By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – In the biggest fight of his career thus far, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. waited until the 12th round to do anything noteworthy.
The former WBC middleweight champion dropped Sergio Martinez in that final round, but failed to finish him and lost a lopsided unanimous decision in September 2012. Chavez spent most of that bout allowing Martinez to out-box him, which led to the Argentine southpaw winning by large margins on all three scorecards (118-109, 118-109, 117-110) at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
The 31-year-old Chavez regrets how he performed that night, but feels he can atone for that disappointment by upsetting Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night in a fight that’s as much about Mexican pride as anything. Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs, 1 NC) is nearly a 5-1 underdog against Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs), even though he’ll have a distinct size advantage over his opponent.
The son of Mexico’s most acclaimed fighter realizes, though, that he can change a lot about his legacy by beating Alvarez.
“This fight is sort of a fight where I can recover everything that I lost in that [Martinez] fight,” Chavez told a group of reporters through a translator at MGM Grand. “This is another grand opportunity, and if I am successful this fight it wipes out some of the stuff that I lost in that fight.”
Chavez recalls that he was properly prepared for the Martinez match from a physical standpoint. It’s just that once their fight started, he fell too far behind to have a chance to win without knocking out Martinez.
He also credited the athletic, skilled Martinez, who was the lineal middleweight champion at the time, for making things difficult on him.
“I trained hard, but I wasn’t really focused and I didn’t do everything that I was supposed to do,” Chavez said. “I wasn’t focused enough and during the fight I let too many rounds go by and it affected me. And Martinez was also a great fighter, with a difficult style.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.