The son of the legend and Sergio pose in LA Monday. Martinez promised a KO. (Chris Farina)
LOS ANGELES-Amid two of the most recognized middleweights Top Rank’s Bob Arum matter-of-factly told a table full of reporters that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was not ready to face the recognized world champion Sergio Martinez last year.
“Everybody said we were ducking Sergio Martinez. They were God d—n right we were ducking Sergio Martinez. Chavez wasn’t ready,” said Arum. “But now he’s (Chavez) certainly ready to give a competitive battle.”
Ever since Chavez was handed a version of the WBC middleweight title though Martinez had already captured it, the boxing world has shouted for this match to decide the real champion.
Funny, last year few felt Chavez had any chance at all. But a lot has changed.
Argentina’s speedy southpaw Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) finally gets his wish to fight Chavez (46-0-1, 32KOs), the man from Mexico on Saturday Sept. 15, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. HBO will televise the pay-per-view card.
Everybody had a lot to say. Even “El Gran Campeon Mexicano” got into the act.
“Martinez has been talking bull crap,” said Chavez Sr. while sitting 10 feet away from Martinez. “Don’t forget, a Mexican already knocked you out, so why won’t another Mexican knock you out?”
The dapper Argentine said he’s very glad that Chavez has agreed to fight and that the big Mexican middleweight has indeed improved dramatically in a year.
“Oh yes, he’s improved very much,” said Martinez. “I predict I’ll knock him out in 10 rounds or less.”
Fresh off his blowout of Ireland’s Andy Lee, the son of the Mexican legend Chavez looked like a cruiserweight during the press conference. It all seemed to be pure muscle.
“He’s picked up a lot from his father,” says Arum, adding that at one point he wasn’t too convinced of Chavez’s abilities. But his matchmaker Bruce Trampler was always high on the former Riverside high school student.
Chavez listened to all of the back and forth talk about real champions and became slightly irate.
“He didn’t want to fight the mandatory,” said Chavez explaining how he was pitted against Sebastian Zbik last June 2011 and won the title. “That was Martinez’s choice.”
Nonetheless, Martinez’s camp see Chavez’s title belt as theirs.
“We’ve been looking forward for a long time to take back what was taken from us,” said Pablo Sarmiento, trainer for Martinez. “On Sept. 15, we’re taking back the belt.”
Despite the numerous middleweight titles out there, this is the one that matters.
“I want to thank Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for accepting this difficult, difficult fight,” said Martinez. “Difficult for him.”
Chavez controlled his anger regarding the various statements made from Martinez’s team.
“On Sept. 15 you will know what type of fighter I am,” said Chavez Jr. “Let me be clear that on Sept. 15 I will be the winner. I don’t have a doubt.”
Tickets go on sale on Thursday.