Chavez vs Martinez: Keys to Victory, PredictionWritten by Frank Zhong
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is a boxing crowned prince who has been driven by his father's name while Sergio Martinez has punched, shuffled, and showboated his way to the top of the middleweight division.
Chavez vs Martinez will be a fight for the ages and the fighter who implements his gameplan best will win.
The WBC Middleweight Champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., relies on forward pressure and body punching to wear down his opponents. Conversely, lineal champion Sergio Martinez relies on sharp punches, speed, movement, and fightiing at angles.
These men are very different in the way they fight. Therefore, it is expected that their keys to victory are also on different ends of the boxing spectrum.
Chavez vs Martinez: Keys to victory
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
1. Body punching: Like his father, Chavez Jr. is a strong body puncher with paralyzing hooks and uppercuts that force an opponent to retreat into a shell when and if Julio is able to find his range. He was largely successful in doing this against Marco Antonio Rubio, and even more successful against Andy Lee. And against Lee, Chavez was effectively used crisp, hard body punching to set up uppercuts and overhand rights to the head that eventually stopped the Irish boxer. Against the slick boxing Martinez, Jr. must get to the body early and often to break down the older man.
2. Size: As a middleweight, it is not unusual for Chavez Jr. to rehydrate up into the 180-185 lb range in the 36 hours or so between the weigh in and the time of the fight. Of course, this can be a great advantage to him if he is able to apply his weight during forward pressure. As a physical fighter, he may be able to wear down Martinez's legs by forcing Martinez to push against him in the phonebooth and against the ropes.
3. Pressure: The last time Martinez clearly lost, it was against a strong pressure fighter with a rock solid chin in Antonio Margarito. Chavez Jr. was all too happy to point this out to 'Maravilla' in their faceoff. The pressure not only has to be forward charging for Chavez Jr, it will have to be side to side. Cutting off the ring against a former cyclist and soccer player who relies heavily on his agility and foot movement would not only wear down Martinez physically, but will likely drain him mentally as well.
1. Down the pipe: Chavez Jr. stands strong with his hands by the sides of his head. Its a good basic boxing stance but he oftenleaves the middle of his body open. In his matchup with Lee, Chavez Jr. was actually being outpointed before he finished off his opponent with his superior power. Against Rubio, he took many shots from the veteran up the middle as the two exchanged against the ropes, but again was carried through by his superior power. Martinez is nothing like Chavez Jr's two previous opponents in that he has much greater handspeed, greater snap, and better straight punch combinations than either of them.
2. Turn him: Against a bigger man, Martinez cannot afford to allow his opponent to get set on his feet where he can really generate power from his hooks, uppercuts, and even jab. He will have to time Jr. to counter him every time Jr. opens up to punch, and then pivot away to either side to force Jr. to pursue him again and again. If Chavez Jr. is much heavier as many suspect he will be come fight night, this will be wearisome on him to have to chase Martinez around the ring.
3. Soften the body: Chavez Jr. enjoys taunting his opponents with his granite chin. Martinez cannot fall into the trap of being lured into an exchange and should focus on throwing his straight left to the body to soften up the Mexican as Martinez steps up the pace throughout the fight. The best way to do this is to shoot his punches towards Jr's ribcage and liver. He must be sure to guard his head as he slides out since Jr. will surely try to punch back, and Martinez has already suffered flash knockdowns because of poor balance or having his hands low, against Kelly Pavlik and Matthew Macklin.
Sergio Martinez Highlights
Prediction: Unless he has suddenly been caught by Father Time, Martinez should be able to use his feet and his rapid fire flurries to control this fight. From the looks of HBO's 24/7, Chavez is not having the camp he needs to have to be at his best and he will need to be at his best against the middleweight king to have any shot of winning.
Sergio Martinez will use his straight punches and right hook to swell Chavez's face by the middle rounds and stop him in Round 10.
Chavez vs Martinez start time will be 9 pm EDT and the bout will be broadcast live on HBO pay-per-view.
Frank Zhong has two years of collegiate boxing experience from UNC Chapel Hill, where he co-founded the National Collegiate Boxing Associatoin (NCBA) competing team for the Tar Heels. Ever since leaving official competition, he has continued to study and train in the sport. He enjoys reading biographies and history texts on boxing and breaking down techniques in film.
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