Middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez says that he's certain WBC titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has not signed the WBC's contract for a fight later this year, as was allegedly required by the sanctioning body in order to sanction Chavez's June 16 fight against Andy Lee as a WBC world title fight.
The question now, in my view, is whether or not anyone is really trying to make a Martinez vs Chavez fight, or if this is all a scam designed to get boxing fans passionate about something no one actually cares about, but we'll come back to that in a moment.
The contract in question was to be signed by all three parties, as Martinez, who has been waiting for a promised shot at Chavez and the title that was wrongly stripped from him by a colluding group of power brokers, was to face the winner of the June 16 fight. Martinez signed in early April.
Had everyone not signed, or if particularly Chavez had not signed, the idea was that Chavez would be stripped of the title for not facing his mandatory challenger, something he has yet to do going into the third defense of the title he won against Sebastian Zbik last year.
"I already signed. From my hands [the document] went to Andy Lee. From Lee it went to Chavez, and I think from there it went to the Bermuda Triangle - because it disappeared," Martinez said.
"The [WBC] said Chavez signed. Then I, as any sensible person, asked them to give me a copy [of the document]. Is there a document that exists with the signature of Chavez Jr.? I do not think so. Why? Because I have not seen it. I asked them to send me a copy by e-mail and everyone is quiet and no copy was sent."
Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO) has a good line here with the Bermuda Triangle comment, and frankly it's not like this is something that could have been unexpected by, well, anyone. Top Rank keeps talking about Chavez fighting Martinez, and maybe Arum and Co. are sincere that they'd do it -- Arum says his matchmakers believe Chavez can win that fight later this year. But Chavez or the WBC or someone does not want this fight to happen. Period. If they did, this wouldn't be an issue right now.
The WBC has been fiddle-fucking around with this for a year now, promising Martinez that they'll give him the shot, and then Martinez and promoter Lou DiBella alternate between calling Chavez a punk and giving the impression that they think the fight will actually happen -- DiBella is more outspoken than Martinez, but let's be real here.
DiBella has been able to benefit from this whole saga because with Andy Lee getting a title shot on June 16, that makes two guys in his stable who aren't Sergio Martinez, who have now fought Chavez for good money on HBO. Peter Manfredo, who fought Chavez in November, was also a DiBella fighter.
Honestly, at this point, I feel like I have to call everyone into question if I'm going to call anyone into question, and that includes Martinez, who was happy to parade around with his stupid WBC Diamond belt in March against Matthew Macklin, and fought right there on HBO, despite protests from he and DiBella, who allegedly considered moving away from the network they claimed favored Chavez, just as the WBC has.
Right now I'm seeing all of this as some kind of growing soap opera, and everyone knows their role. Martinez gets to keep his name in the headlines, and I question if there is any sincere desire to fight Chavez, or any real effort to make that happen. I mean, I'm sure Martinez would like to do it, since it figures to not be any great challenge for him, plus a career-best payday, but is it really a priority? I have my doubts anymore.
This has all gone on too long and everyone has been able to benefit -- Martinez, Chavez, the WBC, HBO, Top Rank, DiBella and two of his "other" fighters, the Texas commission (which has hosted Chavez's last two fights, plus his upcoming fight). Everyone.
I'm starting to feel like a guy who just figured out he's in a pyramid scheme when it comes to this fight, and now every time someone has a "business venture" for me, I'm going to be exceedingly paranoid. Maybe it's just me, but the whole damn thing has become suspect, from every side.
Chavez has never needed "credibility," since he has his name, so he just keeps on being Chavez, while Sergio gets to maintain his credibility as the ducked real champion. It doesn't negatively impact Chavez in any way, and doesn't hurt Sergio's stock in any way. HBO gets fights from both guys, the WBC gets to keep their favored son in the spot they want him, Top Rank doesn't have to risk Chavez's undefeated mark and cash cow status against a guy he probably can't beat, DiBella gets big fights for his lesser middleweights, Texas hosts the Chavez fights, and everyone's a winner.
Call it a conspiracy theory if you wish, but I'm just not buying the sincerity of any alleged negotiations for Martinez vs Chavez, until the fight is actually signed and promoted. No one is hurting with this fight not happening, and both men receive the media attention just by floating the idea. Like Ward vs Bute, this has turned into another minor version of Mayweather vs Pacquiao, with everyone talking and nobody acting.