Chavez Junior, Senior and Sergio in a light-hearted moment during Thursday NYC presser ahead of Sept. 15 middleweight showdown. Today is Senior's 50th birthday. Rest assured, though, there is some bad blood simmering, as the Chavez' haven't forgotten Sergio calling them chickens for over a year. (Ed Diller)
Funny how things can change in a year. A year ago, fight fans were accusing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of ducking Sergio Martinez, and many of those same fans figured that Martinez would, if they met, mop the floor with the kid. Not so now; it must be acknowledged that Chavez and his team were being patient, waiting for him to get seasoning, grow into his frame, and that in this case, the promoter, Bob Arum, knows best, because he allowed this event to come to fruition at the proper time. The combatants, who face off in Las Vegas on Sept. 15, gathered for a press conference at the Edison Ballroom in midtown Manhattan on Thursday afternoon.
Sergio Martinez thanked HBO, Top Rank, Lou DiBella, his advisor Sampson Lewkowicz and his trainer Pablo Sarmiento. He dedicated this fight to friend Monique McClain, the young CT girl who had been bullied, and then befriended by Sergio. He continued, saying he would beat up Junior, and that this will be the best fight he has ever fought. Fernando Beltran, Junior's co-promoter, called Sergio a clown, which enraged Lewkowicz.
Junior then got the mike. He said he wants to prove that he is "the best middleweight in the world." He said Martinez will just dance, referencing his stint on "Dancing with the Stars" in Argentina. "He found his real profession, as a ballerina," and that drew guffaws. "On Sept. 15 I will beat Martinez and you will have a great fight."
Arum spoke first and said Martinez is an 8-5- favorite and that this line is as close a line in major fight as he recalls. This is a fight that "fight fans deserve," the promoter said.
The promoter gave Lou DiBella a shoutout, calling his company the premier outfit on the East Coast. DiBella took to the mike then and said it is good to work with professionals. He said this fight is the best that can be made in the middleweight division, and that he hopes that 18,000 folks will come to the arena, and by the way, plenty of seats are reasonably priced. That's the way to save boxing, he said, from all the crap judging decisions and such.
Trainer Pablo Sarmiento said they would shut Chavez' mouth. Advisor to Lewkowicz said he now understands why Chavez didn't sign on to fight Sergio earlier, because now he knows he is ready. He then said son Nathan told him he will be a grandpa, and joked that he feels old.
Arum then got back the mike. He said that Tecate would be offering a 50% off rebate on the PPV.
Julioe Cesar Chavez Sr., celebrating his 50th birthday, took to the mike. He said that this fight is the one everyone wanted, and it will be a difficult fight. "We know that Martinez is considered one of the best fighters now," he said. "I don't like his style, he's a runner, it stinks, but it works for him." The crowd then sung Happy Birthday, and Martinez smiled good naturedly.
Arum then recalled that pols Ted Kennedy and Tip O'Neill sent him a letter in the late 70s, demanding a title shot for Marvin Hagler. "Middleweight has been a great, great division," he said.
This fight, he said, "will go into history" as a great one, like the ones we saw in the 70s and 80s. "This is historic, this is real history," he said.
DiBella said that Junior will be 180 versus 165 for Sergio, on fight night, so he will be nervous. He talked about Martinez' work against domestic violence. He said that he grew up poor, and was bullied as a kid. He brought up McCalin, a girl who was bullied, and then befriended by Martinez. "There are bigger things to fight for than a belt," he said.
DiBella said Chavez' work in the recent win over Andy Lee impressed him. "They are fighting to be the best middleweight on the planet," he said.