On June 4th Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pulled out a tougher-than-expected majority decision over Germany’s Sebastian Zbik in a grueling fight. Taking place inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Chavez-Zbik was a showcase of both Chavez’s grit as well as his limitations in certain areas.
On the undercard to Chavez-Zbik, former female champion Christy Martin returned to the ring after a nearly two-year absence as she met Dakota Stone in a rematch in pursuit of her 50th win as a professional. But while the record books will forever show Martin coming up short by way of 6th round TKO, there is much more to her recent story than meets the eye.
With Martin in her corner was trainer and respected cut man Miguel Diaz, who gave me his take on the fight.
“The fight was in Christy’s favor,” Diaz told me. “When they stopped the fight in the sixth round she was ahead on all three judges’ [cards]. The problem was, in the fourth round, she hit her with a straight right hand right at the temple and she came to the corner and she said ‘I broke my hand’.”
Sure enough, Martin would fracture her hand in three places, and despite fighting on the fight was eventually halted.
“Immediately I turned around and I saw the referee,” Diaz continued. “I told her ‘Don’t say a thing’. To make a long story short, the referee asked Christy if she broke her hand and she said ‘No’. We fought the fifth round with a broken hand. Everybody saw it. At the start of the sixth and final round, she pulled her hand a little bit and that’s when the referee called the doctor and they stopped the fight.”
Definitely a case of hard luck but Diaz has been around the sport over sixty years and recognizes how the game is. As our talk continued he noted that he didn’t stick around to watch Chavez’s victory over Zbik and didn’t seem interested in one day seeing the 25-year old Mexican in the ring with Miguel Cotto as it had been rumored, instead showing interest in a rematch between Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
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Cotto-Margarito II is now penciled in for December 3rd in Las Vegas but there are a few more bouts taking place before than that I had to run by Diaz. On November 12th Manny Pacquiao defends his WBO welterweight title against heated rival Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada in a trilogy that has people split as towards their anticipation towards the contest.
Diaz has had a unique perspective of Pacquiao in recent years, serving his corner as a cut man dating back to his December 2008 drubbing of Oscar De La Hoya, and believes the third fight with Marquez will be a crowning night for the Filipino star.
“I think it will be the coronation of Pacquiao. It’s going to be a good fight again but I think that Pacquiao will prevail in a good fight, a very good fight,” stated Diaz.
Two months before Pacquiao looks for another statement the boxing world will be witness to the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. as he faces off with WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz. Mayweather is an 8-1 underdog coming out of the gates but those odds seem wide given Floyd’s age and the fact that Ortiz is coming off of his biggest win as a pro with his April victory over Andre Berto.
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Diaz doesn’t see this one as a mismatch, more so a real fight.
“Very, very intriguing fight. Ortiz looked good beating Berto. Regardless if he went down a couple times, he left himself open when he punched. The same thing happened with Maidana but in this particular time, he was more courageous than he was with Maidana. He kept punching and fighting. Maybe the fact that he was moving to 147 pounds helped him a lot. It’s going to be a very interesting fight.”
Diaz was with Mayweather during the early years of his professional career and he is quick to point out that despite Mayweather’s inactivity, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be rusty come fight night.
“We know that Mayweather is always in shape. Don’t let it fool you, the sixteen-month layoff. Mayweather is always keeping his body in shape all the time. It’s going to be a good confrontation of styles. A boxer against a puncher.”
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]