WBC champ Julio Cesar Chavez is in for one of the toughest tests of his career when he defends his title against seasoned-vet Sergio Martinez at the sold-out Thomas and Mack arena today.
The 26-year-old Chavez Jr, who is the son of one of the greatest boxer’s in Mexican history by the same name, will be making his fourth defense of the WBC middleweight crown that at one time belonged to Argentina’s Martinez.
Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs) vowed on Wednesday to not only knock out Martinez, but said he would end the 37-year-old’s career.
Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) shot back he plans to take his time cutting down the young champion before seizing his belt back.
“This one will be painful for you,” Martinez told Chavez at a news conference. “You will suffer a lot before I knock you out.”
The Argentinian also feels disrespected because Chavez (US$3 million) will make more than twice as much as Martinez (US$1.4 million), who grew up in the slums of Buenos Aires.
Martinez is a 2 to 1 favorite to beat the bigger Chavez when they step into the ring at the 19,000-seat stadium.
“It is easy to talk when he is not in front of me,” Martinez said of Chavez. “It is very easy to be so violent and say things about me when I was not in front of him. Look at his eyes when he is in front of me. You see the fear.”
Martinez said Chavez is profiting off his famous father’s reputation.
“Chavez will get more money, but more of a beating, too,” Martinez said. “He is the champion and I am the challenger, whether he deserves to be or not. He has a good body shot but a lot of bad [habits], so I hope somebody will feel sorry for him and stop the fight. Maybe the referee, the doctor. Maybe his own father.”
“I’ve never seen Sergio like this. If Sergio’s emotions don’t get in the way, it could get real ugly for Chavez,” Martinez promoter Lou DiBella said
Chavez Jr said he has carved his own path in the boxing world and his title reign is far from over.
“I cannot help that people say that stuff about me,” Chavez said. “I am the son and that is who I am. He is my dad, but little by little I have proven myself. I have proven it in the ring.”
Also in Las Vegas, WBC super welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will defend his title against gritty opponent Josesito Lopez in a 12-round title fight today at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
The 22-year-old undefeated Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) will be making his fifth title defense and is heavily favored to beat Lopez, who is fighting for a title for the first time.
Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) is moving up in weight class to 154 pounds (70 kilograms) after upsetting Victor Ortiz for a 147-pound title on June 23, but few expect him to win the fight against Alvarez.
“I know I am going against one of the best out there,” Lopez said.