Last summer, Chavez Jr was thought to be unproven, untested and unmotivated. However, the 25 year old son of a legend, once percieved to be the heavy underdog in what was a potential showdown against lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, is now almost on par with Argentinian in what has turned into a quality match-up.
When the Martinez vs Chavez Jr was announced, the Wynn sportsbook had opened the fight with Chavez a +150 underdog to Martinez as a -170 favorite. As of this morning, at Bovada the odds stand at Chavez +170, Martinez -210.
So a $220 USD bet on Martinez would earn $100 while a $100 USD bet on Chavez would garner $210.
Also Sportsbet has Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at +180 and Sergio Martinez - 220.
Since the buzz about a potential Chavez Jr vs Martinez match-up, Sergio Martinez has orchestrated two impressive knockout victories against tough Brits Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker. Both opponents gave Martinez a few problems early but Sergio, by the mid rounds, made the necessary adjustments, broke them down and eventually earned stoppages on both occasions.
So why, at least in the minds of some, is Chavez Jr vs Martinez a virtual pick 'em fight when, a year ago, the outcome was deemed a no-brainer? After all, Sergio Martinez looked pretty good in stopping two very tough guys.
Answer: Fans and insiders already knew what Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO) was capable of. The big 'question mark,' back then, was Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Chavez had an impressive record but hadn't fought a real thoroughbred.
However, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (46-0-1, 32 KO) has reeled off three impressive victories since winning the vacant WBC Middleweight Title via a close majority decision against the unheralded Sebastian Zbik last summer and has made believers of many.
Chavez Jr dispatched the busier, battle-tested Peter Manfredo in five last November, orchestrated a hard-fought but wide points win over the gritty Marco Antonio Rubio in February and, in June, defeated the fast rising, taller Andy Lee. And while critics will assert Manfredo and Rubio were not legitimate top 5 contenders, Andy Lee certainly was.
June's seventh round stoppage of Lee is Chavez's most impressive performance to date. Trained by legendary Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, "Irish" Andy Lee (then 28-1, 20 KOs) was a hard-punching, 6'2" southpaw and a solid top 5 middleweight who some thought was capable of exposing Chavez Jr.
It was a convincing win for the Mexican as Andy Lee was ranked higher than Martinez's two most recent opponents, Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker.
What we know now that we didn't a year ago is that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is strong, punches relatively hard and has a solid beard. Moreover, he can somehow manage to fight twelve hard rounds after re-hydrating 20 lbs overnight, is very confident in the ring and can be a bit of a big bully on the inside, using all of his 180 lbs to his advantage.
Sergio Martinez is the more experienced of the two fighters, is craftier and has faced better overall opposition so 'Maravilla' is rightfully the odds-on favorite. However, fans and insiders are discounting Chavez Jr a lot less today than was the case a year ago.