For Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and his team, Saturday's fight with WBC middleweight titlist Sebastian Zbik was eight years and 43 fights in the making.
First was the three-pronged process of acquiring professional seasoning, building his record and establishing his brand. The result was a glittering 42-0-1 (30 KO) mark, strikingly similar to the 43-0 (37 KO) record his father carried into his first major title fight against Mario Martinez in 1984.
Then there was the deft political maneuvering that removed lineal champion Sergio Martinez from the equation. Martinez, who beat Kelly Pavlik to win the WBC and WBO belts, was stripped and "elevated" to "super" champion and "diamond belt" king while Zbik -- the "interim" beltholder -- was given the "full" WBC strap and the "privilege" of meeting Chavez. The site was the final stroke: Instead of the champion defending before his home fans in Germany, he'll meet Chavez before a heavily Hispanic audience at the Staples Center. Chavez is a 9-5 favorite.
Will Chavez seize upon this nicely stacked deck or will Zbik overcome the kind of long odds a champion seldom has to face? Their respective CompuBox histories provide strategic options and since Zbik is the champion his blueprint will be presented first: