Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. can move firmly out of the shadow of his legendary father with a win Saturday night in a 12-round middleweight battle with Sergio Martinez.
You could actually make the case that Martinez (49-2-2, 28 knockouts) is as good a fighter as just about anyone the old man beat in his 115-bout career. He beat a lot of really good guys from the mid-1980s to late 1990s, but no more than a couple who possessed both the offensive and defensive attributes Martinez brings to bear.
The Chavezes are already in the mix when it comes to mentioning the best "overall" father-son combos in modern boxing history. That list includes Floyd Patterson and adopted son Tracey Harris Patterson, Leon and Cory Spinks, Wilfredo Vasquez Sr. and Jr., and Guty Espadas Sr. and Jr.
For their part, Roy Jones, Erik Morales and Floyd Mayweather are all headed to the Hall of Fame, but they far outpaced their journeymen fathers.
The prospect of Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs) taking on Martinez would have seemed preposterous 18 months ago, but the fight has become a more competitive prospect after the young gun posted wins over Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee. Meanwhile, the 37-year-old Martinez was forced into the late rounds before dispatching Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin.
It will be entertaining, no doubt, but I really think some boxing observers are talking themselves into just how competitive a fight will be. Lee and Rubio are solid but limited fighters, yet they're the cream of the kid's crop. He spent years padding his record, and there are those who believe he should have two losses to his ledger if not for the judges.
I just struggle to see how a quick-fisted and footed guy who uses angles with decent chin and good power (Martinez) loses to a guy with wanting defence and lack of one-punch power (three stoppages in last 10 bouts). It's great that Chavez Jr. is dogged and throws in combos, but that could mean more opportunities to be countered.
The Mexican has inherited his father's penchant for strong bodywork, but that alone doesn't figure to be enought to topple one of boxing's current best champions. Martinez has stopped his last three opponents after the eighth round, and stamina has always been a concern for Chavez.
Chavez is the current fighter who benefits from day-before weigh-ins, much like Arturo Gatti used to. Chavez rehydrates to a striking degree and usually enters the ring with a 10 to 15 pound weight advantage. Against a certain caliber of opponent that's a big factor, but I don't think it will mean anything appreciable against Martinez.
If you believe Chavez has a shot, the fight you're probably honing in on is Martinez's decision win over Kelly Pavlik. It was an extremely close fight until the Ohio fighter's face busted open. Pavlik is probably a harder hitter with individual shots, but Chavez has a more fluid offensive game.
Chavez will have the crowd on his side Saturday night, but the fact he's a 2.5 or 3 to 1 underdog tells you how people really feel about his chances.
Hardcore boxing fans will need to get creative on Saturday with their DVR's and internet habits if they want to see the several great fights on tap thanks to the idiots behind Top Rank and Golden Boy once again offering duelling cards.
Top Rank is putting on the aforementioned big fight at Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas with a solid undercard, while Golden Boy offers up Saul Alvarez, their next big crossover star (they hope) against Josesito Lopez in Los Angeles, with a corker of an undercard bout in Jhonny Gonzalez-Ponce De Leon.
The two sides would argue that they're each going to have double-digit crowds for their offerings, in addition to strong television audiences (the GBP card is on Showtime in the U.S., Superchannel here in Canada).
But once again boxing is shoehorning nearly all of its activity into the busiest social night of the week, in a time frame that ensures a lack of media coverage even if the Caucasian-dominated sports press didn't completely ignore the big fights in boxing that involve two Latin fighters.
Yes, Chad Dawson was previously defeated at his more natural light heavyweight division by Laval native Jean Pascal, but last weekend's Andre Ward victory was more definitive and impressive. Dawson, who'd stood up to the likes of Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver, had his will sapped after three Ward knockdowns.
I'm totally OK with seeing Manny Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez a fourth time. First, Floyd Mayweather is fresh out of prison and not an option. More importantly, if you have either Pacquiao or Marquez winning all three of their previous bouts, sorry, but you're biased. I had Pacquiao ekeing the first two and Marquez winning last year's encounter.
Finally, boxing heads will be waiting anxiously for the mainstream idiots who threw the word "fix" around in the wake of Pacquiao's controversial loss to Tim Bradley (The theory being that the bad decision was to set up a lucrative rematch). Waiting ... waiting.
If you can find an internet stream, on Saturday afternoon, Canadian cruiserweight Troy Ross gets another shot at a title after getting shafted two years ago against Steve Cunningham. It doesn't look promising for the 37-year-old Ross given that he's fighting German-based Cuban Yoan Hernandez in Bayern.
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