Q&A: Sergio Martinez on setting an example; Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tells best, worst boxing moments (Yahoo! Sports)


(Editor's note: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez will meet in the ring on Sept. 15. Yahoo! Sports will feature special Q&A entries featuring the two middleweights in the build-up to their fight.)

Sergio Martinez
You're involved with multiple charities and causes, you participated in a TV dance competition back home in Argentina, and you generally represent the sport with class. Do you consider yourself an example that a boxer doesn't have to take on a thuggish persona to be a world-class fighter?

I believe that as a professional athlete in the public eye, it is my duty to be the voice to the individuals and groups that cannot be heard. This is very close to my heart and that is why I devote my time to many causes to bring awareness to these issues. I would agree with that statement that you do not have to act with a negative demeanor or a thuggish attitude in order to be a world-class fighter. In the end the people that you are trying to impress with that attitude will not be there to help you once your career is over.

What is important is dedicating yourself to your profession and acting like a professional and with hard work and a good clean lifestyle you can possibly be a world class fighter. In my whole life, I have never drank alcohol or smoked tobacco, always ate healthy, and always stayed active. I believe this is physically the recipe to being a world class fighter. But it is also a mental challenge to get to that level. You have to be prepared mentally and if you have some of the nuisances that come a long with a thuggish persona, then it will be very difficult to reach that level of being a world class fighter.

The up and coming fighters that will be on the world stage have to be cognizant that once you are in the public eye and have a public forum, that it is a great opportunity to give a voice and recognition to those that are less fortunate and bring awareness to social issues that normally wouldn't get the attention. My goal is bring awareness to end bullying in schools and end domestic violence against women. I believe with the platform I have I could help out.


Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Discuss your best and worst memory as a fighter, and which wins -- amateur or professional -- have been the most satisfying or memorable?

"My best memory as a fighter is winning the world middleweight championship. It was my dream to become a world champion. That's why I decided to become a professional fighter. Beating Sebastian Zbik in Los Angeles to become the middleweight champion is something that I will never forget and for so many reasons. Not many people believed that I could do it and that inspired me. The select few who did believe in me encouraged me and sacrificed for me. And to win the title only a few blocks from the old Olympic where my father won his first world title, well, that made it even more special for me. My father and I will always be linked together because we won our first world championship belts in the same city."

"My worst memory was In July 2008 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico I had a very difficult time in the ring. It was very hot all week and I started getting sick the day before the weigh-in and never fully recuperated after the weigh-in. I had a fever the night before the fight but I went through with the fight and the last two rounds where the most difficult time I had in the ring. I could barely walk and was just standing up because of my pride and my heart. I threw up in the ring after the fight and had a fever"

"My most memorable victory was against Zbik and winning the middleweight championship of the world. It was a very difficult fight early but I was able to come back in the second half of the fight and win it. It is a feeling that will stay with me forever. To hear the ring announcer say, 'The winner and new...' That is something I will never forget. That is something I never want to forget. Of course I now like hearing the ring announcer say, ' The winner, and still…' and that's exactly what he will say in the ring on September 15 after my fight Sergio Martinez ends."

Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez takes place Sat., Sept. 15 live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.

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