Tonight is the moment of truth for Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., 46-0-1, 32 KO’s, as he takes on one of the best in the game, Sergio Martinez, 49-2-2, 28 KO’s, with WBC middleweight gold on the line.
The majority of the press is picking Martinez by decision, using his mobility and timing to overcome the plodding body puncher, but there is some genuine concern over the attitude of Martinez coming into this fight. He is more boisterous and is coming into this one with a definite chip on his shoulder. This may be an indication that he is nervous about this first time on the big stage.
Chavez, JR., is as cocky and confident as his father was when he was at the top of the sport and with his recent winning streak over reasonable opposition, he has some momentum going into this. It’s just questionable if he can close the gap and get to the body of Martinez without taking great damage. In the Kelly Pavlik fight, Martinez battered the bigger man as he followed him around the ring. We may see that happen here.
The two men will meet in the ring tonight and the questions that many have about Chavez, JR., will be answered. He will either take his place alongside his father as a legitimate champion or he will be exposed as a product of creative matchmaking and marketing. Whatever the case, this is an incredibly interesting fight.
Tonight I expect Martinez to win by a stoppage because of his superior speed and timing, but I’m interested to see what sort of strategy he brings to the ring. He is certainly out of character with his recent commentary.