Despite reports circulating that a deal is close to being made for a rematch between long-retired former middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez and former titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing downplayed the possibility of the fight Thursday.
"It's not true," Hearn told ESPN about a deal being close. "Yes, I have spoken to both fighters regarding the fight, but there is no contract, nothing signed, no deal in place. It's something that has been discussed, but a deal is not imminent. It's not at all done."
If the fight, which would take place at super middleweight, were to be made, Hearn would put it on the newly launched all-sports streaming service DAZN, with which he has an eight-year contract to provide boxing content. But is Hearn interested in putting on the fight, and does he think it will ultimately get done?
"I'm curious about the fight, but honestly I don't think it has legs, no pun intended," Hearn said of the fight rumored for Nov. 17 either in Las Vegas or a site in Texas.
When Martinez defeated Chavez in September 2012, Martinez suffered a severe right knee injury that required two surgeries and ultimately led to his retirement.
In the 2012 fight, Martinez retained the lineal middleweight world title and took Chavez's sanctioning body title in one of that year's biggest fights. Martinez won a lopsided decision, 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110 in a dominant performance, but there was high drama in the final 90 seconds of the fight when Chavez badly hurt and knocked a bleeding Martinez to the canvas in what would have been a remarkable comeback.
Had Chavez finished Martinez -- who fought back valiantly -- it would have been shades of what his legendary father, Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., did when he was trailing Meldrick Taylor before generating one of the most famous comebacks in boxing history when he knocked him out with two seconds left in the 12th round to unify junior welterweight world titles in their famed 1990 fight of the year.
Hearn said he was "shocked" when Martinez told him he was considering a return to the ring. After the victory over Chavez, Martinez fought only twice more, winning a debatable decision in an Argentina homecoming fight in 2013 in which Martinez was knocked down and again re-injured his knee, and a one-sided 10th-round knockout loss to Miguel Cotto that cost him his title in 2014. Martinez came into that fight with a brace on his knee and was severely hampered by a pre-fight injury that left him as a sitting duck for Cotto. He also suffered a concussion against Cotto.
But Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs), 43, the 2010 fighter of the year and also a former junior middleweight world titlist, has told people his knee is now healthy and that he's itching to return.
If Martinez does exit retirement, Lou DiBella, his longtime promoter, and Sampson Lewkowicz, his longtime adviser, have both said they would not be involved because neither believes Martinez should fight again.
Chavez (50-3-1, 32 KOs), 32, of Mexico, has not fought since he barely made an effort in a shutout decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in May 2017.