MANILA, Philippines – Middleweight boxers Sergio Martinez of Argentina and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico are open to fighting for a second time after an exciting finish to their first encounter last Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday morning in Manila).
Martinez reclaimed the World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight belt by defeating Chavez via unanimous decision, but the Argentinian boxer had to survive a remarkable 12th round fightback by the Mexican prodigy.
After getting dominated in the first 11 rounds, Chavez looked as though he would be able to pull off a victory when he floored Martinez in the 12th round.
But Chavez could not finish off the Argentinian, and Martinez hung on for a 118-109, 118-109, and 117-110 points victory.
Chavez admitted in a Boxing Scene interview that he “started way too late,” but believes he has the right to call for a rematch.
“I had him hurt, but I couldn’t finish him off. I think a rematch is justified,” Chavez said. “I hurt him like no one else before.”
Chavez, the son of Mexico’s most beloved boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., said he was “20 seconds away” from knocking Martinez out.
“I started way too late,” he lamented. “Going into the fight, I thought I was able to do all night what I did in that final round.”
In a separate Boxing Scene interview, Martinez said he will be open to another fight against Chavez.
“He fought a great fight and he was a lot tougher than I expected,” Martinez said. “He showed great heart.”
“If Julio wants a rematch, we’ll do a rematch,” he added.
Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum is already working on a second encounter, which he believes may happen at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
“After the fight I recevied a phone call from (Dallas Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones, who said that he wants a rematch at Cowboys Stadium,” Arum told Boxing Scene.
“We will pack 100,000 people in the stadium next year,” he added.
Martinez had given Chavez Jr. a boxing clinic in the first 11 rounds and the Argentinian looked as though he was crusing to an easy victory.
But Martinez, who had his hands dropped to his sides for most of the fight, was finally caught in the 12th round and even reportedly suffered a knee injury when he got knocked down.
Even his promoter, Lou DiBella, was at a loss to explain the final moments of the fight.
“You saw a boxing clinic for 11 rounds and you saw an epic last round. I don’t know how he (Martinez) held on,” DiBella said.