Lem Satterfield

Chavez Jr. sets course toward Martinez


Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum told RingTV.com on Wednesday that he would like WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to make a defense of his belt in June, with an eye toward facing RING champion Sergio Martinez in September.

Chavez (45-0-1, 31 knockouts) successfully defended his title by unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4, after which Chavez’s manager, Billy Keane, initially told RingTV.com that he did not anticipate the 26-year-old son of the Mexican champion by the same name to return to the ring until September.

Keane had also listed potential rivals to be Vanes Martirosyan, Andy Lee and James Kirkland, although Chavez’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said he favored either Martinez or an  all-Mexican clash opposite unbeaten WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

Arum said Chavez is in negotiations with co-promoter Fernando Beltran to face either Martirosyan or Lee, the latter of whom, like Martinez, is promoted by Lou DiBella.

“He’s got to fight a fight in June, first. It will either be Vanes or Andy Lee. And then, he’ll fight Martinenz,” said Arum. “We believe that he’s quite prepared, and Fernando is meeting with him this week.”

On Wednesday, Keane had narrowed his preferance even further.

“We want one fight to happen before Sergio, and that was supposed to happen in June. Vanes is our No. 1, and HBO’s No. 1. Hopefully, we can come to terms, unless he’s really unreasonable with money,” said Keane.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll have a deal in June, but as it stands now, Top Rank might be looking to sit him until September. But I’m optimistic that he’ll be fighting in June. If not in June, he’ll fight Vanes or somebody like that in September, and then, hopefully Sergio Martinez after that, maybe in November.”

DiBella, meanwhile, said he has not spoken in detail with Top Rank or Beltran.

“I have heard nothing from Arum about Martinez, and I have heard nothing from Arum about Lee. I have heard nothing from Top Rank, and I’m waiting to hear from them. That’s the status,” said DiBella.


Photo by Naoki Fukuda

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

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