believe a Martinez win makes his next fight that much bigger, and I think you'll find a lot of people who would give Golovkin a better chance of beating Martinez than Chavez.
Martinez's unpredictable body moves during a fight, combined with his fast, strong, seemingly lethal punches, are a delight to watch. Unfortunately he seemed to have pasted these qualities into his mouth, so that lately this part of his anatomy resembles that of tattle's in non-stop action. He would have been more majestic and in his conquests and triumphs if he was silent, cool and dignified like Cotto, before, during and after a fight, win or lose.
Martinez was so tense, almost haywire with his palpable hate and volatility in their "Face-Off" and that made him appear like he is the bully.
I think he is over-hyped because, compared to Roz Jones demolishing his opponent left and right in his heyday, he has only one notable knock-out: Williams.
I pick Chavez to win.
By the way, what will happen to Martinez's boxing career in the event he loses this one? (For Chavez it will just another loss.) Start finding lucrative bouts again or he'll decide to watch the sunset in the Pampas forever or dance his way thru life?
@monaquent True, he's been trying to bully Chavez, which is interesting given his cause celebre.
Maybe he's over-hyped in comparison to Jones, but his resume makes him one of the best few fighters today.
Why not dance during the sunset in Pampas?
(I hear you on being cool/majestic like Cotto. It's clear that Martinez wants to be "big," and maybe he thinks this is the way to do it. The bad blood has, I think, heightened interest in the fight.)
"(I hear you on being cool/majestic like Cotto. It's clear that Martinez wants to be "big," and maybe he thinks this is the way to do it. The bad blood has, I think, heightened interest in the fight."
Yeah; well, he'll just have to hope that it will not boomerang on his face.
@monaquent It very well could. One of the things that's kind of funny/interesting about this fight is that both guys have elements of "good guy" and "bad guy." It's really just about which you choose to emphasize as a fan.
i'm super excited for this fight, to the point where i will have butterflies in my stomach when i watch it sunday morning (things are tight, can't afford the ppv, won't risk a shitty stream). i both love and hate it when two of my favorite fighters duke it out.
one thing i think is really important is what kind of power chavez has. we've seen that martinez can batter guys into submission or just knock 'em cold. chavez's power seems like his father's: batter you into submission late, with no one punch really being a knockout-type blow. if he doesn't have one-punch power, i think it's martinez's fight to lose, since chavez will catch him, but not do enough damage.
tim, below you wrote "But ask yourself this about Top Rank: How often do they put their guys in with boxers promoted by others unless they're supremely confident of victory?" and it's that thought that makes me get all conspiracy theory-ey. martinez has already knocked someone out, only to earn a draw...
@robb_muckle Good analysis, in those first couple grafs.
On the last graf -- check this out. http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/sulaiman-nsac-has-crossed-the-line-135429
martinez hasn't been a "good guy" for a while now. he's been trash talking and disrespecting many boxers and promoters since he was crowned middleweight king. i think he wins a wide decision but i really hope chavez ko's him and shuts him up
@rasec Valid. Martinez has been rather uncool to Chavez. I don't know if he's disrespected that many others, though -- who are you thinking of?
@tstarks maybe not many others but he has talked a lot of trash the last couple of years against cotto, pacquiao and now chavez. this guy's just begging for attention from ppv kings. i may have been hasty regarding promoters. now that i think about it, i'm not too sure if he has disrespected arum. but definitely pac & cotto before chavez
It would be better if Maravilla showed class like Andre Ward, but remember that Martinez's shelf life is limited at age 37. He hasn't caught on in America with his previous, slick Antonio Banderas-Julio Iglesias clone personna.
So maybe he's unzipping his lips more in an effort to capture American audiences, who seem to be enraptured by talented heels like Floyd Mayweather.
I really enjoyed reading this article, one of the best articles on the internet about the Showdown on Sept. 15. I've read almost every article about the fight and I am sure that everyone is picking Sergio Martinez to win. Sergio Martinez is also 1/2 favorite to win in most if not all sportbooks. I,on the other hand, believe Chavez Jr. will win the fight against Martinez on Sept. 15. Here are the reasons or conspiracies why:
1. Chavez is on the rise and Martinez is on the decline. Sergio is still riding on the amazing KO against Paul Williams nearly 3 years ago. Sergio has not been hot commodity since. Sergio has not been elite against his last two opponents.
2. Chavez Jr. is a TOP RANK CASH COW and WBC Jose Sulaiman's God Son. Funny how Chavez Jr. is the underdog according to the sportbooks odds; and will be making twice as much than Sergio that night with the supports of TOP RANK & WBC ( 3 million for Jr. vs 1.4 million for Sergio). To top it off and will have the majority of the crowd will be there because of him.
3. What every casual boxing fan would love to see a Super Mega Showdown Boxing match Canelo Alvarez vs. Chavez Jr. Having both fighters undefeated would be the icing on the cake.
I love Sergio and he is a great fighter. Sergio would not lose anything if he does not win this Sept. 15 on the contrary he will have more exposure to casual fans and his marketing stocks will rise. I can see a possible fight with Sergio vs. Cotto, Sergio vs. Canelo, or Sergio vs. GGG Golovkin.
I dunno if I agree with #1. Neither barker or Macklin fought like Pavlik or Williams and never gave martinez many opportunities to hit. As a quality boxer, if your purpose is not to get hurt, you can stay away from the action to an extent which is what barker and Macklin did. Even still, barker ended up with broken ear drum and Macklin almost got sent through the ropes twice in 40 seconds. Also consider that when martinez decided to win, he basically took Macklin out within 3 rounds. This is the same Macklin that sturm could not ko and barely beat. I don't really see where Martinez has been slipping, he just hasn't started off as well in the last 2 fights but some of that had to do with his opponents fighting style. Chavez on the other hand is not gonna try to fight like those 2 did and that's probably going to result in a lot of damage to his face.
@CedricLee Well, OK. Maybe I don't 100 percent agree with #1. I even make the case in the article that I'm not sure Martinez is falling -- but for whatever reason, be it the style of recent opponents or a hot streak that has since subsided -- he's not been the guy who was tearing up world-class fighters.
he definitely hasn't looked as good but at the same time it's easier to look good against pavlik and williams if you have the firepower because those two guys punch a lot which gives u many opportunities to land. barker covered up pretty much after the 3rd round. the knockout blow wasnt even a landed punch. it hit barker's glove and bounced off the top of his head. but by then his ear drum was already broken so he was done. and with macklin, it was more of a tactical fight than a straight brawl which is what martinez vs. williams was. so martinez wasnt landing much but like i mentioned, as soon as he decided he wanted to end it, he took macklin out in 3 rounds which imo is highly impressive considering what macklin did to sturm. nevermind pavlik or williams, the win over dzinziruk or the win over macklin is already better than anything chavez has done and they were both easy fights...martinez was never in any trouble in either of those fights and ended them when he felt like it. took a little while against macklin but i dont think anyone that saw that fight ever thought he was in trouble. i know hbo was building it up throughout the fight but sergio looked like he coulda went for a photoshoot after the fight while macklin looks like he needed to go to the hospital.
I agree with you substantially on #1.
On #2: The guy who brings the most money to the table, not the favorite, usually makes the most money. In this case, that's Chavez. But WBC favoritism and the crowd could play a role.
3. It would, but it doesn't feel likely, between weight and promoter feuds.
If Martinez fights extremely well but loses, I might agree he loses nothing in a win. But there are a lot of people waiting to say that Martinez is overrated, and they'll take a loss here as evidence of that.
i don't know i just think martinez might get rid of him early, maybe even by the 6th....i could be wrong, i have maybe been wrong before (once? haha)...Just Martinez seems to have some undefinable magic about him, and Chavez is strictly force...I go with magic haha...
I am picking Chavez to win and have been for a while. If anything I think Sergio is too fired up for this fight and will be more aggressive than normal. That plays for Chavez big time. I can see Sergio wining a boxing match but this is a fight.
I don't buy the "Chavez is slacking off" line, I think it's just a standard Freddie Roach 24/7 drama mechanism. But I also don't think it'll make much of a difference. Martinez hits very hard and Junior is very, very hittable. I can't get past that fact. If Junior wins, it'll be because he has an incredible reserve of grit that we have never seen in his contests against various middleweight no-hopers (Zbik and Lee excepted). Give me Martinez by late rounds stoppage.
@ALEXMAC Could be. Don't know what's in it for them.
I'm now doubting my call, since you were so on the money last weekend.
Significant as in tickets sold? I don't get the Chavez thing - he just isn't a top fighter for me. I don't see this fight as being any more significant than the Macklin fight. Am I missing something?
@safesideOTR I believe I saw you say on Twitter the other day you haven't seen any of his recent fights. He's matured greatly. I'm not saying Andy Lee is the best middleweight ever. But Chavez disposed of him with ease. I think Chavez would've beat the piss out of Macklin, too.
That said, there are still folk who think Martinez will outclass Chavez easily. But ask yourself this about Top Rank: How often do they put their guys in with boxers promoted by others unless they're supremely confident of victory?
@tstarks So I checked out the Lee fight. By matured do you mean souped up? I don't believe that's a natural physical progression. Does anyone? Genuinely? Guy has that same weird Mattel action figure look Pacquiao has, that Marquez was sporting in his last fight, Klitschko, Haye. And Freddie Roach stands by with that stupid shit-eating grin of his, taking all of the back slaps when it's all Ariza's work. But even that won't save him. Martinez is too good a fighter for him. I hope one day that someone actually bothers to get to the bottom of it all. But they won't. Too much money involved.
@safesideOTR I really don't know if it's natural or not. But there's more grounds for suspicion here than with others, for reasons stated.
I do think Chavez has gotten a little better in a few areas -- more fluid, more leverage, capable of countering. But that and his impossible size might be enough.
And who is you pick Tim...