By Rudy Mondragón
In less than a week, the boxing world will finally get to see a fight that needs to happen. Both Chavez Jr and Martinez find themselves in great moments in their successful careers. Both fighters are hungry. One searching for boxing credibility and the other in search of the fame. The stage could not be any more perfect. Promoters have finally agreed to make this fight and weight negotiations are where they need to be. Neither fighter is fighting at a foreign weight class. Plain and simple, after September 15, there will be no excuses and we will finally get to see who’s the best at 160lbs.
Each fighter has strengths and limitations. Here is a breakdown of what I think each brings into the ring:
- Breaks opponents down with killer body shots. Jr will need to find a way to cut the ring and trap Martinez in tight spaces to get his body shots in and break him down. This will be key for a Jr stoppage.
- One of the strongest chins in boxing. Jr can take a punch or two to land one of his own. Rubio knocked him with his best punches, closed Jr’s eyes, but could not hurt the young champion. It will be interesting to see how Jr takes Martinez’s punches.
- Boxing influences. There is no doubt that having a father who is a hall of fame boxer has had a huge impact and influence on Jr. Having lived alongside his father’s boxing career and learning from his highs and lows has informed Jr’s development in the boxing game. Not to mention the impact that Roach has had on Julio’s recent development.
- Technical boxer. Martinez does a great job of drawing his opponents in and countering with destructive 1-2 combos. For a Martinez stoppage, he will need to put on a boxing clinic where he makes Chavez miss and breaks him down with counter punches.
- Quickness. I like to call Martinez the Cobra. His right handed stance, constant movement, quick right jab to set up his left and rights make it difficult for slower fighters to get off. This will be key to not let Chavez find his rhythm.
- Conditioning. Martinez is a workaholic and it pays off. His last fights have had a similar pattern. Start strong, save energy in the middle of the fight (while still being effective), and finishing the championship rounds strong. That explains his late round stoppages of Macklin and Barker.
Lets talk about each fighters limitations.
- Lazy? It has been said in the past and recently confirmed by Roach that Jr. can be lazy at times and not show up for training. No doubt Jr is hungry, but by being selective of when he trains throws off his trainer’s game plan and agenda. The possibility of missing out on key training sessions and lessons is raised in this case. These can be lessons you don’t want to miss out on, especially when you are still developing as a fighter.
- Can he make weight? Chavez has struggled to make weight. Nothing new in the boxing world, but he constantly pushes it and drops a great amount leading up to the weigh in and then puts on 10-20lbs the day of the fight. Although he is young and his body can respond, you can only keep that up for so long.
- Big Head. Chavez might be getting ahead of himself. I know he respects Martinez, but he constantly refers to Martinez as simply another fighter thats in his way as he continues on his journey. Is Jr getting ahead of himself? We will see.
- Footwork and balance. Martinez has gone down on multiple occasions (Williams, Pavlik, Macklin). Never hurt when down, but he has been caught with punches while off balance, causing him to fall. A Chavez knockdown of Martinez can be problematic for Sergio, especially if it goes to the cards.
- Smaller fighter. He is the smaller fighter and usually weighs in below the 160lbs limit before the fight (gains 5-8lbs the day of the fight).
- Can he take a Chavez punch? The last big puncher that Martinez faced was Pavlik and he was able to take most of his punches. Martinez will need to fight in similar fashion, otherwise the fans will get the answer to this question fast.
No prediction for this fight, just a breakdown. The winner will be the fighter who executes the appropriate strategy. It is definitely a great match up and way more competitive now versus 2 years ago.