Sergio Martinez will knockout Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. later this evening

Sergio Martinez is a true great in the squared circle.

The Ring and WBC Diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez
is set to overwhelm WBC middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. later this evening at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), the 2010 “Fighter of the Year” who is currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the third preeminent pound-for-pound boxer in the world, last fought on St. Paddy’s Day when he battered Matthew Macklin until the Irishman’s corner halted the mismatch shortly before the 12th round.

Similarly, the 26-year-old Chavez (46-0-1-1, 32 KOs), nicknamed “The Legend Goes On” because he is the son of iconic pugilist Julio Caesar Chavez, last fought in June by making the fourth defense of his crown with an impressive seventh round TKO over Ireland’s top contender Andy Lee at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Martinez and Chavez are polar opposites in all regards and the likable Argentinean has been uncharacteristically mouthy and somewhat nasty in recent months.

“Sergio Martinez was raised in a slum, the worst ghetto in Argentina, with no shoes,” said Martinez promoter Lou DiBella, 52, a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Law School. “He had to fight his way through bullies just to get to school. He had to go to Europe to fight for peanuts. He got $900 to fight Antonio Margarito [in a 2000 knockout loss]. It took him until his early 30s to become a name or an attraction in boxing. Contrast the superstar kid — son of the legend, who’s had everything on a silver platter — and the other had to work his ass off to get it. Sergio is more chippy than I have ever seen him. He just doesn’t like this kid.”

Martinez, who also dabbled professionally as a cyclist and soccer player and only began boxing at the late age of 20, has predicted he will brutalize Chavez before earning a knockout prior to the ninth round.

“I will break his face a thousand times,” said Martinez, 37, who has long been actively involved in domestic violence and anti-bullying causes. “This will not be an easy knockout. I will punish him a lot. And after that, I will knock him out and he will suffer a lot. He won’t be eating solid food with the few teeth remaining after I get through with him.”

Roger “Pit” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton (Mass.) who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Training.

“Chavez has a great record,” Perron, 75, who worked in the 1980s with International Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the Petronelli Brothers Gym. “But, he doesn’t impress me that much.”

Perron eventually softened his stance against Chavez and lauded the virtues of the man voted Trainer of the Year on four occasions by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).

“Any fighter Freddie Roach pays attention to has to be good. So, who knows what he’ll (Chavez) become with time.”

Roach has honed Chavez’s abilities and the youngster is blessed with a granite chin and impressive size.

Nevertheless, in a compelling and often brutal scrap, Sergio Martinez will “punish” Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and become the first prizefighter to knock the precocious Mexican onto Queer Street roughly seven hours from now.

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