by Kieran Mulvaney
As always, Saturday’s HBO PPV card will be called by Jim Lampley, who brings his expert analysis, honed from years of sitting ringside for big fights. We asked him to break down the main event between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
The Smaller Martinez Needs To Hurt the Bigger, Granite-Jawed Chavez
“At some point, if Martinez can land clean shots, he’s got to be able to at least get the sense he’s hurting Chavez at times, or he might get discouraged. I think Andy Lee got visibly discouraged when he was able to land pretty much what he wanted to land and it meant nothing. I have to assume, based on what Matthew Macklin says and other opponents have said, that Martinez has more pop than the other guys who’ve been hitting Chavez – and he’d better, because he’s going to have to make his punches count, or else he’s probably going to face the same fate as those other guys, in that you’re going into the late rounds against somebody you can’t move, can’t do anything with, and he’s walking to you with complete confidence, because he has what appears to be an impregnable chin.”
Chavez Jr. May Not Be Benefiting from the Presence of Chavez Sr.
“I think that the 24/7 experience was uncomfortable for Chavez Jr., because I don’t think he liked his father’s constant involvement and constant presence. I think he was happier and more self-possessed when his father was not around him every day. I think he wants to be seen as anything other than merely Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and it’s simply impossible for him to get away from it, because his father’s id is just too big, his father wants to be in front of the cameras, posing as the trainer from time to time.”
Both Men Are Going to Have to Dig Deeper Than They Have Before
“There’s a high level of unknown for both fighters, and that’s what makes it so fascinating for fans. We know what these guys can do against other people. This is the unique equation in the middleweight division. This is the division’s best, fastest, most fluid fighter against someone who is bigger and stronger than everyone else. And it’s one thing to be big and strong with a questionable chin; I’ve seen plenty of that. But when a guy is big and strong and appears to have a chin of complete granite, that’s a different kind of creature, and that’s something that Martinez has to be concerned about, despite his clear advantages in almost every other area.”
This Is a Much More Interesting Fight Than It Might Have Been 12 Months Ago
“When I closed the show in El Paso (when Chavez defeated Lee), I said – and it was surprising to me to be saying it – that I don’t now know who wins the fight. Up until that moment I was absolutely certain who would win, but after watching Chavez Jr. against Lee that night, I dispensed with that certainty, and I went to a different place, where I cannot say for sure who wins.”