Lem Satterfield

Does Chavez-Martinez loom?

WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. must defend his belt against former beltholder Sergio Martinez by the first quarter of 2012 or relinquish it, according to WBC Secretary General Mauricio Sulaiman.

The 25-year-old Chavez (43-0-1, 30 knockouts) suffered a hand injury last month that forced him to pull out of a defense against Ronald Hearns (26-2, 20 KOs) that was slated for Sept. 17, but still has a scheduled match up opposite Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) on Nov. 19.

Also last month, Martinez’s adviser, Sampson Lewkowicz, told RingTV.com that the 36-year-old Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) would pursue Chavez after facing Darren Barker (23-0, 14 KOs) on Oct. 1.

Assuming they both win their next fights, Lewkowicz said that the WBC officials had mandated Martinez-Chavez to take place  in early 2012, and Sulaiman confirmed that.

“That is what the order is of the WBC. Each one has a defense in October and then in November, and then the winners will have to fight each other. First, they have to each win, and then, they’ve each been notified that they have to face each other,” said Sulaiman.

“So, whenever that happens, they will have to fight in the first quarter of 2012. The order of the WBC is that they must fight each other next, unless Martinez agrees otherwise. Otherwise, the order is that they next fight.”

The situation, said Sulaiman, will further addressed during the WBC’s Dec. 11-17   convention in Las Vegas.

Martinez was named the 2010 Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, recognition for the fact that he dethroned Kelly Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) in April as WBO and WBC middleweight champ by unanimous decision, and then scored November’s second-round stoppage of southpaw three-time, two-division titleholder Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs).

The win over Williams avenged a majority decision loss during which both fighters were dropped in the first round in December of last year.

Martinez was declared the WBC’s emeritus champion for going ahead with a defense against WBO junior middleweight beltholder Sergei Dzinziruk (37-1, 23 KOs), whom he dropped once each in the fourth and fifth rounds and three times in the eighth and last for the knockout in March.

With Martinez essentially being stripped, Germany’s Sebastian Zbik (30-1, 10 KOs) was elevated to the status of champion and ordered to face Chavez, who dethroned him by majority decision in June.


Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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