Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1 32KO) almost repeated history Saturday night. Almost. With that in mind, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (50-2-2 28KO) put on a masterpiece for 11 rounds and showed the kind of will that makes a champion a champion by surviving a brutal last round knockdown and even fighting back against the bigger, younger Chavez Jr. in order to prove to the world that he is indeed the best middleweight (160 Ibs.) in the world today and a fighter who should be respected throughout boxing as one of the elite fighters today, pound-for-pound.
From the opening bell, it was clear that Martinez was simply too fast, too skilled, and too determined for Chavez Jr. to handle. Martinez fought a virtually perfect fight as he put on a boxing clinic against Chavez Jr. The tactic that Martinez used was to use constant movement to disrupt Chavez’ offense and to attack Chavez at awkward angles and then retreat through a different angle.
These methods completely bamboozled Chavez Jr. as he looked totally lost and confused for the majority of the fight. However, Chavez continued to apply pressure to Martinez, forcing Martinez to use his feet a lot more than he’s used to. The problem for Chavez is that he didn’t seriously start throwing punches until late in the fight. Even when he landed his nice hooks and right hands, Martinez took them well and returned fire to at least match what Chavez had landed.
Eventually, Martinez started breathing through his mouth. Although he was winning the fight and was largely unmarked, it became clear that the constant movement he was doing was taking a toll on him. He kept fighting back though, which shows the tremendous heart that he possess’. He continued to throw punches and attack Chavez whenever Chavez had a little success.
Then the 12th round happened. Martinez already looked exhausted but he fought on. Chavez finally realized the seriousness of his predicament and let his hands go. Chavez landed a left hook, followed by a series of blows and another left hook to put Martinez down. Martinez was clearly hurt but he decided to stand and trade blows with Chavez. The logical thing to do in that situation would have been to hold or dance away, but Martinez showed some guts as he survived by fighting back. The vicious exchanges are what made the 12th round even more dramatic.
When the final bell rang, the winner was clear yet the atmosphere was electric as everyone applauded both fighters. Martinez won a lopsided decision by scores of 117-111, 118-109, and 118-109. This victory has given Martinez some of the superstar status he feels he deserves and a chance at even bigger paydays. An option would be a rematch with Chavez Jr. to show that the 12th round was simply a fluke. It’s important to remember that Martinez fought the majority of the fight with a broken left hand. It has also been reported that Martinez has torn ligaments. This makes his win over Chavez that much more impressive.
Chavez had many advantages going for him in this fight. He was the younger guy, the bigger guy, and he can take a punch like no one else in the sport. However, none of those attributes mattered until the final round. Personally, I think the reason Martinez tired late in the fight was a combination of his own high energy-burning tactics that he used and because he couldn’t back off Chavez due to Chavez’ significant weight advantage. Although no official records of Chavez’ weight at the night of the fight exists, it is clear to anyone that Chavez had a major weight advantage over Martinez. The best possible option for Chavez would probably be a rematch with Martinez in order to prove to critics that he can work off the 12th round in order to beat Martinez. Until I actually see it happen, I’ll pick Martinez over Chavez Jr. any day. He’s proven time and time again he is a true champion. Chavez has proven that he’s a good, tough fighter with severe flaws and a probable lack of discipline. Who would you pick?