Former boxer Julio Cesar Chavez blesses his son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.,… (Danny Moloshok / Reuters )
The clamoring for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to accept the real challenge of Sergio Martinez heightened over the last two years.
It finally was answered in June when World Boxing Council middleweight champion Chavez Jr. (46-0-1, 32 knockouts) scored a seventh-round technical knockout victory over Andy Lee and days later struck a deal to fight Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) Sept. 15 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“Handling the southpaw stance of Andy Lee was the big thing for me to know it’s time to step up,” Chavez's trainer, Freddie Roach, said on a conference call Wednesday. “We know the biggest problem with Martinez is his southpaw stance.”
Assisting in the education was Chavez’s legendary father and former champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who has strengthened his bond with his son during the last few years and has remained by his son’s side during training in Las Vegas.
“He’s shown me moves, things he’s seen from southpaws, moves and footwork he feels will work,” Roach said. “They are very good moves, and very logical, of course.”
Martinez, 37, has been obviously irked by what he perceives as the coddling of Chavez Jr., 26.
“This is the kid who’s been handed everything to him on a silver platter versus the guy who’s had to work for everything he’s had … raised in the worst slums in Argentina,” Martinez promoter Lou DiBella said.
Martinez went further, saying Chavez Jr. “doesn’t deserve to be a world champion. The only reason he’s a world champion is because he’s the son of a legend.”
Yet, that father’s presence and advice may influence the outcome.
Chavez Jr. said his father’s counsel has been especially beneficial before this fight.
“It’s important to have someone to talk to who’s been through these important, big fights – to talk to someone like him about what to expect and what to do,” Chavez Jr. said.
Fight promoter Bob Arum said the middleweight title bout has only 900 tickets remaining, and has generated $2.9 million in ticket sales despite the competition of an opposing fight the same night in Las Vegas: the world super-welterweight fight between Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Riverside’s Josesito Lopez.
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