Sergio Martinez 'Mayweather-Esque,' Survives Chavez: What This Means for Boxing

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Sergio Martinez 'Mayweather-Esque,' Survives Chavez: What This Means for Boxing
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
Sergio Martinez is once again middleweight champion, but it wasn't easy.

Sergio Martinez said he was going to punish and beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas on Saturday night. And that's exactly what he did.

But boy did it get dicey at the finish.

Martinez defeated Chavez Jr. by unanimous decision, successfully defending The Ring Magazine Middleweight Championship and reclaiming the WBC title, which he never lost in the ring.

Coming into the fight most pundits felt, correctly, that Martinez would just have too much for Chavez Jr. at this stage.

And in the ring this proved correct, as Martinez didn't just beat Chavez; he out-punched him, out-boxed him and out-classed him—in every facet of the game. In virtually every minute of every round.

Except the 12th when Chavez Jr. nearly channeled his legendary father's stunning last-minute knockout of Meldrick Taylor. A huge left hook rocked Martinez who looked nearly out on his feet as he fell to the mat.

But Martinez survived the knockdown and made it to the final bell and secured a stunning unanimous decision. For Martinez it was 11-and-a-half rounds of boxing clinic, followed by a minute and a half of sheer terror.

Martinez beat Chavez to the punch all night. His speed and skill were too much for an undefeated fighter who was taking a step up to a class that was too much for him to chew.

While the dust has yet to settle on tonight's events, it's never too early to discuss what this means for boxing and the fighters going forward.

 

With the victory, Sergio Martinez has reestablished his dominance at the top of the middleweight division. More importantly it showed that Martinez, having come off two lackluster victories against little-known opposition, is not done as a top-echelon fighter.

With this victory, he firmly establishes himself as one of the three best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.

At 37 years old, and coming off the most satisfying win of his career, Martinez will only be looking at big fights from here on out. Luckily for boxing fans, there are a glut of those available at junior middleweight, middleweight and super middleweight.

And of course, let's not rule out a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Especially in light of how the fight ended. People are left to wonder what would have happened if Chavez started earlier, or had another round.

The biggest name on the block, as always, is reigning pound -or-pound king and WBC Junior Middleweight Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. While Mayweather is unlikely to jump to middleweight, Martinez has stated he would drop down to 154 pounds.

 

With two guys only looking for huge fights, this is a logical choice and would be a huge draw at the gate and on pay-per-view. 

Even without Mayweather, and with one Mexican warrior's zero on his ledger, wouldn't a fight with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez be intriguing? Unlike Chavez, Canelo has far fewer questions coming into a possible fight with the middleweight champion.

He is a young, strong, boxer-puncher who is one of boxing's brightest stars. He has the type of style that would challenge Martinez and is sure to create fireworks. 

A dark horse from 154 pounds could also be Miguel Cotto, who will seek to regain a piece of the world title at that weight when he faces WBA champion Austin Trout in December.

Martinez could also elect to jump north to 168 pounds and seek a fight with dominant WBC/WBA champion Andre Ward. Ward, like Alvarez, jumped to the top of the line of promising young champions with his dominant knockout of Chad Dawson last Saturday night.

 

For Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., it's back to the drawing board. For his detractors, tonight's outcome is proof-positive that he is indeed a creation of smoke and mirrors and careful management.

Chavez Jr. spent entire rounds, seemingly content to allow Martinez to stay outside and counter punch, without mounting any offense of his own. When he did let his hands go it was single punches that were immediately countered by sharp, hard combinations from Martinez.

It was a shockingly grave mismatch. Possibly one of the biggest blowouts in the history of middleweight championship fights, especially given the pre-fight hype.

Until Chavez Jr. landed that near-miracle punch in the 12th round. And boxing history nearly changed. But unfortunately for Julio, he made his mark too late in the fight.

It's hard to say where Chavez Jr. goes from here. There's no shame in being defeated by Sergio Martinez. The man is a force of nature. 

If nothing else, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. proved tonight he has the heart of a champion. To survive what was up to that point one of the gravest mismatches in boxing history, and nearly pull it off, speaks volumes for a young fighter. 

One thing is for certain: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will be back.

As for Sergio Martinez, who looked for 11-and-a-half rounds like the second coming of Ray Robinson, the future has never been brighter.

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