On Mexican Independence Day, Martinez and Chavez Jr. gave fans a memorable performance in one of the biggest middleweight fights since boxing legend Bernard Hopkins' graced the ring as a middleweight.
And as expected, all the animosity leading up to the bout continued right into the first round.
In the opening stanza, Martinez was clearly the busier fighter, utilizing his jab and quick feet. Sergio Martinez's speed, reflexes and footwork was unlike anything Chavez Jr. has ever seen before as the young Mexican appeared confused and tentative from the onset.
Although unable to make the proper adjustments to keep Martinez from giving him a boxing lesson, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was able to get inside and work the body of Martinez during the middle rounds - But every time he pitted the Argentinean against the ropes, Martinez fought back even harder. Nevertheless, despite losing the middle rounds, Chavez caught Martinez and initiated brutal exchanges but absorbed heavy shots in return from Argentinean 'Maravilla.'
Despite Chavez's efforts, the older, more experienced fighter was simply too busy, too fast, too skilled and too sharp for Julio last night.
By the end of Round 10, desperation set in on Team Chavez as trainer Freddie Roach implored the WBC Middleweight Champion to let his hands go, insisting he needed a knockout to win.
Chavez stepped up his pressure and activity rate in Round 11 as he closed the distance and began to land more frequently on his tiring foe. But a defiant Sergio Martinez, despite getting tagged by some hard shots, fought back brilliantly, arguably carrying the round.
And then came the 12th and final round which may be remembered as one of the most celebrated rounds in the history of the sport.
A desperate and bloody Julio Cesar Chavez Jr looked to spoil Martinez's victory party, rocking the Argentinean with a left hook from long range before getting inside to land his signature bombs from short range. Upon Chavez's onslaught, an exhausted Sergio Martinez crumpled to the canvas. But somehow, a hurt Martinez would beat the count and manage to survive a full 90 seconds to finish the fight on his feet and earn a unanimous decision victory in one of the biggest fights of the year.
Did Chavez Jr.'s last minute heroics earn him a rematch? And had Julio Cesar Chavez Jr let his hands go earlier would the result have been different?
Las night, Sergio Martinez showed us why he is the lineal middleweight champion and one best fighters in the world pound for pound. With the win, Martinez has undoubtedly enhanced his legacy and solidified himself as one of the best middleweights in recent memory.
Sergio Martinez vs Floyd Mayweather or Andre Ward?
In the HBO interview Faceoff, Martinez said he'd be nipping at the heels of Floyd Mayweather Jr after defeating Chavez. Is Mayweather vs Martinez in the cards for 2013?
And should he decide to move up in weight, a megafight with lineal super middleweight champion Andre Ward may prove to be enticing and lucrative.
Regardless of what happens next, Sergio Martinez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was boxing at its best and a fight boxing needed. A rematch between these two warriors would be icing on the cake.