By Rick Reeno
Although there are a lot of obstacles to overcome before it happens, WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28KOs) could very well defend his title against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs) in a rematch next fall - according to multiple sources who spoke with BoxingScene.com.
They clashed on September 15 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The event itself was one of the most successful shows of the year. The fight broke the attendance record at the Thomas & Mack Center with 19,186 seats, eclipsing the prior record of 19,151 for the Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield rematch. The HBO pay-per-view numbers were equally impressive. The event was able to exceed expectations by generating an estimated 475,000 pay-per-view buys and $24 million in revenue.
In terms of the actual action, Martinez arguably dominated the action for the first eleven rounds. In a very dramatic twelfth and final round, Chavez badly hurt, dropped and nearly stopped Martinez.
In the aftermath, Chavez fell under fire when his post-fight drug test revealed minor traces of marijuana.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum would like to have Chavez Jr. make his return to HBO in April. The date, and the return, can't be set until the outcome of Chavez's hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the coming weeks. As a result of his post-fight drug test, Chavez is facing a suspension and a fine. The suspension would run from the date of the contest. Most are expecting Chavez to receive a six month suspension, which in turn would make him available for an April date or possibly May.
One possible opponent is Mathew Macklin (29-4, 20KOs), who gave Martinez all that he could handle before suffering a TKO loss in the eleventh round of their March fight. Macklin returned on the Chavez-Martinez undercard and destroyed former champion Joachim Alcine in one round.
"We're looking at Macklin. He's a good guy, he's a good fighter but I heard yesterday that he was having some kind of surgery. I don't know if that's true. Martinez is definitely going to fight in Argentina. And hopefully in September we'll match [Chavez and Martinez] together," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
Promoter Lou DiBella told BoxingScene that Macklin is rehabbing an injury but he expects the boxer to be 100% and ready to go by February.
"He'll be ready in February and we are very interested in a Chavez fight," DiBella told BoxingScene.com.
On the other end, plans are being put together for Martinez to make a title defense on an April/May date in Argentina. HBO will televise the fight in the United States.
Martinez's adviser, Sampson Lewkowicz, tells BoxingScene that three venues are in the running - including Luna Park and La Plata stadium, which holds close to 55,000 people.
Martinez's return will depend on the necessary rehab time to properly heal an injury to his right knee. Martinez is having surgery next Monday in Madrid. Depending on the recovery time, Martinez will return in late April or early May.
"Right now, me and Lou DiBella are having negotiations for Martinez's next fight, which is going to happen in Argentina. We are very close, but we are waiting until after Sergio's surgery, next Monday, to set a date," Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com.
Should both Martinez be successful in his next outing, Lewkowicz confirms that a rematch with Chavez would be the target for the fall.