While some are skeptical about the power of RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, few can argue the physical damage the 37-year-old southpaw has inflicted upon some of his most recent opponents.
Former undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, former two-time welterweight titleholder Paul Williams and top contender Matthew Macklin were all left with badly bleeding cuts on their faces, particularly around the eyes, following their fights with Argentine veteran.
Previously unbeaten Darren Barker suffered a peforated eardrum during an 11th-round stoppage loss to Martinez (49-2-2, 28 knockouts), and previously unbeaten Sergei Dzinziruk was dropped five times during an eighth-round knockout loss.
That is one of the things that makes Martinez’s next bout so intriguing against WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-0-1, 32 KOs), who looked unstoppable in Saturday night’s HBO-televised seventh-round knockout victory over southpaw challenger Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KOs).
“Chavez is a much younger, much bigger man. It’s a big challenge,” said Martinez’s promoter, Lou DiBella, who also promotes Lee, of Martinez-Chavez Jr., which is slated for HBO Pay Per View from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“Chavez is very strong, physically, and he inherited his father’s chin, he’s a huge middleweight. Much bigger than Martinez. They’re not even close. I was impressed, because he was losing, but you saw the strength differential, and that was the difference in the fight.”
Lee had 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 had avenged his loss to Vera following a 10-round unanimous decision in October, and was coming off a second-round stoppage of Saul Duran in March.
But Lee couldn’t stop the 26-year-old Chavez.
“My punches had no effect on him. I couldn’t hold him off. He was too big, too strong,” said Lee. “A lot of punches I threw in there could have hurt a lot of people but he just walked through them.”
Chavez has increasingly improved after six straight fights under trainer Freddie Roach.
During that time, Chavez has vanquished previously unbeaten Sebastian Zbik for his current title, scored a fifth-round knockout over Peter Manfredo Jr., dominated hard-hitting Marco Antonio Rubio for a unanimous decision.
“Sergio Martinez has talked a lot of smack, some real bad stuff about me,” said Chavez, adding “I’m going to knock him out and shut his mouth” during a post-fight interview. “Let’s see if he backs it up and comes to fight when we get into the ring.”
On the same night and in the same town that Top Rank and DiBella entertainment have scheduled Martinez-Chavez Jr. on HBO Pay Per View, Golden Boy Promotions’ has scheduled a potential bout between Chavez’s contryman, WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) and former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs), that is, if Ortiz gets beyond Saturday night’s clash with Josesito Lopez.
Alvarez-Ortiz is slated for Showtime Pay Per View from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Alvarez is coming off a unanimous decision over ex-titleholder Shane Mosley on an HBO Pay Per View undercard whose main event featured Floyd Mayweather Jr. dethroning Miguel Cotto as WBC junior middleweight titleholder by unanimous decision.
TRAINER KEVIN CUNNINGHAM: TIM BRADLEY’S BEING TREATED UNFAIRLY POST-MANNY PACQUIAO
Althought trainer Kevin Cunningham was correct in his belief that Tim Bradley would be an upset winner and dethrone Manny Pacquiao as WBO welterweight titleholder on June 9, Cunningham did not agree that with the result — a controversial split-decision victory for the former challenger.
“I was one of the first people to come out publicly and to say that I thought Tim Bradley would beat Pacquiao, but I thought that Pacquiao won the fight,” said Cunningham, trainer of former IBF and WBC junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander, who lost his WBC belt to Bradley following an 11th-round technical decision loss last January.
“I figured that Bradley would win because I thought that he would come in in tremendous shape like he always does, and fight hard like he always did.”
Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross each scored the fight for Bradley, 115-113, while Jerry Roth had it by the same score, but for Pacquiiao. HBO’s unofficial ringside scorer, Harold Lederman, who had it 119-109 for Pacquiao (or 11-rounds-to-one).
WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarce has announced that his organization will review the results of Bradley-Pacquiao. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley, has requested that Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto investigate the results of the bout.
Cunningham, meanwhile, believes that Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) deserves more praise and not the derision he appears to be receiving after ending a 15-bout winning streak that had included eight knockouts by Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), this, despite having suffered pulled ligaments in his left foot and strained ligaments in his right during the fight.
“Like I said, I thought Pacquiao clearly won the fight. But considering the fact that Tim twisted his ankle, you could tell that he wasn’t pushing off of that back foot too good after round two or round three. I really don’t like the way that it seems as though Tim Bradley is getting a lot of hatred toward him. I don’t think that’s fair,” said Cuningham.
“All that he did was get into the ring and fought his butt off. He didn’t sore the fight. Two judges gave him the fight. He had nothing to do with that. I think that it’s sad to see all of this hatred being directed toward him and that he’s receiving from the fans and the media, also. I just wanted to say that.”
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Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank