The buildup to the much-anticipated middleweight bout between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has been heated, to say the least. Martinez has been the more vocal in the trash-talking battle, and the veteran will also emerge victorious in the fight on Saturday night.
With plenty of experience on the big stage, the 37-year-old held the WBO, WBC and The Ring middleweight title belts all at once after a 2010 unanimous-decision victory over American fighter Kelly Pavlik.
That victory sparked him to winning the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year Award, as well.
Martinez has asserted that Chavez has been coddled as the son of a boxing legend and that the so-called development of his counterpart has been to protect him and hide the fact that he's overrated.
Even Pablo Sarmiento, Martinez's trainer, has gotten in on the verbal war and may have taken the best shot at Chavez outside of the ring (via Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times):
Sarmiento, called Chavez a "chicken," adding his slightly favored, 37-year-old fighter will "pull the head off" his opponent.
In a report by ESPN.com's Dan Raphael, Chavez brushed aside the criticisms from Martinez's camp, citing the insecurity his opponent is feeling:
He doesn't give me any respect...If I don't deserve to be here, why is he training so hard to beat me? He's very jealous of my stature in boxing.
This past week has been soundbite heaven for promoters and fans alike, but the substance of Martinez's condescension toward his counterpart seems to hold more water.
Perhaps the Argentine and his trainer have a point to their banter, because Martinez's record of 49-2-2 has come against better competition than the younger Chavez has faced. The younger Mexican fighter currently holds the WBC middleweight belt, though, which along with his title from The Ring will be at stake in this fight at the Thomas & Mack Center.
For Chavez, his return to Las Vegas will mark nearly three years from the time his controversial fight against Troy Rowland was dismissed as a no contest, due to Chavez's use of an illegal substance.
In the 48 fights of Chavez's undefeated career, his only fight against a southpaw boxer was his most recent bout with Andy Lee, which caters more to the thesis that his schedule has been tailored—and perhaps lightened—to cover his shortcomings.
Martinez seems more hellbent on pummeling Chavez. His unorthodox style should provide him with enough of an edge to make Chavez uncomfortable, and both the quality and quantity of fights he's been involved in will translate to a 10th-round knockout.