By Jake Donovan
Many in the industry never believed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr would go through with this fight against lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez.
Many in the industry never believed that two major shows would go head to head on opposing networks while in the same town.
Is it possible that many experts will be wrong about the perceived outcome of this fight?
Let’s go right to it:
I think Martinez will start off fast and build an early lead before Chavez comes on in the middle rounds. Young Chavez will take significant punishment but his youth, size and chin will prove to be the difference as he wins the championship rounds in a somewhat controversial unanimous decision. Cinco De Mayo rematch anyone?
– Ryan Burton (Chavez)
I’ve been one of the few Chavez Jr. supporters from the early years, but don’t believe this at all to be a favorable styles matchup for the unbeaten second generation star. His only saving grace (other than his size) is his granite chin, but I can see Martinez overcoming rough early moments to pour it on and force a stoppage late in the fight.
– Jake Donovan (Martinez)
When the fight was first considered, the initial inkling was, "holy cow, Junior's gonna get hammered." But the more I've seen him in the intervening months, the more I'm convinced he's ready to pull the upset. The youngster may get badly out-boxed to start things, but he'll ultimately close the distance, hammer the body and chop down a late-30s opponent in the late going. Chavez TKO 11
– Lyle Fitzsimmons (Chavez)
Martinez- TKO10. I've always felt Chavez Jr, as much improved as he has become, is still a very lineal fighter in that he seems like he can only fight in straight lines. That being said, Martinez is all over the place and not likely to be in front of Chavez long enough for Chavez to sustain an attack. Eventually Chavez will become frustrated and start taking chances leaving himself open and fatigued enough where will see Martinez stop it.
– Ernest Gabion (Martinez)
As we just saw with Andre Ward and Chad Dawson, there's a way certain fights happen when a fighter of a higher class goes in against someone who just isn't as smart and isn't as skilled. Size isn't everything. It didn't matter when Arturo Gatti fought Floyd Mayweather, and it didn't matter when Antonio Margarito fought Manny Pacquiao. I look for this fight to be more like Pacquiao-Margarito than like Gatti-Mayweather; there will be some moments in which Chavez gets in work. But those moments will pale compared to what Martinez will do en route to a technical knockout victory.
- David Greisman (Martinez)
Sergio Martinez UD12 over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. If Chavez cannot make this a physical, borderline-dirty fight, cut off the ring and dig regularly to Martinez's body, he'll be in for a long night. Martinez still moves very well, even at 37, and his high ring IQ will enable him to make the necessary adjustments to combat Chavez's aggression. Despite repeatedly talking about knocking out the iron-chinned Chavez, Martinez won't try to do it a reckless way
- Keith Idec (Martinez)
Martinez SD - Chavez will be the aggressor in the early round forcing Martinez to box and counter. Chavez will notch a few of these rounds but will start to fade down the stretch. Martinez will have Chavez right where he wants him in the championship rounds, but I think Chavez will survive all 12. Depending how many early rounds Chavez can notch the scorecards may be close but the championship rounds win be the difference for Martinez.
- Tim Kudgis (Martinez)
Sergio Martinez TKO11 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. There's no denying Julio Cesar Chavez's durability and rapid development into a legitimate threat to Sergio Martinez. However, I still like Martinez to confound Chavez with his movement and speed, and stopping him either on his feet or by cuts.
- Ryan Maquinana (Martinez)
Martinez Dec. Chavez: I see Chavez doing much better than some might assume, especially in the first six rounds. Against Barker and Macklin, Martinez warmed to the task and Chavez has more firepower than either. If he can grind enough, 37 year old champion's legs could look them on the back half. I think Martinez will be careful not to stay in the pocket enough to accelerate down the stretch. Ultimately, talent takes over and Martinez has more of it. He's beaten some of the best. Chavez is leaping from borderline contenders to the man. It's a big leap. He'll fall short.
– Cliff Rold (Martinez)
Chavez has indeed improved over the last year. His size and strength alone make him difficult to deal with at 160. But Martinez's skills are superior to Chavez. I can see Martinez getting off to a fast start and using his speed and footwork. Junior will eventually come on in the middle rounds as he begins to make up some ground. I expect Martinez however finish strong and get a Split Decision victory.
- Luis Sandoval (Martinez)
The younger guy apparently is making three times more money than the older guy and is considered by many to be the underdog. My brain for boxing tells me that Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr. won’t go twelve rounds and Sergio Martinez wins in devastating fashion. This time I’m going with my gut instinct. I think we’re going to see Chavez somehow hang on and pull off a close or controversial decision victory in Las Vegas. Chavez by UD.
- Frank Stea (Chavez)
Martinez UD. As always, there's a big "if" in all Bob Arum-promoted events, and this one is no exception - it features one of the Top Rank's largest cash cows. Some "unofficial support" of the officials cannot be ruled out. However, hoping for the better (although it is naive), Sergio Martinez should be considered a favorite in the fight. He has showed some signs of slowing down in his recent bouts with the Britons but for me it's a lack of determination and desire against subpar opposition rather than anything else. JCC Jr. made a nice progress this year, but Martinez is way better than Rubio and Lee. I expect a hard-fought albeit convincing decision for "El Maravilla". Chavez will have his chances and he won't be stopped, and the fight will be a reminiscent of Martinez-Pavlik showdown two and a half years ago.
– Alexey Sukachev (Martinez)
Total: Sergio Martinez 9, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 3
The Martinez-Chavez Jr. lineal middleweight championship headlines a five-fight HBO PPV card, which airs live from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas (Saturday, 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]