Yesterday, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez had their weigh-in for tonight's fight. Sergio Martinez weighed in at 159 lbs, while Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. came in at an uncharacteristically low 158 lbs. Many wonder what implications this makes for their bout later on today.
HBO's series 24/7, which covered the build-up to this contest, showed a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. who skipped training sessions with beloved trainer Freddie Roach, and used unconventional training strategies to say the least. Chavez Jr. awoke at strange hours of the day, worked the mitts in the middle of his living room and staged a workout at a barbecue in east L.A. The series rarely showed Chavez Jr. in a boxing gym.
Some believe that this demonstrates Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s laziness, while others claim that this is clever editing done on HBO's part to instill drama leading up to the match. One thing is clear—Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. made weight despite his bizarre portrayal on 24/7.
HBO televised the weigh-in, and commentator Roy Jones Jr. was very intrigued by Chavez Jr.'s low weight. He suggested that this might mean that Chavez Jr. didn't take the fight as loosely as 24/7 demonstrated.
I'm not sure if I agree entirely with Roy Jones Jr.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. looked good at the weigh-in, and he suggested that he had an easier time making weight due to a new emphasis on his diet, while having the assistance of new conditioning methods.
What I am waiting in anticipation to see is how much Chavez Jr. will weigh at fight time. If he re-hydrates to his typical 20 lbs above weigh-in, then I'm afraid not much has changed.
Fighters who rely on drastic weight cuts often pay a price—a loss of stamina or strength. Large weight cuts put a lot of strain on the human body, and Chavez Jr. cannot afford this against Sergio Martinez.
The other thing to consider is if Chavez Jr. made weight so much easier than in the past because he lost muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat. Chavez Jr. is a hard puncher who likes to punish the body. If he lost some of his muscle mass, then he also lost some of his punching power. This is something else that he cannot afford.
Maybe Chavez Jr. did take this fight more seriously than HBO cameras suggest. Maybe he really is coming into this fight in the best shape of his life. For his sake, I hope he is.
However, I do not think the HBO cameras were that misleading.
I think that Chavez Jr. paid for his weight cut either with a loss of stamina or strength. If I'm right, then the Vegas odds makers are also right, and this will be a victorious night for Sergio Martinez.