by Kieran Mulvaney
LAS VEGAS – After eleven rounds of the WBC middleweight title fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez, one overwhelming thought came to mind:
“Hey, remember last year, when we thought that Martinez was way too skilled for Chavez? And then we changed our minds and decided that Chavez was good enough after all? We were right the first time.”
Going into the twelfth and final round, the only way Chavez could possibly stave off defeat was to do what his father had done 22 years previously – when, hopelessly behind on points, he had rallied in the final frame to drop and stop Meldrick Taylor with just two seconds on the clock.
But there was no reason to believe the younger Chavez would be able to do such a thing, no evidence that he possessed his famous father’s fighting spirit after all. For eleven rounds he had meekly and cluelessly followed Martinez around the ring, as the Argentine had rattled southpaw right jabs and straight left hands off his young face.
He wouldn’t be able to emulate his father. He didn’t have a miracle in him.
And then, suddenly, he nearly did.