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Sat Sep 15, 2012, 07:28 PM

Boxing (9-15)

Sept. 15
At Las Vegas (HBO PPV): Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 12 rounds, for Martinez's Ring magazine and Chavez's WBC middleweight title; Rocky Martinez vs. Miguel Beltran, 12 rounds, for vacant WBO junior lightweight title; Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Robert Marroquin, 12 rounds, for Rigondeaux's WBA junior featherweight title;

At Las Vegas (Showtime): Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez, 12 rounds, for Alvarez's WBC junior middleweight title; Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon, 12 rounds, for Gonzalez's WBC featherweight title; Marcos Maidana vs. Jesus Soto Karass, 12 rounds, welterweights.

There are two good cards being held in Las Vegas tonight; one on HBO (pay-per-view), and the other on Showtime. Although HBO’s main event is the most interesting, and most important, I’m planning to watch the other card tonight. The number of PPV cards is too large to justify, especially considering that it will replay in a week. Plus, I’ll be here alone tonight -- something rare on Fight Night.

Both under cards feature what appear to be high quality, competitive match-ups. Showtime is covering two undercard bouts, both of which promise to be toe-to-toe slugfests. HBO has Rigondeaux, one of Cuba’s all-time greatest amateurs, defending his title. He has not been consistently impressive in recent bouts, though he is still one of the sport’s very best body-punchers. Marroguin is good enough to force Rigondeaux to fight at his top level. The Martinez vs. Beltran co-feature bout has the potential to be good, too.

Let’s look at the Showtime main event first. Originally, Alvarez had planned to defend his title against Victor Ortiz tonight. Ortiz had been scheduled to fight a rematch against Andre Berto -- who claimed Ortiz had used steroids in their first bout, in which Victor pulled off an upset in an action-packed war -- but the fight was called off when Berto failed drug tests. Despite the promise of a September 15 bout with Alvarez, Ortiz opted to stay busy by fighting Josesito Lopez in June.

Lopez was coming off a loss, to Jessie Vargas. Ortiz may have been taking Lopez (29-4) too lightly, and looking ahead to his next bout. But Lopez had flattened undefeated Mike Dallas, Jr., on an ESPN bout, before his split-decision loss to Vargas. Josesito withstood some serious punishment from Ortiz in the early rounds, before breaking Victor’s jaw in two places.

The promoters attempted to get James Kirkland as a replacement for Ortiz, to fight Alvarez.. When that didn’t work out, Lopez was offered the chance to move up a weigh class to challenge “Canelo.”

Alvarez is 40-0, with 29 knockouts. Just 22 years of age, he made his pro debut in October of 2005. His early career was against relatively nondescript opposition. He won the vacant WBC Jr. Middleweight title in March, 2011, when he stopped Matthew Hilton in 12 rounds. The brother of Ricky Hatton did present some problems for Alvarez, before the significant size difference took its toll.

Alvarez has stopped 4 out of the 5 guys he has defended the title against since then, most notably taking a faded Kermit Cintron out in five rounds. In May, Alvarez captured a one-sided decision over Shane Mosley.

Alvarez could be favored, even if Lopez and he were naturally the same weight. But they are not: Alvarez drops weight to make 154 lbs, while Lopez is a 145-pounder. More, with a body attack that includes outstanding left-hooks, Alvarez can wear any opponent out. Still, he can’t take Lopez lightly -- in two of his three last bouts, both as the underdog, his punching power has been good enough to bring about very impressive knockout wins.

That brings us to the Martinez vs. Chavez bout. Most of the “experts” are predicting a Martinez win. I hope that they are right, though I think it will be a much tougher fight than they anticipate.

Martinez, 37, is 49-1-2; he was 28 KO wins, and was stopped once. Chavez is 26, with a 46-0-1-1 record; he has 32 knockouts. At 5’ 10”, Martinez is two inches shorter than Chavez; his 75” reach is two inches longer.

Chavez grew up in the boxing culture: his father is an all-time great champion, and widely recognized as the greatest Mexican fighter ever. For years, he would carry “Junior” with him while making his ring entrance. In 2003, Junior turned pro, and for years was fed a soft diet of victims.

In late 2005, Chavez was given a draw in a 6-round bout against Carlos Molina. Stung by the reactions of fans and the media -- he had clearly lost the bout -- Chavez was determined to fight Molina again. And three months later, Chavez won a tough decision.

In 2009, Chavez was awarded a 10-round decision over Troy Rowland; it was later over-turned, and ruled a “no contest,” because post-fight tests showed Chavez had used a banned substance. It was a drug to help him lose enough weight to make the middleweight division -- and the weight problem has remained an issue since.

In his next bout, Chavez decisioned John Duddy. He has won five fights since then, including three by KO. Of these, only his most recent TKO over Andy Lee was considered competitive going in. In part, it was because he faced more soft opposition; perhaps more significantly, in the 36 hours after making weight, he puts on enough weight to enter the ring as a cruiserweight. (Going from 160 to 182 lbs in that short a time could, however, catch up to him.)

Martinez didn’t begin boxing until he was 20. In 2000, he was stopped by Antonio Margarito; because of the loaded-hand wrap scandal in his Mosley fight, many question Margarito’s earlier knockout victories.

For years, Martinez had difficulty in securing bouts against the top fighters in either the junior middleweight or middleweight divisions. In early ‘09, he fought Kermit Cintron to a controversial draw. Martinez would drop Cintron for a full “10 count,” but Kermit was able to convince a confused referee that he went down from a butt; film showed it was a clean punch. The fight would go the full 12 rounds, and it appeared to almost everyone that Martinez had won.

Martinez next faced Paul Williams, losing a close decision. However, because he had actually beaten Cintron, and could have been awarded the win against Williams, Martinez was given a shot at middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, This time, he earned the decision.

Martinez then knocked out Paul Williams in brutal fashion in two rounds. He has won three straight knockouts since then. Somewhere along the line, however, he was “stripped” of his WBC title, which was soon awarded to Chavez. The boxing community largely ignores these commissions, however, and The Ring recognizes Martinez as the only middleweight champion.)

In a very real way, this is a grudge match. The level of Martinez’s contempt for, and dislike of Chavez has caught many boxing “experts” by surprise. This seems particularly true in terms of the HBO crew, such as Max Kellerman. But it doesn’t surprise any boxer who came up the hard way.

Both fighters are predicting a knockout victory. Martinez promises to break Chavez down, slowly and cruelly, before taking him out. He has said a DNA test will be required to identify Chavez after the bout. The odds were 2-to-1 in favor of Martinez this morning.

I’d like to see Martinez win. But I recognize that Chavez is younger and will enter the ring as the far larger man. He has developed a strong body attack, which will be essential against his faster, defensively-skilled opponent. While I favor Martinez to win by decision, I think that Chavez has a good shot at winning.

Enjoy the fights!

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Reply Boxing (9-15) (Original post)
H2O Man Sep 2012 OP
H2O Man Sep 2012 #1
JonLP24 Sep 2012 #2
H2O Man Sep 2012 #3
JonLP24 Sep 2012 #4
JonLP24 Sep 2012 #5

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 16, 2012, 01:08 AM

1. Martinez by decision.

118-109 on two cards, and 117-110 on the third.

Martinez won the first 11 rounds by most accounts. While playing to the crowd, he got caught with some good punches, and Chavez scored a knockdown.

Older fans suddenly remembered the Chavez, Sr., vs Meldrick Taylor fight's controversial ending.

But Martinez recovered, and fought back well. Both men were reportedly very bloody at the end of the bout.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 16, 2012, 01:13 AM

2. How did Rigondeaux do?

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 16, 2012, 01:19 AM

3. Trying to find out.

I'll let you know when I find out.

The scores were actually slightly different (two at 118-110, one at 118-111, for Martinez). And one report says Martinez was down twice (the scores indicate only one, though).

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 16, 2012, 01:32 AM

4. Oh yeah

I forgot that I read that you were watching Showtime instead of HBO PPV. I probably could find the score but wanted to know the recap from your POV which is why I ask.

I do appreciate you finding out though.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 16, 2012, 02:46 AM

5. I went to look up the result on his page

and saw that he won on a UD. I also came across this from Freddie Roach.

"He's the best counterpuncher I've ever seen," Roach said of Rigondeaux, speaking by phone from his gym in Los Angeles. "When I did the pads with him, I simply could not get through his defense. I tried. I couldn't, though.

"On his first day in the gym, he wanted to spar with Manny Pacquiao," Roach laughed. "I didn't allow it. I don't want Manny getting that kind of work in sparring. Manny is a bit big for him, but he's an offensive guy and with countering like that, he was more work than I needed.

"He's one of the greatest talents I've ever seen," Roach said of Rigo.

Then the trainer pauses, considering his words.

"Probably the greatest talent."

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