This Saturday night, live from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., Lineal middleweight champ Sergio Martinez will take on WBC belt-holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. It's a matchup between two styles that should mesh very well with one another, and it could create fireworks.
So, here's a breakdown of each fighter, what to expect when they square off and a final prediction as to who's going to win.
We'll start with Chavez. Chavez is currently 46-0-1 with 32 knockouts. Chavez has improved mightily in the recent years under the tutelage of Freddie Roach; in years past, he was cast aside by most as nothing more than a sideshow act who only got fights due to his dad's name.
But Chavez now appears to be a legitimate threat in the middleweight division. He's very tall at 6'1", and finally appears to be learning to use that to his advantage. But his bread and butter is employing his size. He routinely enters the ring at 180 pounds or higher, which is some 20 pounds above where he'll weigh in.
It's very hard to deal with a guy that's essentially fighting three divisions above the middleweight limit. Chavez will need to use his superior size and strength if he wants to have a chance to win this fight. He needs to constantly apply pressure and bully Martinez to the ropes.
If Chavez can force Martinez to fight with his back to the ropes, he'll have a great chance to pull the upset. But if Martinez is allowed to use his speed in the center of the ring, it's going to be a long night for the Mexican star.
Who wins on Saturday?
In Sergio Martinez, you have a fighter that's as unique as it gets. He started boxing at 20 years old and has reeled off a record of 49-2-2 with 28 knockouts. He keeps his hands down and allows his opponents to swing away at him, only to use his superior reflexes to counter effectively and punish them with power shots.
Martinez will want to keep this fight in the center of the ring and, as previously stated, he can't let his back touch the ropes. This fight is very simple for Martinez. He needs to box, box, box, and he'll have an easy night and will beat Chavez up. If he can't do that, it'll get interesting very quickly.
This fight reminds me of Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito. One guy has a big size, strength and height advantage, with the smaller man being quick on his feet and fast with his hands.
I see this fight playing out in a similar way, with it being competitive early. Chavez should get off to a good start since Martinez has started slowly recently, but around the fifth round, look for Martinez to begin to take control and dictate the pace of the fight.
This should wind up being a great action fight, but I think Martinez stops Chavez around the 10th round, likely by a corner stoppage since it's unlikely Chavez's chin and heart will let him quit.
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