By: William Holmes
Along with Vitali Klitschko versus David Haye, this is the biggest fight that could have possibly been made outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, and it’s a fight that many writers and aficionados of boxing have been eagerly anticipating since it has been announced.
It’s a fight that many felt would never happen. Luckily, for the good of sport, the fight has been made and we get to find out who is the best middleweight in the world.
The following is a preview of the main event, as well as the two title matches on the undercard.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0) vs. Robert Marroquin (22-1); WBA Junior Featherweight Title
Guillermo Rigondeaux is quite frankly a beast, and he also may be one of the most avoided boxers in any division.
Rigondeaux has been discussed in previous Boxing Insider columns, but it should be noted he won his first major world title after only nine fights. It’s a rarity for a boxer to get a title shot after so few fights, but when you consider the extensive successful amateur career of Rigondeaux you should not be surprised.
He won the gold medal in the Olympics twice, at the 2000 and 2004 games. He is a Cuban amateur champion, a world amateur champion, and quite simply, has one of the most impressive amateur backgrounds of any boxers … ever.
He’s a southpaw in his early thirties, and he has incredibly quick reflexes and surprising power. He’s made experienced boxers look foolish. He went to Willie Casey’s backyard and schooled him in one round. He knocked out previous champion Rico Ramos in the sixth round and barely broke a sweat. He defeated Philadelphia native Teon Kennedy by a 5th round TKO and knocked him down five times.
He has never looked to be in any serious trouble in any of his fights.
Rigondeaux’s opponent Robert Marroquin has little chance of beating him. The only thing Marroquin has going for him is that he is significantly younger than Rigondeaux, but Rigondeaux is not of an age should be considered past his prime.
Marroquin has 15 TKO/KO’s on his record, so he still has a puncher’s chance. But a close look at his record reveals that he has faced nobody of note or importance. His only loss was a split decision loss in 2011 to Francisco Leal, who had an mediocre record of 14-5-3.
Rigondeaux will win easily again on Saturday, and possible opponents will continue to avoid him like the black plague.
Rocky Martinez (25-1-1) vs. Miguel Beltran (27-1); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
This bout is between two solid fighters who have yet to receive solid fan support. Saturday night will be an excellent opportunity for both fighters to make a statement as to why they deserve billing in high profile boxing cards.
The Puerto Rican boxer Roman “Rocky” Martinez is an orthodox fighter in his prime that has spent most of his career fighting in the 130lb division. He won the WBO Super Featherweight Title by a 4th round TKO over Nicky Cook, and successfully defended it two times before losing a close decision to Ricky Burns, in Burns’ backyard of Scotland.
Martinez rebounded with a successful 6th round TKO over Daniel Attah in October of 2011, but has not fought in nearly a year. Ring rust is likely to be a major factor for Martinez. He has above average power: 16 of his 25 victories have come by way of KO or TKO.
His opponent, Miguel Beltran Jr., is younger and has been considerably more active in the past two years. He defeated Carlos Parra by a six round decision in May of 2012, and fought four times in 2011, including a fight that was ruled no contest against the once defeated Juan Carlos Salgado.
Beltran’s biggest negative against him is that he has only fought in a ten round fight once, and that was a 10th round KO loss to Joksan Hernandez in 2010. He also has faced decent competition, but has yet to defeat anyone of note.
The longer the fight goes the bigger the advantage Martinez has. His long layoff is a concern, and that inactivity makes me give a slight edge to Miguel Beltran Jr. on Saturday night.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-0) vs. Sergio Martinez (49-2); WBC Middleweight Title
Saturday’s main event will be between two boxers with vastly different backgrounds.
Sergio Martinez grew up in a working class family and was a football player before he became a boxer. He actually did not take up boxing until he was twenty years old and turned professional in 1997.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. grew up as the namesake of one of Mexico’s greatest boxers ever, and grew up immersed in the sport. He was often seen inside the ring for his father’s title fights, and began boxing professionally at the young age of seventeen.
Martinez is a southpaw, and has spent most of his career fighting in the junior middleweight division. In fact, Martinez claims he can still make the junior middleweight limit. He’s a smaller middleweight, maybe a little past his prime, but he’s a fighter who reached his peak at a later age than most.
Martinez has incredibly quick reflexes and he has developed a surge in power later on in his career. He has 28 TKO/KO’s on his record, but four of his last five fights have come by way of stoppage. His only two losses was a highly controversial loss to Paul Williams in 2009, a fight he brutally avenged in 2010 with a stunning KO, and a 7th round TKO loss to the disgraced Antonio Margarito in 2000. He has appeared nearly unstoppable since his loss to Williams, and he has quickly risen up the pound for pound rankings.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s record is filled with tomato cans early on in his career, but he had admittedly looked better and better in all of his recent fights and appears to be peaking at the right time.
Chavez Jr. is a pressure fighter who likes to attack to the body, and he will be the naturally bigger man on Saturday. He’s been brought along slowly, but since 2011 he has beaten the likes of Sebastian Zbik, Peter Manfredo Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, and Andy Lee.
Chavez Jr. looked extremely impressive against Lee. Lee, like Martinez, is a southpaw, but Chavez Jr. easily walked through his punches and delivered a withering body attack that eventually caused the fight to be stopped in the seventh round.
Chavez Jr. handlers picked this fight at the right time, when Chavez Jr. is peaking and Sergio Martinez is seemingly on the decline. It will be an action packed fight, but I expect Chavez Jr. to pull off the victory.