Star Boxing matchmaker Ron Katz, with four decades in the sport tucked into his belt, has seen every configuration of match. So he's well acquainted with the "young gun vs. the skilled but aging vet" sort of scrap which will unfold on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas, between the son of the legend, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and 37-year-old ace Sergio Martinez.
Katz, who grew up in White Plains, cut his teeth watching Teddy Brenner do his thing as Top Rank's East Coast matchmaker. Bob Arum said when Brenner died in 2000 that there will never be one better than Brenner. Katz picked up knowledge from the right tutor.
So, Ron, will the young'un show the graybeard that he's past his prime?
"Sergio should win. He's the much better fighter. He's much more experienced," Katz told NYFightBlog. "He's been in with better guys. Chavez is banking on him looking like he did his last couple fights. But those showings could have been by design. Chavez is slow afoot. He's strong and big. But what's he gonna do when Martinez is dancing, popping in and out?
"Chavez is counting on Martinez wearing down late. But I don't think Chavez has had a great camp. Weight is always an issue. Anything can happen, but Martinez is the better, more experienced fighter. There's no indication he's going to turn old Saturday night."
Katz, who also soaked up tidbits from Johnny Bos and Bruce Trampler, two other skilled artisans, thinks Martinez wasn't as geared up for his last couple fights, against Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. "A stoppage win for Martinez is possible because Chavez hasn't been in a fight like this," he said. "We don't know his mental makeup. Apparently, he doesn't have the greatest character. He struggled with a couple mediocre guys. He looked good against Andy Lee. But Lee is frail. He broke him down, but I don't think he can do that with this guy. We will see, though. Stranger things have happened."
UPDATE: Katz reached out to me a couple hours later. "I'm vacillating," he told me. He said when the fight was announced, he'd leaned towards the kid. As of this writing, he sees Martinez winning, and it being 60-40 in the vet's favor. "But if all we're seeing and reading about Chavez' preparation are true, then it'll be very difficult for him to win."