The Boxing Tribune’s writer and fight correspondent, Gary Purfield and rising Jr. Welterweight contender Tony Luis, fresh off a 1st round knockout in his US debut square off to set the stage for the Middleweight Championship bout this Saturday between the true recognized champ Sergio Martinez and WBC belt holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Gary thinks he knows boxing because he spends a lot of time running and hitting a heavy bag. He also thinks he is knowledgeable because he watches a lot of boxing from ringside and on TV. Tony actually knows boxing as he’s been training since a young age, had a successful amateur career, and stands at 15-0 (7 KO) as a pro. Tony has a high IQ in the ring cultivated by his father/trainer along with a high IQ outside the ring where he works in the difficult drug and alcohol field. No one doubts Tony can outwork Gary in boxing knowledge but can he outwork the writer on paper? Let the debate begin.
Sergio Martinez is too good for Jr. and will stop Julio Cesar Chavez, easily
By Gary Purfield
Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has proven he is a legit fighter who is not just the son of a legend. At the very least he belongs in the discussion about the best middleweights in the world.
Now let’s get one more thing clear. Chavez is not even in Sergio Martinez’s league. Do not confuse a couple of nice wins against half decent opposition like Manfredo and Andy Lee as having the ability to beat a whirlwind like Martinez.
Let’s start with a brief history of Martinez to lead up to the reasons he will completely outclass Chavez Jr.:
Getting into boxing at twenty years of age would normally be considered a negative. However, the supremely athletic Martinez caught on fast and the late start means he may be thirty seven years old but is much younger in boxing years. Martinez has fought and scrapped for every ounce of notoriety and money he has earned in boxing. He left his homeland of Argentina, traveling to Spain for better opportunities in the sport. He then moved to the states to continue his career. He will fight anyone put in front of him. His first loss was due to being willing to take on a young beast in Antonio Margarito long before he was ready, but that is Martinez’s nature. He will always take the risk to gain the reward knowing whatever the outcome he comes out ahead in experience and exposure.
Martinez broke through the mainstream using this same philosophy when he took on Paul Williams on barely two weeks’ notice. Williams at the time was considered the most avoided man in the sport Martinez jumped at the chance and put on a show losing a controversial split decision that was widely considered a fight of the year candidate. That propelled him to the Pavlik fight where he took the middleweight title long held by his countryman and most famous Argentine boxer, Carlos Monzon. Martinez dominated early, survived a mid-rounds push from the champ and heavy handed Pavlik, and then showed how good he had become late in his career by dominating a bloody Pavlik in the final rounds to seal the deal.
Since then, all Martinez has done is knock out anyone willing to get in the ring attempting to take his title (he may not have a “belt” but he is the champion at 160). Martinez may be the man but he still fights with the passion of a hungry newcomer. He left no doubt in the rematch with Williams with a chilling second round knockout that was easily the KO of the year. Sure, his last three opponents were not pound for pound world beaters but that is no fault of the champ (in fairness all three were decent fighters who at least deserve contender status). He simply has no real available peers at 160lbs and has been waiting and waiting for a certain young Mexican to step up to the plate.
This Saturday, Martinez will simply have way too much in the tool box for the plodding Chavez. Martinez is lightning fast, has knockout power in both hands, unpredictable movement, and the ability to punch from all kinds of angles that catch his opponents unaware. He is a master and landing the most dangerous punch in boxing. The punch you didn’t see coming.
Chavez’s recent outings have been impressive, but they have come against fighters that play into his abilities. Zbik, Manfredo, and Lee all were willing to stand in front of Chavez therefore wilting over time to his strength.
Martinez will make no such mistake. He will be moving in various directions all night. He will never allow Chavez to set his feet and impose his size advantage. All the while he will be landing his array of quick combinations and make no mistake, we are not talking pitty-pat punches while on the move. Martinez may move in and out but when he throws it will be with authority meant to break Chavez as he has done his last four victims who all were stopped by the true middleweight champ.
Plan on seeing Sergio with his typical hands down style and smile on his face darting every which way for most of the night. He will have that smile on as he pops in to land thudding blows and the smile will be even a little bigger when he darts out leaving a frustrated Chavez completely at a loss as to what to do with this athletic phenom. Chavez has banked on pressure and activity being the key that will break Martinez. What Chavez does not understand is that style only works if you can at least somewhat compete with your opponent in terms of talent and athleticism to get close and apply that pressure. Chavez is good, but he is not good enough to get near Martinez.
Chavez’s chin and heart will keep him in the fight but by the middle to late rounds when the endurance machine Martinez turns it up he will fall to the superior athlete and fighter.
I predict Martinez by late stoppage around the tenth round when the referee or Freddie Roach is forced to stop the beating.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the real deal, not hype, and will dethrone Martinez
By Tony Luis
The terms overhyped and overrated are part of a long list of boxing terminology that has been used in this sport to describe fighters who have been marketed aggressively by a promoter because they bring money to the table for reasons that come before their fighting ability. Pigmentation, fan-friendly style, historic fighting family background are all tangible ingredients promoters have sought in fighters. These marketing tools are pushed to the max to turn their fighter from prospect to star.
In most cases, select matchmaking and with all the many belts that are out there now, it is very easy to move a fighter and present him to the public as the real deal. With exception to its hardcore fans, the general audience will buy into the hype and feed the machine that is the business of boxing. However, at one point or another, a tactful promoter can only wield his influence so much until the public, or the fighter himself demand one thing: Legitimacy.
More often than not, these would-be stars often fall hard after their careful rise to stardom when faced with la creme de la creme. But there is an exception to every rule. On September 15, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be that exception.
The perception has been that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is a spoiled brat who has enjoyed the kind of exposure and luxuries that only the son of a legend could inherit. Very early in his career, while nothing but skin and bone and the kind of babyface that not even a fake id could bail him out of, he was already being showcased on undercards of high profile PPV events. While other prospects and more seasoned fighters, even former champions were being put on the backburner to allow this undeveloped kid the chance to carry the Chavez legacy, the boxing world was sitting back waiting for Chavez to fall flat on his face and tarnish the Chavez name. While there were minor speed bumps along the way, that crash and burn moment never came. Furthermore, the times where Chavez did underperform at times in his development, the criticism was that much harsher because of his name. Amidst it all, Chavez just steamrolled his way through the naysayers and critics and just kept doing his thing with the kind of poise that only champions can muster.
Ironically, the image of a media hoax and fighter who offers nothing more but cheap remnants of his father’s glory days is precisely what drove Chavez to become a champion. After each outing, the competition slowly got stiffer and stiffer. By the time the Rubio and Andy Lee fights came around, no one was laughing anymore. Chavez-Sergio Martinez was now a serious fight. The kid had morphed into a full-fledged middleweight with size, power, resilience, and the kind of body attack and pair of whiskers that could only make us think of, oh don’t say it, the Julio Cesar Chavez.
Lest we forget there was a time when Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. needed to pass some tests too before he attained the lofty status he earned. Edwin Rosario, Roger Mayweather, and can you believe there was a time when boxing pundits thought Hector Camacho could box circles around Chavez all day? Nuff said. These were some of the names Julio had to face on his way to legendary status. Now here we are, 20 some odd years later, and Sergio Martinez is one of those names Junior needs to conquer, to silence his critics and begin carving his own legacy.
Sergio Martinez is a hardened veteran who spent the bulk of his career under the radar. The opposite of Junior’s career. And in the ring, they couldn’t be any more different either. Martinez is a slick southpaw with fast feet, a sensitive chin (but always gets back up), and speed to burn. Not to mention crippling power in both hands. He is also 37 years old and has shown only the slightest deterioration in his last two fights against fighters he was favored to beat handily, but struggled instead (Macklin RTD 11, Barker KO 11). His stamina is still strong but endurance is difficult to gauge against fighters you are capable of dictating the pace.
Martinez has had a bad habit of pulling straight out of exchanges with hands low, depending on his reflexes to get him out of harm’s way. Against a fighter the caliber of Chavez, even the slightest deterioration in age can be blown up. Especially when taken into the deep end of a fight and being forced to fight when you don’t want to fight, an ability Chavez has mastered against his foes. Chavez will be offering swarming pressure and will not allow Martinez the room he enjoys to move around and find his range while setting up his next attack. The advantages in foot speed will be slowly dwindling away.
Chavez thrives on his body attack and picks his spots well and will eliminate Martinez’s movement by the championship rounds.
Chavez is a face first fighter?
His father suffered from the same accusations in his day, yet would always walk out of a fight with his face relatively unscathed. In hindsight, many observers praise Senior now for his subtle defensive prowess. Youtube it. It is no different with Junior. Watch Chavez closely, he absorbs a good chunk of punches thrown at him high on the head, where opponents bust their hands so they don’t want to throw. He rolls with the majority of punches that touch his face, deflecting the impact off the punch, avoiding the sensitive knockout spots that can turn your lights out. And the rest are being parried and slipped away with the kind of macho disregard that only a Chavez can pull off, resulting in breaking the opposing fighter’s will. Even the best fighters.
Hail September 15, Hail Chavez in a courageous late fight rally that is enough to get the split decision win in an ultimately brutal and bloody battle.