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Title shot may be next

Boxing: Martirosyan linked to Chavez Jr. as possible next opponent.

December 15, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

As the calendar turns to 2012, there's sure to be no shortage of rumors and hypotheticals tossed about as to who, when and where Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan will fight next.

On Monday, Boxing News 24's Jason Kim reported a particularly juicy one — Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Feb. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

At first glance, the matchup would seem to have everything the Glendale-based Martirosyan (31-0, 19 knockouts) has been clamoring for lately.

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At 44-0-1 with a fervent following and a famous bloodline, Chavez Jr. is a bigger fish in the boxing world than any of Martirosyan's previous foes. Chavez Jr. would be putting a major title on the line in the World Boxing Council middleweight belt and the whole thing is slated to be part of an action-packed HBO doubleheader, ensuring maximum exposure.

"I think it's a great fight," said Martirosyan, whose pursuit of Saul Alvarez' WBC light middleweight title appears to be on indefinite hold. "It's going to be a good fight because we both know each other very well."

Still, it all remains a rumor at this point, even though Martirosyan confirmed that he has been approached about the possibility of being matched up with Chavez Jr. by his promoter, Top Rank.

For one, Martirosyan is not alone in the equation — Kim also reported that Marco Antonio Rubio, who is fighting Matt Vanda for the vacant WBC Latino middleweight title on Friday, is also being considered for the fight — and there's no guarantee at this point that Chavez Jr. would take a fight against either man.

"They said I'm one of the people they're looking at for the fight, nothing's official yet," said Martirosyan, who is coming off a dominant 10-round decision over Richard Gutierrez on Oct. 29. "They might be waiting until Friday to see what happens with the Rubio fight."

Martirosyan, who was also in negotiations to face Alfredo Angulo earlier this year before ultimately turning down the fight, would also have to move up in weight class to take on Chavez, Jr. Martirosyan primarily fights in the 154-pound junior middleweight class, while Chavez Jr. is the 160-pound kingpin.

"My last fight I was 158, so I feel pretty good [about moving up to middleweight]," Martirosyan said.

Martirosyan and Chavez Jr. have been linked in various ways throughout their similarly undefeated ascent through the pro ranks. The two share a trainer in Hall of Famer Freddie Roach and were the co-stars of a June 4 card at Staples Center, which they promoted side by side. It was at that event that Chavez Jr. defeated Sebastian Zbik for his WBC belt.

Then, of course, there's the now infamous sparring session between the two at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in May, now immortalized on YouTube, in which Martirosyan was quicker and landed more shots.

"We're both going to bang," Martirosyan said. "Everybody was talking about that sparring that we had, so they can see YouTube and see how the fight's going to be."

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