By Anthony Springer Jr.
Photos: Mary Ann Owen
Boxing fans won’t have to wait until next July 4 for the fireworks to start. Rising star and undefeated fighter Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. (46-0-1) and Sergio Martinez (49-2-2) wasted no time on pre-fight pleasantries in anticipation of their September 15 showdown at Wednesday’s press conference in Las Vegas. Hell, even Chavez Sr. got into the act with some choice words for the man challenging his son for the WBC World Middleweight title.
Despite some criticism about Chavez’ skills, Martinez’ promoter, Lou DiBella openly and genuinely praised the surging fighter, calling him a tough test for his veteran client. “People said [Chavez] was a paper champion, but I’m afraid of him. This is not an easy fight even though I believe Sergio Martinez is one of the pound-for-pound best.
“Boxing needs the best against the best,” DiBella continued. This is what we need to revive the sport. This is a sport of kings. We need to make the best fights for the sport; we need to make the best fights for the fans.””
Martinez’ trainer, Pablo Sarmiento would not be so courteous when he had his moment at the podium.
“The best way to sell the advertising will be the bottom of [Chavez’] shoes because it will be the first thing the cameras focus on,” Sarmiento stated. “Jr. and Freddie Roach have a major problem.”
The legendary, hall of fame trainer refused to be baited and took the high road during his brief remarks. “I look forward to this fight. Sergio is a good fighter and a really nice guy. This is a big fight and the fans want to see it. It’s going to be a great fight, may the best man win.”
The white flag of positivity was thoroughly smacked down when the elder Chavez grabbed the mic, delivering some barbs in the Martinez camp’s direction.
“There’s been a lot of talk about this fight, especially from the Martinez group and also us,” Chavez said. “I promised Martinez that the fight was going to happen. He talked so much bullshit that I gave my word and I accomplished my word.
“Martinez has criticized my son, he has said a lot of things,” said Chavez, who was celebrating his 50th birthday. “But it will end September 15. He doesn’t fight for the people, he only fights for himself. For the Mexicans, we don’t like the way he fights. It’s a style that doesn’t give a show or go forward, but the style worked for him.”
Chavez through down the gauntlet better than most fighters of the current era, ending with a statement that clearly shows he can still sell a fight.
“I invite him on September 15, when they’re in the ring, let’s see who the chicken is,” he said, alluding to Martinez’ elusive fighting style. “Let’s see who’s going to be running all over the ring. I invite him on September 15, fight don’t run.”
How do you follow the verbal jabs of a highly respected pugilist? If you’re Martinez, you deliver a counter shot of your own.
“I hope he takes a picture today or tomorrow,” said Martinez, motioning toward the elder. “After the fight he will not recognize his own son or may need to have a DNA test. I plan to really beat you up Jr. I’m very motivated for this fight.”
Chavez Jr. toned down the rhetoric a bit when it was his turn, but left no doubts that he’ll emerge victorious—by knockout.
“I’m very excited. I’m going to prepare myself. Have no doubts, I’m going to beat Sergio Martinez on September 15.
“I don’t talk that much but on September 15, I’m going to speak inside the ring and knock him out.”