When he meets WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Sept. 15 at The Thomas and Mack Center, RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez will be fighting in Las Vegas for the first time since February of 2000.
That previous appearance was as a 148-pounder opposite Mexican Antonio Margarito, who stopped Martinez in the seventh round at the Mandalay Bay Hotel for his first loss in 18 fights.
From there, Martinez went 28-0-1, with 18 knockouts before losing a disputed majority decision to fellow left-hander Paul Williams in December of 2009, during which each fighter was floored in the first round.
“What do you think about that time you lost in Las Vegas against a Mexican?” asks Chavez Jr., 26, during the segment. “This will be your second fight in Las Vegas, and against a Mexican.”
Click here for a preview video of HBO’s Face Off, which will air at 12:45 a.m. ET/PT as well as multiple times on HBO and HBO2, with broadcaster Kellerman asking questions, face-to-face, of Chavez Jr. and Martinez.
Since falling to Williams, Martinez (49-2-2, 28 knockouts) has won five straight bouts and four of them by stoppage, having ravaged each of his opponents faces and generally beaten them badly.
Former undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, former two-time welterweight titleholder Williams and top contender Matthew Macklin were all left bleeding profusely around their eyes ears after having faced Martinez, with Williams being knocked out in the second round and Macklin, in the 11th.
Previously unbeaten Darren Barker suffered a perforated eardrum during an 11th-round stoppage loss to Martinez, and previously unbeaten Sergei Dzinziruk was dropped five times during an eighth-round knockout loss.
“I have the rematch that I wanted,” Martinez, 37, tells his Mexican rival, whom he has vowed to brutalize by using the younger fighter’s straight-ahead style against him. “I will probably make you retire from boxing, because I’m going to beat you up. I’m going to hurt you.”
The son of the former champion by the same name, Chavez Jr. (46-0-1, 32 knockouts) is coming off a seventh-round stoppage victory over challenger Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KOs) in June.
But Martinez even pokes fun at Chavez Jr., charging that he is living in his father’s shadow.
“You’re living in a delusion, based on your legendary father. When are you going to stop believing that?” asks Martinez. “When will you start being Julio Cesar Chavez, Your own person, not just the son of so and so?”
Chavez Jr. responds, “I will never stop being my father’s son.”
“Of course not,” Martinez retorts. “But once you’re in the ring, it will be just you alone, and not with your father.”
Chavez Jr. will also be featured on HBO’s 2 Days: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday, starting at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT.
Check out more of the dialogue from HBO’s Face Off With Max Kellerman: Chavez Jr.-Martinez below.
Sergio Martinez: “You’re living in a delusion, based on your legendary father. When are you going to stop believing that?”
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: “Is that what you think?”
Martinez: “When will you start being Julio Cesar Chavez, Your own person, not just the son of so and so?”
Chavez: “I will never stop being my father’s son.”
Martinez: “Of course not, but once you’re in the ring, it will be just you alone, and not with your father.”
Chavez: “When I knock you out on Sept. 15, that day, I’ll be whoever you want me to be. [Pointing his thumb at his own chin] This is the best chin.”
Martinez: “How can you fight somebody you can’t hit?”
Chavez: “You think I can’t hit you? Where will you hide?”
Martinez: “No, I’ll be hitting you.”
Chavez: “What do you think about that time you lost in Las Vegas against a Mexican? This will be your second fight in Las Vegas, and against a Mexican.”
Martinez: “I have the rematch that I wanted. I will probably make you retire from boxing, because I’m going to beat you up. I’m going to hurt you, because it is written, or I will write it down.”
Chavez: “On Sept. 15, you will realize what type of fighter I am. I’m not just the son of Julio Cesar Chavez. You will see. I’m the new Julio Cesar Chavez.”
Photo by Ed Diller, Top Rank/DiBella Entertainment
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com