Boxing: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Darren Barker triumphs in A.C.

August, 18, 2013
Brit Darren Barker was the busier man against Aussie Daniel Geale in Atlantic City at the Revel on Saturday night, and was rewarded with a split-decision victory as well as the honor of wearing the IBF middleweight belt.

The scrap, which ended with Barker getting love from two of three judges, clarifies things a bit in the middleweight division. You must forgive me, because by all accounts Barker is a solid citizen, a nice lad who has had to surmount, arguably, more hurdles to get to the big stage success than most, but the win solidified for me that finding a stern test for Kazahk detonator Gennady Golovkin won't be easy.

That doesn't take away from my appreciation of a solid prizefight, and my admiration that Barker got the W in honor of brother Gary, a boxer of some promise who died in a 2006 car crash; or my regard for Barker's decency, on display in fall 2011, when he intervened to help a stranger getting attacked on the street in England -- and was pummeled by about 10 guys for his trouble, to the tune of major dental damage.

Barker (26-1) and Geale (29-2) showed desire galore, and gave the fans at Revel's first fight card a solid showing, but no, neither looked to be the type who'd throw a scare into Team Golovkin, and give the ascendent hitter a taste of losing.

I asked Tom Loeffler, the U.S. rep for Golovkin's promoter, K2, his takeaway from the Barker win.

"My take is that we know why Geale wouldn't fight Golovkin (27-0), completely different level of champion," said Loeffler, with a reference to his assertion that then WBA champ Geale had avoided fighting GGG after the WBA ordered him to do so. He then pivoted away from the mild critique, to give a thumbs up to both combatants. "I thought both Geale and Barker showed a lot of heart and both seem to be good guys outside of the ring. It's nice to see classy guys in the middleweight division."

The rumor mill is saying that Golovkin will next tangle with Brownsviller Curtis Stevens, who is also on a KO tear, albeit on a lesser scale. A source at Main Events, Steven's promoter, said that was not a done deal, but signs point to that bout unfolding in N.Y. on Nov. 2.

Sergio Martinez, being a beltholder at middleweight, has to be in theoretical discussions for what comes next for Barker. I asked Team Martinez's Nathan Lewkowicz* his take on the Barker triumph. "I think it shows that Sergio fights top fighters," he said, referring to Martinez's Oct. 2011 KO11 victory over Barker, which at the time didn't draw universal praise for Sergio. "People said Barker was not that good and obviously he is. Sergio's next fight will be in April or March. We're looking to make a big splash with his return." Lewkowicz said Martinez' recent knee surgery is playing out well, that he is working out twice a day already.

Some names in possible play for Martinez' next go, we've heard, are Miguel Cotto, who would move up from 154, Floyd Mayweather, who wouldn't, Golovkin, Barker and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who dropped a lopsided decision to Sergio in Sept. 2012 but spurred rematch interest with a 12th-round knockdown of the champ. We hear Team Martinez would entertain that sequel only if Chavez Jr. agreed to rigorous PED testing.

Readers, lay out your best-laid plans for how you'd like to see the middleweight puzzle pieces get moved about in the near future.

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*=Lewkowicz on Sunday clearly wanted to exult some in the win by Kiko Martinez at Revel. Martinez, a 27-year-old Spaniard managed by Sergio Martinez and promoted by Nathan's father Sampson Lewkowicz, is 5-5, but he fought twice as tall and nasty against IBF super bantam champ Jhonatan Romero of Colombia. Martinez, now 29-4, scored a TKO6 win, one of three title changes shown on HBO. "Kiko is the Lucas Matthysse of the super bantamweights," Nathan told me. "He put in hard work and it shows that having the right trainer (Pablo Sarmiento) and a great team can produce some positive changes in a fighter."

Andy Lee headlines at BB King's

May, 15, 2013
Andy Lee, the Irish middleweight looking to get back on the big stage for another crack at a crown, has an Off-Broadway gig, of sorts, tonight. The 28-year-old, who was a protege of the late sage Emanuel Steward, meets Darryl Cunningham atop a Lou DiBella promotion at BB King's.

I asked the lefty Lee (29-2 with 20 KOs) to give a scouting report on Cunningham (28-4 with 11 KOs), and also what might come next if he does the expected and gets past the 38-year-old Michigan resident who is coming off three straight wins against middling foes.

"He's an experienced southpaw, is cagey, and has lost against better quality opponents," Lee told me. "I don't mind who I fight after this, let's win first and then see how the land lays in September."

Lee got a shot at WBC middleweight champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June 2012 but was stopped in round seven. He's rated as high as No. 8, by both the WBC and WBA. Strangely, a man he beat decisively in 2011, Brian Vera, is ranked No. 7 by the WBC and No. 1 by the WBO. (Come to think of it, "strange" isn't the right word to use for that WBO ranking. "Inappropriate" might be the better word choice. Then again, the middleweight division is in a state of flux, and is waiting for some clarification as some of the talent rises or falls down the ladder.) Vera had upset the then-unbeaten Lee in 2008, stopping him in the seventh round on "Friday Night Fights."

To Lee's credit, he responds to Vera's lofty perch with acceptance, a wise choice considering that if a fighter lets the politics of the sport rev his engine too much, he can get burnt out.

"I'm happy for Brian. Whatever he gets, he deserves," Lee said. "The way he fights, he earns it."

Lamar Russ, Delen Parsley and Tor Hamer are also slated to fight on the DiBella card.

Promoter Lou DiBella stands out as a character in a sport populated with scores of folks who think, act and talk outside of "normal" parameters. Harvard-educated, combustible and profane, with an attention span that at times wanders but can be corralled when his heart is touched by the right fighter or hard-luck story, DiBella is, in my opinion, tailor-made for the first real boxing personality reality show.

Besides his compelling persona, the former HBO boxing programming head warrants your attention because he is struggling with his relationship with the sport which he adores, but which also repulses him. In this mini-doc, called "No Way Out," by director John James, DiBella talks about his love-hate relationship with the sweet science, which he is sometimes sour on. He doesn't care for "dealing with people [who make] you want to shower after you speak with them," he says. He also talks about the saints who take street kids off that certain path of self-immolation to a path of self-esteem, glory and possible financial security. I found myself wondering, as I watched, how much longer the New York native will stay in the game. A win by his guy, Sergio Martinez on April 27 against Martin Murray in Argentina, will surely cheer him up for a spell, as the middleweight titlist Martinez is on the path for a fat rematch payday against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Check it out for yourselves, readers. Do you sense that DiBella will stay in this relationship, or he will reach a point where he walks away from a wondrous but tragically flawed sport?

Garcia likely to fight in Texas on June 22

April, 10, 2013
Mikey Garcia generated hard-core buzz in his last fight, having his way, especially in the early rounds, against respected vet Orlando Salido. Fight fans are looking forward to see if Garcia can build off that TD8 victory, which unfolded on HBO and in the Madison Square Garden Theater on Jan. 19.

His manager, Cameron Dunkin, chatted with NYFightblog today at MSG, before the Donaire-Rigondeaux presser kicked off.

Dunkin said WBO featherweight champ Garcia -- whose brother Robert will be in Donaire's corner versus Rigo at Radio City Music Hall -- will have a slot on a June 22 Top Rank card in Texas. That event will be topped by a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. scrap, if Junior can get the Nevada commission to give him the OK to glove up; Junior tested positive for THC after his September 2012 loss to Sergio Martinez and was suspended for nine months. Bob Arum said Darren Barker is the lead dog to test Chavez Jr. in Texas.

Dunkin said that Juan Manuel Lopez is booked, so he's out as a Garcia foe. Orlando Cruz might make the cut with HBO, which will televise. "I just wanna see the kid fight," Dunkin said.

Yes, Dunkin is biased, but I still took note when he told me he thinks Garcia is "gonna be an all-time great."

Don't hold breath for Martinez-Golovkin

January, 25, 2013
Did you like what you saw of Gennady Golovkin's taking apart of Gabe Rosado on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden Theater? So much so that you'd like him to meet the man who is seen as the best in the business at middleweight, Sergio Martinez? Well, tough tamales. Not gonna happen. That's according to Martinez' promoter, Lou DiBella, who was in heated "oh hell no mode" when a writer at the fights DiBella promoted Wednesday night at BB King's asked about that exact potential pairing. "No way," DiBella said. "Golovkin doesn't draw a dime! Cotto and Pacquiao would never get asked about this," he railed.

Martinez gloves up next against Brit Martin Murray in Argentina, his homeland, on April 27. Then folks figure he'll engage in a most lucrative rematch against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who he manhandled save for a last-round knockdown back in September. Martinez turns 38 on Feb. 21, and DiBella implied, his window of opportunity, for mega-fights and mega-paydays, isn't infinite. The window was slammed shut on a scrap with Golovkin.

If Garcia, Malignaggi, Quillin win?

October, 10, 2012
Disclosure: As a fight fan and writer who happens to live a 20-minute walk from the Barclays Center, I am excited that boxing looms large in the grand plan for the new building to be as big as MSG in the United States' arena-sphere.

Golden Boy is contracted to do 12 shows at Barclays a year, from 2012 to 2014. It is a bold growth bid for the California-based company, headed up by Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer. It is bold, in my eyes, because they don't have the staffing on the East Coast that they have in Cali. But Golden Boy COO David Itskowitch told me at Gleason's Gym on Tuesday, at a workout featuring Brooklyners Paul Malignaggi and Danny Jacobs, that his company will be able to pull off the expansion. Malignaggi and Jacobs will fight on Oct. 20 at the Barclays boxing debut.

Itskowitch, who looked surprisingly peppy, considering his wife Kim gave birth to a boy, Austin, on Aug. 30, said that Golden Boy recently put on three shows that ran the same night and were televised on Showtime, Fox and TeleFutura, successfully. "I never sleep," said Itskowitch, who lives in Manhattan. "Before, it was all work. Now, it's the baby and working, a combination."

No, Itskowitch told me, bottom-lining the issue, he doesn't expect any dilution to the Golden Boy product with the addition of East Coast shows to the mix.

I prodded the COO, who has been with Golden Boy for 5-plus years, after working for local promoter Lou DiBella before that, to learn what some ramifications are for fighters taking part in the Oct. 20 premiere.

Junior welter Danny Garcia, the Philly perma-underdog who fights Erik Morales in the main event, would be a fine fit to meet Juan Manuel Marquez, like Morales a Mexican living legend and shoo-in Hall of Famer. If Morales pulls off the unlikely-but-only-a-fool-would-say-unlikely win over Garcia, a third bout between the two would make immense sense. "We'd get a trilogy," Itskowitch said. Also, a Garcia-Lucas Matthysse fight would be "ridiculous," he said, in a good way.

Bensonhurst's Malignaggi, the WBA welter titlist, is looking at a rematch with Ricky Hatton if he beats Pablo Cano in Brooklyn. But that plan is contingent on the comebacking Hatton not getting knocked off the horse. As well as a decision not to return to the less exciting but smoother path as a promoter. Hatton's upcoming bout against Viacheslav Senchenko on Nov. 24 has been deemed by the WBA a welterweight title-shot eliminator, Itskowitch said. It is likely that Malignaggi will either fight Hatton, or face a rematch with the Ukrainian Senchenko in the near future. As always, let us note that boxing is the theater of the unexpected, so while planning, it is always wise to factor in that variables could pop up at any time.

Peter Quillin meets WBO middleweight champ Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam at Barclays, and if the Manhattan quote machine wins the crown, Itskowitch said that a tussle with Sergio Martinez would be alluring. "But we don't know Martinez's plans for a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.," he cautioned.

Barclays will be able to fit about 16,000 for the first fight night. Will we see a sellout? "I don't know about a sellout, but I expect a very good crowd," Itskowitch said.

Best guess: Chavez was 185, to Sergio's 167

September, 17, 2012
Many of us fight fans still felt the after-efffects of the buzz we felt on Saturday night, when Sergio Martinez dominated the son of the legend, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, but nearly got smacked down in an 11th hour assault, hitting the deck with over a minute left in the 12th, and just barely surviving to reach the final bell. Martinez, a 37 year-old Argentine, looked like the stellar pugilist, the pound for pound ace pundits deemed him, for 35 minutes, and acted like the ultimate gutty warrior as he tried to swing his way out of deep trouble in the home stretch.

Boxing fans debated deep into the morning on Twitter whether or not we'd see Martinez-Chavez Jr. II; we checked in with Nathan Lewkowicz, the VP of Sampson Promotions, and son of Martinez advisor Sampson Lewkowicz to get some intel.

Firstly, he told us there is no rematch clause in the contracts for the first fight, so there is nothing automatic about a sequel, though promoter Bob Arum said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has shown interest in bringing the re-do to his stadium.

I asked Nathan if Sergio didn't get his chops gently busted post-fight by trainer Pablo Sarmiento for not clutching and grabbing and running out the clock after getting dropped. "No, Pablo said they trained for that, to possibly get hit and get knocked down, but also to get up from knockdowns like that," Nathan told NYFightBlog. "Personally I think Sergio wanted to take him out and not just win on the cards. Sergio makes exciting fights, people should give him more credit for entertaining crowds." And, I'd offer, credit for not showing that he was compromised during the tussle. He suffered a broken left hand, in round four, and torn ligaments in his right knee when he was knocked down, Nathan told us.

Many were struck by what they saw as a noticeable size differential in the ring Saturday. We don't know what that differential was, because Junior declined to step on a scale for PPV producer HBO. I asked Nathan what he and Team Martinez thought Junior weighed on fight night, with an educated guess. "Junior was probably 185 pounds," he said. "Sergio was 167."

Perhaps time to return back to day-of weigh ins, and set limits on weight gain, perhaps to no more than ten pounds, on the day of the fight?

Dunkin likes Chavez to beat Martinez

September, 14, 2012
Boxing fans in the NYC area have to be pumped about the influx of compelling cards in the area in coming months. The Oct. 20 Golden Boy date at Barclays, headed up by Danny Garcia-Erik Morales II, will be followed by a date at Madison Square Garden, topped by Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout, on Dec. 1.

Manager Cameron Dunkin, who advises Nonito Donaire and Tim Bradley, who is coming off a controversial win over Manny Pacquiao in June, tells NYFightblog that he wants to bring Bradley to NY, probably to the MSG Theater, in late November or mid-December, for a bout which would run on HBO.

Bradley was second runner-up for the next Pacquiao fight, which is to unfold Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, quite likely against Juan Manuel Marquez. Dunkin told us he's fine with not getting the Pacman rematch, and thinks Bradley's brand can be well served by a NY date, which will raise his profile that much more. I asked Dunkin who he likes in tomorrow's middleweight scrum, Sergio Martinez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and his answer surprised me.

"I'm picking Chavez," the Las Vegas dealmaker said. "I thinks he beats the s---out of him. I think he's gonna rise to the occasion."

Seeing and hearing Chavez's intensity in the leadup to the event, a defense of Junior's WBC middleweight title -- and his reputation, to those who maintain he has been built up because his dad is Mexico's top all-time fighter -- convinced Dunkin. "It made my blood run cold," he said.

Martinez thinks pink is a fine color

September, 13, 2012
There's been some buzz on the Internet, on message boards, since Saturday night, when on HBO's 24/7, boxing fans saw footage of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. padding around his house wearing pink bikini briefs.

Junior got ridiculed, some rude names were used and some folks said they were switching their allegiance from the son of the legend to the Argentine vet, Sergio Martinez.

So I put the question to Martinez, who by the way has talked tougher pre-fight than I've ever heard him talk, promising to not just stop middleweight Chavez Jr., but to punish him. Does it tell you anything about Chavez Jr. that he wears pink bikini briefs? Does it make him less than macho?

"No big deal," Martinez told NYFightBlog. "I wear pink shirts all the time."

Bravo, Sergio. I confess I get uncomfortable when I read comments from ignoramuses on message boards or comments sections, calling this one girly or that one a wuss for some reason or another. Oscar De La Hoya still get ragged on for some photos that floated around the net a few years ago; don't these critics realize that the people they mock, even wearing a negligee and six-inch heels, could whup them from here till Tuesday? (It didn't surprise me that Martinez doesn't traffic in cliches and old-school bias; he's among the most progressive of high-profile fighters out there, supporting battered women's causes and taking a stance against bullying.)

And while on the subject about talking tough, there was an edge in the air at the Wednesday press conference to hype the Saturday tussle at the Thomas & Mack. Martinez's adviser Sampson Lewkowicz aimed barbs at Chavez's co-promoter, Fernando Beltran, for talking trash, and then Beltran responded by calling Lewkowicz a clown. I asked Nathan Lewkowicz, VP of Sampson's promotional company, what that was about. "That showed that the stakes are high for this fight and the tension seems to be spilling over to each fighter's teams," Nathan said.

And was he ready to dive in, to yank his dad out of a scrum? "Of course! He's my father, I love him."

Malignaggi: 'I like Martinez in the fight'

September, 13, 2012
Paul Malignaggi will serve as guest analyst on Showtime's Saturday offering, topped by the junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez facing off against script-flipper Josesito Lopez, who got the gig when he beat favored Victor Ortiz in June. So the welterweight champ's attention will be focused on the goings on at the MGM. But like all fight fans, he will be curious to see how the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. scrap, held the same night at the Thomas and Mack in Vegas, plays out.

So, Paulie, who do ya like in that one?

"I like Martinez in the fight," the Bensonhurst-bred boxer told NYFightBlog. "Although if it goes to the cards in Vegas, things could get tricky. I just have not seen that Chavez knows how to cut distance in any other way than to walk straight in, and doing that with a sharpshooter like Martinez could get him in a lot of trouble. I like Sergio to stop him late on accumulated punishment, but we will see what Chavez has inside of him on Saturday night, and even if he loses, hopefully he can gain some respect."

Boxing is funny that way; a guy can build his brand, can attract a legion of fans in a loss by giving a valiant effort in the face of harsh circumstances and a dire outcome. Readers, please leave your prediction as a comment.

Matchmaker likes Martinez over Chavez Jr.

September, 12, 2012
Star Boxing matchmaker Ron Katz, with four decades in the sport tucked into his belt, has seen every configuration of match. So he's well acquainted with the "young gun vs. the skilled but aging vet" sort of scrap which will unfold on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas, between the son of the legend, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and 37-year-old ace Sergio Martinez.

Katz, who grew up in White Plains, cut his teeth watching Teddy Brenner do his thing as Top Rank's East Coast matchmaker. Bob Arum said when Brenner died in 2000 that there will never be one better than Brenner. Katz picked up knowledge from the right tutor.

So, Ron, will the young'un show the graybeard that he's past his prime?

"Sergio should win. He's the much better fighter. He's much more experienced," Katz told NYFightBlog. "He's been in with better guys. Chavez is banking on him looking like he did his last couple fights. But those showings could have been by design. Chavez is slow afoot. He's strong and big. But what's he gonna do when Martinez is dancing, popping in and out?

"Chavez is counting on Martinez wearing down late. But I don't think Chavez has had a great camp. Weight is always an issue. Anything can happen, but Martinez is the better, more experienced fighter. There's no indication he's going to turn old Saturday night."

Katz, who also soaked up tidbits from Johnny Bos and Bruce Trampler, two other skilled artisans, thinks Martinez wasn't as geared up for his last couple fights, against Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. "A stoppage win for Martinez is possible because Chavez hasn't been in a fight like this," he said. "We don't know his mental makeup. Apparently, he doesn't have the greatest character. He struggled with a couple mediocre guys. He looked good against Andy Lee. But Lee is frail. He broke him down, but I don't think he can do that with this guy. We will see, though. Stranger things have happened."


UPDATE: Katz reached out to me a couple hours later. "I'm vacillating," he told me. He said when the fight was announced, he'd leaned towards the kid. As of this writing, he sees Martinez winning, and it being 60-40 in the vet's favor. "But if all we're seeing and reading about Chavez' preparation are true, then it'll be very difficult for him to win."

Rumors buzz about Junior's training camp

September, 7, 2012
Whispers have been floating about for a several weeks that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. hasn't treated training camp as seriously as he should have been, unsubstantiated stuff that hasn't been corroborated.

But just because a claim or an allegation hasn't been substantiated doesn't mean we must dismiss it. Even if it is without merit, it can still affect other people in the equation, right? We've been hearing, from people NOT within the camp of Chavez Jr. that Junior hasn't been training like you'd want him to train if you were his trainer, who wanted the very best version of the athlete defending his WBC middleweight title against Sergio Martinez on the night of Sept. 15 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

So, what about it, Lou DiBella? Is Chavez Jr, who got popped for a DUI on Jan. 22 and was sentenced to three years' probation and had to attend 30 AA meetings, going off the rails before the biggest bout of his career?

"I don't believe that stuff. We don't listen to it," DiBella, Martinez's promoter, told NYFightBlog. "We are preparing for the best Chavez Jr., and we know he will be strong, and about 180 pounds on fight night."

The DUI news, which dropped right before Junior's last bout, against Andy Lee (TKO7 win) on June 16, was surprising -- but maybe it shouldn't have been, seeing that Chavez Sr. has made no secret of his own excessive drinking. He shared the pain he felt when he hit bottom, and that his son helped convince him to get help following his exit from the sport, as an active participant on the first installment of HBO's "24/7" documercial last Saturday.

My take: DiBella's thinking on the rumor mill material is spot on. He and Team Martinez can't even entertain the notion that Junior isn't treating this fight with anything but the utmost seriousness, lest they be lulled into a false sense of security. Also, it isn't "fair" when rumors like this whip around the sphere, but it is to be expected when such a family history exists and a recent arrest for a misdeed is fresh in peoples' minds.

Here's hoping that Junior's transgression was a one-time thing, that he learned his lesson and has a proper respect for the demon rum and rightful rules of the road.
Sergio Martinez, promoted by local Lou DiBella, has taken up the cause of anti-bullying and taken a stand against violence against women, especially in the last few years.

The 49-2-2-boxer is stepping up his anti-violence profile with an appearance in a music video by the band "Going Dark."

The New Jersey-based group is made up of Oliver Shaw (age 12), LJ Militello (14) and Alex Fogg (15). They have a classic rock sound, with a modern edge and are shooting a video for "Stand Up," a song about standing up to bullies, Tuesday in Jersey.

Martinez shot footage for the video while in training for one of the year's most high profile bouts Sept. 15, when he challenges Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas. He'll attempt to take back the WBC middleweight strap that he wore previously, in 2010.

My take: I simply love the incongruity, or apparent incongruity, of having the boxer, a man who makes his living with his fists, inflicting punishment and pain on another soul, standing up against bullying, in its various forms.

Martinez is a boxer, I must disclose, I like because he represents the sport well, as his skills are immense ... but so is his humility. You don't see the guy getting picked up for this transgression or that. You don't see him not making weight and then being flippant about it. He isn't a too-preachy sort who spends any time proseleytizing.

Yep, full disclosure, I am a Martinez fan.

Do we owe Bob Arum an apology?

July, 13, 2012
Promoter Bob Arum is heading up the Sept. 15 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sergio Martinez middleweight title fight promotion in Las Vegas. He was in town Thursday at a press conference to hype that scrap, and we chatted at the Edison Ballroom. The Brooklyn-born dealmaker had drawn flak in some quarters for well over a year, with some accusing him of orchestrating a ducking campaign, keeping the son of the Mexican legend Chavez from accepting a stiff test against Martinez, the man who gave up the WBC belt Junior holds today, because he didn't care to fight the mandatory defense against Sebastian Zbik. I asked Arum if we, the fight writers who believed and shared that "Arum and Chavez are ducking Martinez" theory owe him and Junior an apology. Because it turns out Arum seemingly did the wise thing, allowing the 26 year-old Junior to get more seasoned, and the 37 year-old Martinez to get more seasoned (cough cough), which is resulting in a bout which many pundits are assessing as a closer scrap than any would have thought a year ago.

So, Bob, do we owe you a mea culpa?

"That's up to you guys," he said. "But I wasn't going to put this kid in against Sergio before he was ready. If we had made the fight before, it would have been like leading the kid to slaughter."

Hey, Arum deserves some of the chops-busting he receives, I think, from those of us who wish he was less of a skilled capitalist -- that is a backwards compliment, by the way -- but in this case, I think Bob knew best, and exhibited the traits that have served him so well in six different decades of fight creation. I'd have to go back and check my archives, but I do think one or two times I may have wondered aloud why Chavez wasn't eager to show the world he wasn't just half-a-chip off the ole block, and test himself the best, in Martinez. So ... Bob, Junior, you were right, and I was wrong.

Sergio rates his Body Issue experience

July, 12, 2012
Peter Hapak for ESPN The MagazineSergio Martinez got a few, um, "notes" after appearing in ESPN The Magazine's 2011 Body Issue.
The ESPN The Magazine Body Issue is once again out in circulation, and with that in mind, I asked ex-middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, who was in town to hype his Sept. 15 clash with current WBC middleweight champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., how his experience posing starkers in the 2011 edition worked out for him. We were at the Edison Ballroom in midtown, and sat down and chatted after a presser concluded.

Was that a positive experience, I asked, through interpreter Nathan Lewkowicz, the New York-based son of Martinez's advisor Sampson Lewkowicz.

Martinez grinned, and answered. And grinned, as he waited for Nathan's interpretation.

"Thousands," Nathan said, "he received thousands of responses, notes and stuff, from that."

I looked at Sergio as my mind drifted to the "notes," and texts, and Jpegs and the like that Sergio was inundated with after his Body Issue appearance.

"From ladies?" I queried.

"Yes," Sergio said, and like the gentleman he is, left it at that.

Like the gentleman I am, so did I.