Sergio Martinez to Chavez Jr: "It's Better to Die on Your Feet Than Live on Your Knees"
Sergio Martinez maintains Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will never fight him. The Ring Magazine champion senses fear in the young Mexican, alleging Chavez Jr is scared to meet him in the ring and can't bear to be in his presence outside it.
The saga that has unfolded between Martinez and Chavez Jr is seemingly about to come to a crossroads. If Sergio Martinez defeats Matthew Macklin on March 17th, the WBC Middleweight titlist and his promoter, Bob Arum, have a decision to make.
Will Julio Cesar Chavez Jr fight Sergio Martinez or relinquish his WBC belt?
In January 2011, the WBC granted Sergio Martinez 'emeritus' status. A fighter is granted emeritus status after he, in good standing, has vacated his title as champion and has been given the right to an immediate title shot by the WBC should he decide to attempt to regain his title. But despite Martinez's status as emeritus champion, young Chavez Jr was allowed to defend his title twice against opponents who were not Sergio Martinez.
On January 5th, WBC president Jose Sulaiman, again, made Sergio Martinez the mandatory challenger for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. His order was contingent upon both men winning their upcoming bouts. And last week, Chavez defeated Marco Antonio Rubio. Now, Martinez must do his part by winning against a very tough Matthew Macklin on March 17th .
Also, according to the WBC's stipulation, negotiations between Martinez and Chavez Jr must begin on March 18th, the day after Martinez's fight with Macklin. Sulaiman has also stated publicly he will not allow Julio Cesar Chavez Jr to immediately defend his WBC title against anyone else, including Antonio Margarito and Andy Lee.
"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
Sergio Martinez's promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, believes Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is disgracing his homeland of Mexico and the Mexican champions who preceeded him by holding a major world title and calling himself a champion but refusing to fight the man who is arguably the best fighter in the middleweight division, Sergio Martinez.
"What Bob Arum (Chavez's promoter) does not understand is that the Mexicans fight with the spirit of the Mexican revolution," Lewkowicz asserted. "Emiliano Zapata was a leader for the Mexican people in their struggle to free themselves from the Spaniards. He had a famous saying 'It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.' That same spirit is what we see in Mexican fighters today. That's what we saw in his father."
Lewkowicz believes that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr might possess that same spirit of courage and bravado and blames his promoter, Bob Arum, for not allowing Chavez Jr fight Martinez because Arum allegedly lacks confidence in his fighter. As a result of Chavez's alleged ducking of Martinez, Lewkowicz believes the 25 year old Mexican is losing credibility in the eyes of his own people.
"I would recommend he take this fight with Sergio Martinez. If he doesn't, he will continue to fight under the shadow of Sergio Martinez." Lewkowicz said.
Lewkowicz thinks Team Chavez will, once again, attempt to defy the WBC by sidestepping Sergio Martinez without relinquishing the title - an action the WBC promised to veto going forward.
Unconfirmed sources told FightSaga that Chavez Jr, in a recent phone conversation with Jose Sulaiman, declared he had no fear of Sergio Martinez but, nonetheless, asked for a pardon to allow him to fight Antonio Margarito next, instead. If the conversation took place, Sulaiman's response is not yet known - However, the WBC chief has already emphatically stated that Chavez Jr must immediately defend his title against Sergio Martinez (should he defeat Macklin) or relinquish his title to the 36 year old Argentinian who will turn 37 next week.
Lewkowicz told FightSaga that Chavez would gain more adoration and respect in the boxing community by losing to Martinez with dignity than by running from him in shame. But Bob Arum wants Chavez to have a few more fights before stepping into the ring with Martinez and, in a recent interview with MySanAntonio, he bluntly stated:
"We're not going to be irresponsible about this," he said, "just because some guys in the press wouldn't mind seeing Julio get (beat). But we're not in the business of seeing Julio get beat. He'll fight Martinez when he's ready to fight Martinez."
In response, Martinez's manager told FightSaga, "... He's (Julio Cesar Chavez Jr) the champion. When you're the champion, you fight the best."
When asked what Team Martinez would if do if Arum chose to make them wait, Lewkowicz responded, "That's fine. Just give up the belt and we can wait as long as you want."