Super middleweight for Chavez?

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. weighed in at 158 pounds on Friday, but he struggles to make middleweight. Chris Farina/Top Rank

LAS VEGAS -- Middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who routinely struggles to get down to 160 pounds, made it on Friday with two pounds to spare at the weigh-in for his fight with lineal champ Sergio Martinez on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Martinez, as usual, looked strong, weighing in at 159 pounds.

Despite the fact that Chavez came in at 158, trainer Freddie Roach has been an advocate of a move up to the 168-pound super middleweight division.

"Weight's always a problem," Roach said. "We're never going to make 160 easily."

At least for this fight, Chavez -- who likely will enter the ring in the high 170s after rehydrating -- didn't have to cut 16 pounds in the final two days before he weighed in to face Marco Antonio Rubio in February. He had a little easier time for his June fight against Andy Lee.

Still, as the 26-year-old Chavez gets older, making 160 will get harder and harder.

"He's a big kid at 160,” Roach said. "I always say he should go to '68, but he always disagrees with me. I've seen him suffer to make the weight and I think he'd be a much stronger and better fighter at '68. But I can't convince him of that yet."

Roach said he hopes the fight against Martinez is his last one at middleweight.

"He'll be stronger and healthier, and I think '68 is the better weight for him," Roach said. "We have some good opponents up there. Andre Ward looked great [last Saturday in a knockout win against light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson]. I don't think we’d fight [Ward] first, but Ward would come somewhere along the way."

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said the division Chavez fights in is up to the fighter, not him.

"Obviously, fighting at 160 gives him a huge advantage because he outsizes his opponents, but that's for him to decide," Arum said. "He knows his own body."

Chavez admitted that he hasn't lost the weight properly for some of his fights, resulting in tired legs during his bouts. But he also said he can still make 160, proving so on Friday.

"I feel great at 160 now that I know how to take the weight off the right way," Chavez said through a translator. "I know I can do 160."

It remains to be seen for how much longer.