Quijano: Day of reckoning for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-A A +A
Saturday, September 15, 2012
TODAY we will find out if Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the real thing and if he is deserving of the hype that pitifully befalls the son not just of a boxing legend, but one the greatest fighters in the modern era.
He will do battle against Sergio Gabriel Martinez, who is on the top 4 of most pound for pound rankings today.
Let’s examine some critical factors in today’s mega-fight.
LEVEL OF OPPOSITION. Chavez comes in with an immaculate record of 46 wins with 32 via the short route. But his ledger can be deceiving as he took a step up on opposition only the past few years, and even so the best names on his list, John Duddy, Andy Lee and Marco Antonio Rubio aren’t exactly top-tier caliber fighters.
He struggled with Matt Vanda in their first fight in 2008 and won a decisive but close decision in their rematch.
His best performances are his stoppage wins over Lee and Peter Manfredo in 2011.
Martinez (49-2, 28KOs) has been in there with better opposition. His first loss in 2000 came against a young Antonio Margarito.
He would then go undefeated for 28 fights in the next eight years and came under the radar in a highly controversial draw against Kermit Cintron as most pundits thought Martinez deserved the nod.
He has fought Paul Williams twice, losing the first one via Majority decision and redeeming himself big-time in a sensational knockout in the 2nd round in the rematch.
He also owns a victory over former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. The obvious advantages for the hale, vigorous Chavez are his youth and size. He can very well outmuscle and tire out Martinez especially if he can be effective with this body work against his older opponent.
However, he is rumored to be quite slovenly with his training regimen and this could be a factor in the late rounds against an extremely disciplined Martinez.
Martinez’ speed will no doubt bedevil the younger Chavez. He can very well move in and out of harm’s way and use angles to keep Chavez turning. Plus, world championship experience is on his side
SKILLS AND STYLE. Chavez is a pure brawler, coming forward behind an innocuous jab which he uses primarily as a range finder so he could walk down his opponents behind powerful hooks, crosses and body shots.
He relies on strength, and a rock solid chin to overwhelm his opponents and pound them into submission.
Martinez is a slick, counterpunching southpaw who likes to set traps and take advantage of his opponent’s mistakes.
He is a cunning, cerebral combatant who will engage when he feels he has the advantage and can adapt to any style his opponent brings.
MY TAKE. There seems to be a nagging suspicion that Martinez is slipping. Though he registered stoppage wins in his last two fights, he struggled before prevailing against middling opponents.
Ergo, the outcome will be determined by how much of this is mere prevarication. If Martinez is still as good as the “Maravilla” who knocked out Williams and brilliantly outfought Pavlik, then Jr. has a long night ahead of him.
But if at age 37 he is at the slippery end of the slope, then Chavez can very well outwork him and even score a stoppage.
I was initially inclined to pick Chavez, but I still think Martinez has one brilliant performance left in him and I’m rooting for him to edge this one via decision.
LAST ROUNDS. Are on three dear friends who recently celebrated their birthdays, Junjun Trinidad, Atty. Carrie De la Serna-Unchuan and Atty. Marie De la Serna-Teves . Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 16, 2012.