LAS VEGAS, Nevada – 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 on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Chavez Jr, who is the son of one of the greatest boxers in Mexican history by the same name, will be making his fourth defence 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 ($3 million) will make more than twice as much as Martinez ($1.4 million), who grew up in the slums of Buenos Aires.
Martinez is a 2-to-1 favourite to beat the bigger Chavez when they step into the ring at the 19,000-seat stadium.
“It’s easy to talk when he is not in front of me,” Martinez said of Chavez. “It’s 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’s the champion and I’m 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.”
Said Martinez promoter Lou DiBella, “I’ve never seen Sergio like this. If Sergio’s emotions don’t get in the way, it could get real ugly for Chavez.”
Chavez Jr said he has carved his own path in the boxing world and his title reign is far from over.
“I can’t 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. You have seen what I have done in the ring the past few fights. You can’t take that away from me, my victories and my championship. I have done a lot of things on my own. I have my own story now.”