Boxing Glove Notes: Maravilla "The Conqueror"

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As he had predicted all along throughout every Press Conference, “24/7” and “Face-Off”, the 2 H.B.O. pre-fight series, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, 49-2-2, 28 knockouts, kept his promise to regain his W.B.C. Middleweight Crown by severely punishing young and over-matched Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. 46-0-1, 32 knockouts, for 11 punishing rounds, erasing all doubts and establishing the fact that he Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez is indeed the pound for pound best middleweight in the world with no challenges. Suddenly, in the 12th round when everything seemed lost the gutsy “never say die”, Chavez, unleashed a ferocious barrage of punches knocking Martinez down and almost out, and nearly pulling victory from the jaws of defeat to the delight of his screaming, desperate fans.

The fight from the very first round was a bullfight with the “Matador”, Martinez hitting the “Bull” Chavez, repeatedly and, at will with no response turning Chavez’ face into a bloody mask with cuts on his lips, left eye, and nose. Chavez’ trainer Freddie Roached admitted that he considered stopping the fight, but, as Chavez courageously continued to move forward throwing punches sometimes connecting but mostly missing, he began to see that round after round Martinez was actually tiring.  He saw the stronger and fresher fighter was Chavez.
It was a little too late but revived the hope that the State wide Athletic Commissions would re-instate the 15 round distance at least in mega championship fights like tonight, and hopefully it would also include the rule of obligating fighters to weigh in on the day of the fight because although Chavez weighed 158 pounds at the official weigh-in the day before, fight night he had the body of a heavyweight explaining perhaps why he was so lethargic and slow, not fighting tall as he said he would and barely using his jab until the 12th round although Martinez is naturally faster.
No doubt Chavez, would’ve knocked out Martinez in the 13th round if it existed, because Martinez was out on his feet in the 12th round, holding on for life. If we are to believe in “deja-vu”, this 12th round was reminiscent of when Chavez, Sr. many years ago was losing to Meldrick Taylor with 8 seconds remaining in the 12th and final round when Chavez, Sr. unleashed a vicious barrage of punches knocking out Taylor, and retaining his world title.
On Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Arena, Las Vegas was indeed a “night of redemption”, for Martinez who although a 2-1 favorite, had the odds stacked against him fighting the son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr.- Chavez, Jr. who is a vicious come at you body punching ring warrior, and had the sell-out crowd of 19,180 mostly Mexicans solidly cheering for him. Another concern of Martinez and his promoter Lou DiBella was that in these days of questionable fight decisions, if the fight was very close the decision could’ve favored the “house fighter”Julio Cesar Chavez,Jr., but for at least 11 rounds Martinez erased all fears of a “home-town” decision. It was obvious that Chavez needed a knockout to win this lop-sided fight in the 12th, round as Roach desperately told him and he almost scored the knockout, but almost is not enough. One thing is certain, and that is that Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. is still a boxing hero in Mexico because of that one round proving that the apple did not fall too far from tree. In fact, I firmly believe that the apple is still connected to the tree.
Martinez did all of what he had predicted that he would do to Chavez, Jr., out-box him, punish him, and confuse him, while spinning his way out of Chavez, Jr.’s attacks.  Martinez managed to tire Chavez out, take him into“deep waters”, and reverse the “David and Goliath” syndrome. “Maravilla”Martinez was indeed the “Marvelous One”, if only for 11 rounds when suddenly, in the 12th round, David battered Goliath.
Evidently there was a demand for a re-match by Chavez, Jr. and Martinez graciously said he would honor that request while at the same time stated that the result would be the same, but with a knockout. Chavez, Jr. stated that, “I now know how to fight Martinez, and the next time I will knock him out.  I just could not get untracked this time because of his speed.”
Would this defeat or humbling experience make Chavez, Jr., a better fighter? It remains to be seen after he goes home to “lick” his wounds as he reviews the tape of this classic fight. This fight indeed although one-sided and disappointing, especially to the Mexican fans in this celebration of Mexican Independence, was exciting because of the gutsy performance of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. who never gave up and almost gave them a victory, and more to celebrate.

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