Does Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. believe that he is getting under the skin of Sergio Martinez in advance of his WBC middleweight title defense against THE RING champion on Sept. 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas?
Does Chavez (46-0-1, 32 knockouts) believe that a fight will ever happen with fellow Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, owner of the WBC’s junior middleweight belt?
Has Chavez learned from the drunk driving incident in January?
The 26-year-old son of the hall-of-fame Mexican legend answered those questions, and more, during a Q&A with RingTV.com.
Although he captured the WBC belt by dethroning Sebastian Zbik by majority decision in June of last year, Chavez addressed the fact that he’s had to overcome discipline problems.
Arrested on Jan. 22 for allegedly driving drunk, Chavez struck a plea deal in mid-June, which granted him three years of probation and ordered him to to attend 30 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the latter of which he already had completed.
Despite his legal issue, Chavez successfullly defended his belt against Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4 in San Antonio on HBO despite being in relatively bad shape and having to lose an astronomical amount of weight the day before the fight.
During an episode of “2 Day Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.,” Chavez credited the addition of conditioning trainers Luis Cornejo and Vladimir Baldenebro, who, together with strength coach, Alex Ariza, are making the difference for the clash with Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs).
Chavez will try to end a winning streak of five straight fights that includes four knockouts by Martinez, a 37-year-old southpaw who will be making his first appearance in Las Vegas since February of 2000 when he was knocked out in the seventh round of a 148-pound bout by Mexican Antonio Margarito at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Yet Chavez was shown standing his ground, verbally, with Martinez this past Saturday night, when HBO debuted an intense version of Face Off With Max Kellerman: Chavez Jr.-Martinez. Click here for a preview video of HBO’s Face Off, which will air multiple times on HBO and HBO2.
Chavez is meeting Martinez in an HBO Pay Per View-televised bout that will happen on the same night during which the 22-year-old Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) makes the fifth defense of his belt opposite Josesito Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime.
Chavez discussed all of the above and broached the idea of rising into the 168-pound division during this Q&A, below.
Interview translated by Top Rank’s Ricardo Jiminez.
RingTV.com: Do you believe that the Face Off episode is evidence that you are getting into Martinez’s head?
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: I think that, without a doubt, you could say that I’m in his head. I think that he’s now facing the reality.
I think that he’s finally realizing what it’s going to be like to facing me. I think that it’s finally dawned on him just how big of a fight this really is.
RingTV.com: Were you offended at all by what Martinez has said about your living through your father’s legendary status and living in your father’s shadow?
JCC: Without a doubt, he’s very wrong about that, thinking that I’m still under my father’s shadow. I think that I’ve proven myself by winning the championship.
I’ve proven myself by winning the right fights and fighting the right guys. I’ve proven myself, so there’s no more shadow, and there’s no more, “son of.” You’re just looking at “the next Chavez.”
RingTV.com: What do you want your fans to know about your drunk driving incident?
JCC: You know, that’s something that has happened, and I’ve owned up to it. I did what I had to do. I think that everybody makes mistakes.
We’re all human. Mistakes are going to happen, and that was a big mistake on my part, but it will never happen again.
RingTV.com: Is it true what Roach said in “2 Days: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.” about your having to lose 16 pounds the day before facing Rubio, and if so, how much have you learned from those bad habits?
JCC: I think that I learned from that as you can see in the last fight, when I had no problems making weight.
We’ve brought in Luis Cornejo, who is our nutritionist. Along with all of the other things, he’s a very good nutritionist.
He’s teaching us how to do the diet right and teaching us how to eat right and to eat properly. I had that problem last time, but I shouldn’t have that problem this time.
RingTV.com: So are Cornejo, Baldenebro and Ariza all working together in this camp?
JCC: Yes, they are all working together.
RingTV.com: What do you think of fighting on the same night as Alvarez, and do you see that as a potential distraction to your fans?
JCC: You know, I really don’t care. I’m not interested in what he’s doing. I’m not interested what he’s trying to do. Obviously, it’s a meaningless fight that he’s having.
He just wants to prove that he has more fans than me. But he can have all of the fans that he wants, I want the titles and the money.
RingTV.com: Do you think that you will ever fight Alvarez, and, if so, how would such a fight go?
JCC: You know, I’m not sure that the fight will ever happen. I’m willing to fight him anywhere and at any time that he wants to fight.
If he wants to fight me after this fight, then let’s do it. But I know that after I win this fight he will definitely not want to do it.
RingTV.com: Do you have a prediction for the Martinez fight, and, in victory, do you eventually plan on rising to super middleweight?
JCC: I know that I’m going to win the fight, that’s what I can tell you, for sure. I’m going to fight and I’m going to win.
But I’m not looking to go up to 168 pounds right now. I feel good right here at 160 right now, and this is where I’m at and there are some good fights right here.
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Rafael Soto, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org