By Jackie Kallen
OK, so I realize it’s not the popular choice to pick Martinez in his September fight against Chavez, jr. But I can’t understand why not. The bettors have it that way. As of now, Martinez is -220 and Chavez, jr. is +180. That actually makes it a decent bet to lay a few bucks on Chavez, jr. But I am sticking with my original prediction: Martinez.
When you analyze the fight, you can make an argument for either boxer. Depending on how you see these fights, either man has the ability to win. But I have a hunch that Martinez is going to rise to the occasion and derail the Chavez, jr. train. If I am wrong, I will gladly tip my hat off to the young Mexican and admit I picked incorrectly.
I know that junior is only 26 years old, has won 46 fights with no defeats, and is 6’0″ tall. That is pretty impressive. He has also knocked out almost 67% of his opponents, including Andy Lee, Manfredo, and Jose Celaya. He has wins against Duddy, Zbik and Lyell. He is absolutely the future of the middleweight division and is a force to be dealt with.
On the other hand, Martinez is 37 years old, is two inches shorter and has lost twice, including being stopped by Antonio Margarito. But when you consider the fact that the Margarito fight was 12 years ago, it hardly matters. Martinez is a different fighter today. He has desire, knows the clock is ticking, and still has a lot to prove. I love watching him.
Argentine boxers have a rich heritage. Think of Carlos Monzon and Victor Galindez. Martinez is a dedicated athlete who is a tough southpaw. He has KOed more than half his opponents and feels that Chavez, jr. will follow in the footsteps of Paul Williams and Alex Bunema. Kelly Pavlik could not beat Martinez and either could Kermit Cintron.
This fight has boxing fans divided. Those who believe that Junior is invincible are predicting that he will force the South American into retirement. The Martinez fans believe that he is just too much for the younger, cocky Mexican. Both sides present good arguments for their man.
The recent incidents of vandalism against Martinez will hopefully just reinforce his sense of purpose. Waving a red cloth in front of a bull is never a good idea.
I am going to go on record as picking Martinez. Maybe it is my admiration for his determination and strength. Maybe it is my belief that younger does not always equate with better. Or maybe it’s just womanly intuition. In any case, we will know on September 15.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen