Lem Satterfield

Chavez to face Lee in June, Martinez in the fall

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RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and WBC titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. have agreed on the financial split for a fall bout should Chavez win a June 16 defense against Andy Lee, according to the handlers of both fighters.

Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum, who promotes Chavez (45-0-1, 31 knockouts), and Sampson Lewkowicz, the advisor for Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), confirmed Friday’s announcment by the WBC.

The matchup will happen contingent on Chavez’s winning his mandatory defense against Lee (28-1, 20 KOs), who, like Martinez, is promoted by Lou DiBella.

“Chavez wants to fight Martinez next, and Martinez wants to fight Chavez. There still is stuff to be worked out, but the one thing that we have worked is the split. Lou and I have worked it out. I still have to work out my guarantee to Chavez, and Lou has to work out his guarantee to Martinez. But a lot of the work is done,” said Arum.

“So there won’t be any arguments over the splits or anything. That’s all been decided. I think that we would like to fight on Sept. 15, but a lot will depend, of course, assuming Chavez wins, on how he comes out of the fight and if he beats Andy Lee, and so forth.”

Should Chavez lose, Martinez already has signed an agreement to face Lee in accordance with a contract that was completed last month.

“I will definitely fight Lee,” said Martinez. “I just want to fight for the belt.”

Chavez successfully defended his title by unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio in February. Lee has won his past 13 fights, eight of them by knockout, since himself being stopped by Bryan Vera in the seventh round in March of 2008.

Lee avenged his loss to Vera following a 10-round unanimous decision in October, and is coming off a second-round stoppage of Saul Duran in March.

Martinez is coming off an 11th-round knockout of Matthew Macklin in March. The stoppage was the fourth straight in five consecutive victories by Martinez, who had scored an 11th-round knockout of London’s Darren Barker in October.

Martinez won the undisputed middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Kelly Pavlik in April of 2010 before scoring a second-round knockout of Paul Williams in November of that year in a rematch of their 2009 fight that Williams won by a controversial majority decision.

Martinez was then forced, however, to give up his WBC belt for fighting Sergei Dzinziruk in March on HBO, a bout Martinez won by an eighth-round KO.

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Sebastian Zbik  was elevated to the status of WBC beltholder, but was subsequently dethroned by Chavez Jr. via unanimous decision in June. Chavez is coming off a fifth-round stoppage of Peter Manfredo Jr last November.

Chavez-Lee matches two of the sport’s premiere trainers in Chavez’s five-time Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, and Lee’s Manny Steward.

Roach also handles WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Paquiao and former IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan.

Steward has guided the careers of Thomas Hearns and Lennox Lewis, and now THE RING heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, owner of the IBF, WBC and WBO belts.

“I don’t care who the titleholder is,” said Martinez. “I don’t care who holds the title, I just want my title back.”

 

Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

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

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