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Lou DiBella: “Best fight in the middleweight division...period!”

By Jason Gonzalez


After several years of back and forth bickering and hollering, the stage is finally set. On September 15, 2012, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, the world will find out who the best middleweight in the world is. WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez will lock horns in the main event on Mexican Independence Day. Not only are boxing fans in for a barnburner but there is the possibility that this could be 2012’s “Fight of the Year.” But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; instead let’s focus on what transpired in order to understand how we got to this point and time.
 
“Making deals in boxing isn’t nor should be rocket science,” said Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment and promoter of Martinez.
 
Martinez, of Quilmes, Argentina, now 49-2-2, (28) captured the linear championship on April 17, 2010 in Atlantic City, NJ. after decisively outpointing middleweight king Kelly Pavlik. Martinez went on to defend the WBC title once against Paul Willams, only to be stripped of the title four months later. Martinez was forced to relinquish the green strap due to failing to make his mandatory defense against Sebastian Zbik. HBO passed on the opportunity to televise the fight so in an attempt to stay busy, Martinez fought Serhiy Dzinziruk months later on the same network. With Zbik having a date to fight without an opponent, in came in Chavez and the two duked it out for the vacant WBC title in June of last year. So as we press the fast forward button, hopefully you are all caught up on the facts surrounding this terrific match-up, which prompted Martinez’s trainer, Pablo Sarmiento to utter, “Junior’s big mouth has gotten him into trouble and he will be forced to give Martinez back his title.”

Yesterday afternoon, Chavez and Martinez reached the third and final leg of their press conference tour. The Edison Hotel in “Gotham City” played host as the two pugilists traded verbal jabs at each other. It was evident that the two fighters simply had enough of each other.
 
“You are going to need a new I.D. after I get done with you,” said Martinez, now 37 years of age. “I am going to give you such a whupping that no one will be able to recognize you.”
 
Chavez, looking a little soft around the midsection, had no other choice but to smile. What else could he do? He was on the opposite side of dais from where Martinez was posted but it was obvious he was bothered by the comments. Chavez’s body language indicated it.
 
“Intriguing” would be an appropriate adjective accurately describing this fight, considering that just a couple of years ago, most of the pundits would have described it as a one-sided mismatch in favor of Martinez. However, as time went on, Chavez, a fighter with zero amateur background, has come into his own. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Chavez has proven the critics wrong, evolving into more than just a name. Speaking of names, Chavez Sr. was in attendance celebrating his 50th birthday. But besides blowing out candles and eating cake, Chavez Sr. came to the aid of his son. Besides yelling, “Bullsh*t!” at Martinez’s disses, Senior assessed Junior’s progress.
 
“Junior has been growing real fast,” the elder Chavez told Maxboxing. “At first, Junior was getting a lot of negative press but with time, he got the seasoning he needed and has grown professionally. Junior is where he needs to be and where he is supposed to be at this stage in his career. Thanks to his discipline and talent, Junior is focused on his craft.”
 
As fight night slowly but surely approaches, we would be remiss to not play fight analyst and break down this fight. There are a couple of interesting components surrounding this great match-up. First and foremost, Chavez’s size. Physically, Chavez is the bigger man. Therefore, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that on fight night, he could weigh anywhere near 180 pounds if not more. The second factor is Martinez’s age. At 37, Martinez is 11 years older than Chavez. Sure, we have seen much older fighters accomplish more but here’s the kicker: guys like Bernard Hopkins, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver do not rely on their “second wind” the way Martinez does. You have to figure that “Father Time” is always lurking. Fighters getting old overnight isn’t a new phenomenon.
 
You should expect the native of Culiacan, Mexico to cut off the ring and impose his size against the older and smaller Martinez (Martinez will probably weigh 165 pounds on fight night). Chavez’s game plan will probably involve forcing Martinez to expend a lot more energy than he is accustomed to in hopes that Martinez will be flat in the later rounds.
 
When questioned about the possibilities due to the cards that are dealt, Martinez vehemently disagreed.
 
“It’s obvious that I am at a disadvantage when it comes to size,” said the southpaw Martinez, who opened up as an 8-5 favorite, continuing, “Just because that’s the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will use up more energy. What it’s going to come down to is creating a better game plan than him, coming up with a better strategy than normal. I will attack the body but at the end of the day, my speed, toughness and hunger is what’s going to be the difference in which my hand will be raised in victory.”
 
There may have been a lot of trash talking between the two, as well as their camps, but when sitting with Chavez, it was plain to see that he has a lot of respect for his counterpart’s fight game. Of course, this was regardless of the fact he may have publicly referred to his opponent as a “ballerina,” when asked about Martinez.
 
“He isn’t your typical 37-year-old fighter,” replied Chavez, now 46-0-1, (32). “He is far from being an old. I am aware of the difficult task that lies ahead of me but I will be prepared physically and mentally. I am at a great place in my career. I have grown professionally. I can box and change it up if I have to. Plus, this is the first time in my career that I am an underdog. It’s a great feeling; it’s really serving as a huge motivator for me.”
 
When the smoke clears and the dust settles, this contest will be won by the fighter who can make the proper technical adjustments necessary. If you’re the type of fan who bases an opinion on past history, then this intangible clearly favors Martinez.
 
“Martinez stinks!” shouted Chavez Sr. “Martinez runs and drops his hands. Martinez also talks a lot of sh*t. He will eat it on September 15.”
 
The party has started. Let the fun begin.
 
Press Conference Tidbits…
 
-  There will be a “24/7” series courtesy of HBO following both fighters leading up to the actual fight.
 
-  A new episode of “Face Off with Max Kellerman” featuring both fighters was filmed yesterday in New York City.
 
-  Martinez’s advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz, announced he is expecting his first grandchild.
 
-  Martinez is speaking English now and has grasped the language quickly.
 
-  Martinez is doing a lot of philanthropic and charity work for organizations denouncing bullying and domestic violence. Monique McClain, once a victim of bullying, attended the press conference and has forged a friendship with Martinez like no other, becoming an amateur boxer herself.
 
-  Chavez’s manager, Fernando Beltran, called Martinez a “f**king clown.” This prompted Lewkowicz to get up out of his seat, resulting in a mini confrontation.
 
-  Cerveza Tecate is offering a $25 rebate for the pay-per-view if you purchase a 10-pack of beer.
 
-  Last but not least, author and writer Thomas Hauser was in attendance. Maxboxing caught up with him to get his take on the Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao debacle (in which he was present) as well as his thoughts on upcoming fights.
 
“The night of the fight, I scored the fight 6-5-1 in favor of Bradley. Now after reviewing the tape twice, I scored the fight 7-5 Pacquiao. Unlike many people in boxing, I admit when I am wrong. The reaction of the boxing community has been unfair to Tim. What’s ironic of it all is that it’s one of those rare instances where the decision went against the house fighter.”
 
As for Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson?
 
“I am not going to attend the fight. However, it is a very intriguing fight. I think the deck has been stacked in Ward’s favor considering that he is fighting in Oakland and that Chad is being forced to go down to 168.”
 
Questions and comments can be sent to “J-Gon” at bklynqueenzmpire@aol.com.
 



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