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Martinez has surgery, eyes April 27 return, then Chavez rematch

Fighters Network

RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez will “pursue a rematch” on Sept. 14 with Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. after first facing an opponent to be determined in an HBO-televised bout from his native Argentina on April 27, according to Martinez’s advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz

Martinez (50-2-2, 28 knockouts) dethroned Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) as WBC titleholder by unanimous decision before a sold-out crowd of 19,186 in an HBO Pay Per View-televised clash at the Thomas and Mack Center on Sept. 15.

Martinez, 37, suffered torn ligaments in his right knee during the fight, after which he also received eight stitches to repair a cut over his left eye, two staples in his head and suffered from what initially appeared to be a broken left hand.

Surgery to repair Martinez’s knee “went very well” in Madrid on Monday, said Lewkowicz, who expects to receive more details about the procedure on Tuesday.

“Everything went very well, and worked out beautifully, and we expect to receive official information tomorrow directly from the doctor,” said Lewkowicz. “The only thing that I know is that he received total anesthesia, and that he is sleeping right now.”

Lewkowicz listed as potential venues Estadio Unico in La Plata, and both Luna Park and Monumental Stadium, each of which is in Buenos Aires, and Martinez’s top considerations for opponents as Jose Miguel Torres (26-5, 23 KOs), of Colombia, Martin Murray (24-0-1, 10 KOs), of England, Domenico Spada (36-4, 18 KOs), of Italy, and Kerry Hope (17-4, 1 KO), of Wales.

“I believe that we will have an agreement with HBO, that is, if they agree on the opponent that we choose,” said Lewkowicz. “There are four guys on the list, so we can’t confirm the opponent because we don’t have it in black and white.”

Torres, 33, is coming off a first-round knockout of Jose Soto in August that represented his fourth straight stoppage victory and his fifth consecutive win since falling by unanimous decision to Yudel Johnson in June of last year.

Murray, 30, will be after his second consecutive victory when he meets Venezuela’s Jorge Navarro (12-0, 10 KOs) for the WBA’s interim belt in on Nov. 24, having battled to a disputed draw against then-WBA titleholder Felix Sturm in December of last year.

Spada, 32, has won four consecutive fights, two of them by knockout, since falling by unanimous decision in April of last year to then-unbeaten Darren Barker. Barker was knocked out in the 11th round of his next fight by Martinez in October of last year.

Hope, 31, had his five-bout winning streak ended in July by eighth-round knockout against Grzegorz Proksa, who was subsequently stopped in the fifth round by Gennady Golovkin in September. A winner of an earlier bout against Proksa by majority decision in March, Hope must first get beyond a Nov. 17 bout opposite Norbert Szekeres.

Chavez is also considering an interim bout, according to his promoter, Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum, although much depends on Chavez’s eligibility in the wake of having tested positive for marijuana metabolites consistent with the use of the drug in the aftermath of his loss to Martinez.

Within a week of the fight, Chavez, 26, declared that he takes “full responsibility for my actions and the consequences thereof” relating to the post-fight positive infraction, which was was confirmed by Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer.

Kizer said Chavez could appear before the NSAC “as early as December” to address his situation. If found guilty, Chavez can be penalized or fined for the entire amount of his $3 million purse, suspended for up to a year, or a combination of both. Martinez pocketed $1.4 million for the bout.

Against Chavez, Martinez rose from a knockdown in the 12th round after having dominated the first 11, winning by scores of 118-109 on the cards of judges Dave Moretti and Adalaide Byrd, and, 117-110, on that of Stanley Christodoulu.

Chavez, who won a total of just four of the 36 rounds scored by the judges, floored Martinez with a series of blows in the final round that was highlighted by three head-swiveling left hooks.

Martinez appeared to have twisted his right leg while spiraling to the canvas and also while attempting to support himself by holding onto Chavez.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]