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Thursday, September 13, 2012
Chavez's youth, freshness may favor him

By Chris Lees

Top Rank/Chris FarinaJulio Cesar Chavez Jr. is looking for another reason to celebrate on Saturday.

On Saturday, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. looks to start his own era in boxing. For this to happen, he must wrestle the recognized middleweight championship of the world from Sergio Martinez.

How tough will this be?

Martinez has been the dominant 160-pounder on the planet for the last two years. During his five-fight win streak, Martinez’ opponents had a combined record of 163-5.

Martinez stopped four of those opponents, including a second-round knockout of Paul Williams.

The fighter known as “Maravilla” is ranked in the top four, according to both ESPN and THE RING Magazine, among the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers.

Martinez is likely on the downswing of his career. You could argue Martinez has never suffered a legitimate defeat.

Many felt he was on the wrong side of a majority decision against Paul Williams in December 2009.

His other loss came at the hands of Antonio Margarito in February 2000 (the same Margarito who was suspended for using illegal hand wraps).

An advantage Chavez may have in his corner is his youth. He is 11 years younger than the champion.

Chavez Jr. has faced tougher opposition as of late. In his last outing, Chavez Jr. stopped Andy Lee (who entered with a 28-1 record) in 7 rounds. Prior to that, he defeated a game Marco Antonio Rubio, who was coming off a 10-fight win streak.

Chavez Jr. comes from a boxing-rich bloodline. During his career, his father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., won world titles in three different weight classes (the first Mexican ever to do that).

He went unbeaten in his first 90 fights (89-0-1), before dropping a decision to Frankie Randall in 1994.

Chavez Sr.’s 31 wins in title fights is still a boxing record. He retired in 2005 with a record of 107-6-2. In 2011, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Inside the Numbers

During the fighters’ last four matches, Chavez Jr. has been able to land a greater percentage of punches compared to Martinez. The chart on the right shows the difference.

Chavez also has less wear-and-tear on his body.

He has only five fewer fights on his resume than Martinez (48 to 53), but it’s the total number of rounds fought which provides a possible edge. Martinez has fought 139 additional rounds than Chavez Jr. has in his career.

Information from CompuBox was used in this post.