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If Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez throw punches as hard on the ring as they’ve done in their prefight press tour, their middleweight title fight on September 15th will be as explosive as has been advertized.
Bob Arum and Top rank report that all but 900 tickets have been sold for the event in Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBC Middleweight title and the fighters are committed to making the fight worth the fan’s time.
“It’s about giving people good fights, even and spectacular and that’s what I will do,” said Chavez Jr. in a conference call. “I’m confident that I’m going to win and show what I like as a boxer. I will give people a fight they will never forget.
The ‘true’ champion goes for the belt
For Martinez, lauded as the “true” champ by The Ring magazine and most critics, the fight is personal as he tries to take away a title from Chavez Jr. that he does not believe the Mexican deserves.
He has the title and doesn’t deserve it. Just because his last name is Chavez he is a champion and I can’t stand it,” said the Argentinean. “He has a mouth bigger than his brain. He thinks he’s champion when no one believes in him. I’m going to knock him out and hurt him.”
In light of many of the recent controversies surrounding the world of boxing (most notoriously Timothy Bradley’s win over Manny Pacquiao), the number three pound for pound boxer in the world is not going to let the decision go to the judges.
“There are no judges but my fists. This fight is not going to to go to points, I have to win by a knockout and I’m going to do it,” he added.
Chavez Jr., who has everything to win by facing one of the best fighters in the world, has the same kind of confidence, assuring a knockout as he faces the toughest opponent of his career.
“On September 15, I’m going to shut him up. He’s a talker and a clown,” said the Mexican.
The contrasts between the two fighters are obvious though the two share a common weakness: their lack of defense.
While Martinez has responded to the criticism with an unusual amount of bravado, claiming he has won 53 fights that way and is not going to change, Chavez Jr. has acknowledged that he had weaknesses he addressed.
“It has been a work coming for some time. We have been working without rest, day after day to prepare better. That has taken me to this level and I’m ready to give everything.
The Argentinean believes he has enough pedigree under his belt to defeat Chavez Jr. without question.
“It’s not about what he does wrong. It’s about what I do well. I am the number two in the world. It’s enough to say that I will knock him out,” he assured.
Chavez ready to shake off the criticism
Another issue at hand that has generated bitterness in Martinez is the background of the two fighters. Martinez believes Chavez Jr. has been fed with a silver spoon due to his father’s reputation while Martinez had to work his way up from the slums in Argentina. For Chavez Jr., it’s a criticism that he has had to deal with for years.
“It doesn’t bother me. I am used to the criticism because I’m the son of who I am, but I am making history and showing that I’m as hungry as anyone,” said the WBC champion. “The tests and the facts speak for themselves for what I’ve accomplished and it has not been easy."
Despite wanting to distance himself from his father, Chavez Jr. has accepted his father’s help. Chavez Sr. has been very present in the current training camp and has helped both his son and legendary trainer Freddy Roach come up with a game plan for the fight against Martinez.
“My dad has been a great support for me and he consults me on things he sees,” explained the boxer. “He motivates me to stay focused. I ask him if I have any doubts. It’s great to have someone next to me that knows so much.”
Despite many believing that his strength and youth will be keys to his success, the boxer has stressed that improvements in his technique are a must in order to retain his title.
“We have been working on changing my strategy, we see his abilities,” he explained. “I am working to be able to counteract him. We are going to be smart as always.”
The Legendary support
While the “silver spoon” criticisms may be a harsh, its hard to deny that the help of the two legends has been fundamental. Martinez himself believes Roach is entirely responsible for Chavez Jr.’s improvements in the past year.
There is a clear game plan developed, they have studied film, prepared sparring partners that can meet up with Martinez’ style.
"In the gym he showed me moves that he sees with his experience that we'll work and I'm delivering that to his son and we're working on it. ” said Roach of getting support from Chavez Sr. during training camp.
Roach has studied some of Martinez’ past performances to work on forcing the the Argentinean to change his game plan.
"We watch tape and he has patterns that can be read. He's a complicated guy because of his speed and he has people who follow but we know how to cut the ring up. We learned a lot"
Chavez Jr. stressed that he will show something to his fans, and critics alike, they have never seen before. Asked to give specifics about what he means the Mexican concluded simply by saying “You will see on Septmeber 15. I will knock him out.”