Chavez-Martinez: The Most Important Fight of 2012

Kitson Vincent / September 7, 2012 - 7:10pm

Over the last couple of weeks the boxing world has been on the edge of their seats as everyone gets ready for back to back weekends filled with super fights. The question surrounding what fight holds more significance in the sport of boxing has been debated to the point of exhaustion. Does Dawson vs Ward carry more importance than Chavez vs Martinez? The ranting and raving from uneducated boxing fans has my head in a tailspin. With the advent of Internet, unfortunately anyone can have a voice and opinion despite the fact they clearly understand very little. The Dawson vs Ward fight is great for the sport, especially because we rarely see two true champions in separate weight divisions meet. Not since boxings’ heyday, which has long passed by, have we seen this type of matchup. Could this set a precedent for more fights like these? We’ll have to see! However, in my opinion, the crowning of a “true” middleweight champion trumps the ladder.

Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. have been at it for months, as these two champions genuinely dislike each other. Their feud started some time ago when the World Boxing Council (WBC) stripped Martinez of his titles, and gave the belt to Chavez. Unfair? Of course it is, but who cares! This is boxing, a sport constantly mired in controversy. At any rate, Martinez was livid and started firing insults at the newly crowned champion, in hopes of finally drawing him into the ring. Funny thing though, for someone so upset with the WBC, Martinez did take the Diamond belt and paid sanctioning fees for his next three fights. Fishy? You make the call. Nevertheless, all the talking worked and the WBC finally made Martinez the No.1 contender.

Now, most people already believe that Martinez is the “true” champion of the division. And for good reason. He has not lost since his fight with Paul Williams in 2009, and has fought harder competition. However, Martinez has not looked exceptional in his last two performances. Although both fights ended by way of KO, his performance inside the ring was mediocre at best. Not to mention, the competition he faced was not exactly top tier. All that aside, Martinez is an impressive specimen, and seems to perform at a much higher level when facing top-level competitors. When he goes up against Chavez, he will be the smaller man inside the ring, and will be fighting for his title for the first time in two years. Factors that could raise his level of intensity and technical ability as he will be hungry to prove that he is indeed the “true” champion. But so will Chavez!

Being the son of the greatest Mexican fighter of all time can be tough. Constantly being compared to his father, Chavez has very big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, he hasn’t come close. His promoter Bob Arum and his father seem to be grooming the young champ at a pace most turtles would be comfortable with. Keeping him in with club level fighters for his first 35 fights, some might say daddy is coddling Jr. Every trainer knows that anytime a fighter steps in the ring, he should learn something, but that only works when the competition you are facing has something to show you. However, this is not my only problem with Chavez. Yes, his record is heavily padded, but there are bigger issues at hand.

In boxing size does matter, and in Chavez’s case he is huge for the middleweight division. In his prior two engagements, his weight skyrocketed from 160 pounds to over 180 pounds after the weigh-in. I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but most fighters that have that type of weight loss suffer severely come fight night. It’s not completely out of the question that some athletes have that ability, but seriously! 20 pounds overnight and no signs of fatigue or wear.

Now, Chavez has not been caught for doping, but when you don’t take drug tests it seems somewhat unlikely that you’d ever get caught. The WBC, which has obviously been very kind to Chavez, let him keep his title after defeating Marco Antonio Rubio, even though he never submitted a drug test. Again, this is boxing and crazier things have happened, but I’ll let you decide on this one.

Although Chavez does receive a lot of criticism for the aforementioned, he is not completely out of his league in this fight. He will bring a tremendous size and weight advantage, and does possess some of the great body punching skills his father was renowned for. He will be open for Martinez to counter, but his size and ability to take a punch could be the key factors going into the fight.

Despite all the controversy surrounding this fight, and the intense hatred both men hold for each other, this is a world class contest. Both men bring a lot to the ring, and have done an exceptional job selling the fight. Their intense rivalry should bring out the best in both men, and barring some unexpected travesty, fans will finally find out who is truly the best middleweight in the world.