September 19, 2012

Martinez-Chavez Jr. Bout Did Little to Help the State of Boxing

By - Andy Garcia

Boxing in general has been a sport since 688 B.C. and modern day prize fighting has been around for centuries. It has been one of the most popular sports in the world for decades.

However, the love for it has diminished over the years, and some people have even said 'boxing is dead.'

There are many reasons for this. Allegations of fixing fights, top name boxers trying to avoid fighting each other, and boxers doing it for the money and not the love of the sport are just a few of the sources of blame.

Boxing just isn't what it used to be. There aren't near as many "big" fights anymore. You can only expect a handful every year.

What you can count on is Mexican Independence Day weekend. The weekend of September 16th is known for notable boxing matches -- and this year was no exception.

The middleweight championship bout between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was not just the most anticipated Pay-Per-View, but also the most anticipated fight of 2012, period.

Photo by: Getty Images
There was a great deal of hype leading up to the bout that saw both fighters repeatedly running their mouths. From HBO's 24/7 specials to the weigh-ins the day before the match, the trash talk was plentiful.

Martinez and Chavez Jr. even taunted each other during the fight.

Everyone expected a close, explosive bout, but up until the 12th and last round, it was completely one-sided.

For 11 rounds, Maravilla (Marvel, as they call him) dominated Chavez Jr. It isn't that the 37-year-old Martinez is a superior fighter than his 26-year-old counterpart, but rather that he seemed to want it more than Chavez Jr. It was evident that Julio did not throw nearly as many punches as he should have.

In fact, Martinez landed nearly as many punches as Chavez Jr. threw throughout the entire fight. Martinez landed a career-high 322 of his 908 total punches thrown, also a career-high.

Chavez Jr. only landed 178 of 390 punches.

While Chavez Jr. was more efficient in every category, landing 46% of his total punches, 37% of his jabs, and 50% of his power punches, it was not nearly enough to earn himself the victory.

Unless a knockout is scored, boxing matches are ultimately left up to the 3 judges to decide, and it is not always who lands a better percentage in the ring. Many factors can sway a judge to score the bout for a particular fighter.

Effort is certainly one of them.

Martinez only landed 35% of his total punches, 28% of his jabs, and 45% of his power punches -- but he made it clear that he wanted to win the fight more. The jab is the bread and butter of boxing, and Chavez Jr. didn't even throw as many jabs as Martinez landed.

Certainly not a recipe for success.

The lopsided affair was all but over, when Chavez Jr. suddenly woke up in the final round and almost stole the fight via knockout. Martinez was pummeled and sent crashing down to the canvas before getting back up and finishing the fight.

You can never be so sure exactly what the judges see, but this time they got it right. Martinez easily won with a unanimous decision.

The last minute assault by Chavez Jr. was too little too late. Why he did not show that much aggression earlier is beyond me. His trainer Freddie Roach even told him after the 10th round that he needed to score a knockout in order to come away with the win.

All in all, It was surprising that Chavez Jr. did not put up a better showing. He had everything to lose. He was the undefeated champ and had been widely criticized for having not fought a big time name yet. This was his chance to really prove himself for the first time.

The effort was so minute that spectators even wondered if the fix was in.

It is hard to believe that this fight was rigged, but with the way boxing has been over the last few years, you can never write it off completely.

Millions of viewers who were frustrated or bored out of their minds for 11 rounds surely got their money's worth in the 12th round. It was reminiscent of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.'s 12th round knockout of Meldrick Taylor back in 1990, where Taylor was leading throughout much of the contest, but was knocked out by the bigger, stronger Chavez Sr. with only seconds to go in the fight.

The Martinez-Chavez Jr. bout obviously didn't end the same way, and that is fitting. Like I said, boxing isn't what it used to be.

A rematch is very likely to take place, and if it does, don't be surprised if Chavez Jr. comes out swinging and gets an early knockout. The potential is definitely there.

But that's what boxing is all about nowadays -- the rematch. It seems like there is a rematch of every fight and more times than not it isn't because it was a spectacular fight, but rather because something didn't go as planned.

Whether it's because one of the boxers didn't meet expectations or the judges can't get a Pacquiao-Marquez decision right, the "big" fights just don't live up to the hype these days. It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly the problem is, but something has to change.

No, boxing isn't dead yet -- but it's definitely on life support.


  1. Good read Andy, but as one of the few boxing fans left around, Mayweather vs Cotto was much more anticipated I believe than the fight last saturday night. I really believe committed fight fans are still watching, their have been multiple 1+ million PPV's just this year, so i think its more alive than people think.

  2. MMA has hurt boxing alot, and I don't know why it is so popular. Its pretty gay if you ask me.

  3. Chavez looked like a bum the biggest part of the fight. Sorry showing on his part.