LAS VEGAS -- The hard feelings between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and his world middleweight title opponent, Sergio Martinez, spilled into their news conference Wednesday.
Martinez’s trainer, Pablo Sarmiento, called Chavez a “chicken,” adding his slightly favored, 37-year-old fighter will “pull the head off” his opponent at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday.
Chavez (46-0-1, 32 knockouts) lashed back at Martinez, who has called the son of the Mexican boxing legend a protected, privileged figure who will be exposed by meeting the 2010 fighter of the year.
Chavez criticized Martinez’s own recent opposition -- anonymous Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin -- then took a shot at the Argentinian’s fighting style.
“He only talks,” Chavez said. “At the time of the fight, he only runs and runs. He doesn’t fight for the people. He doesn’t fight for the sport. ... He’ll have me all over him for 12 rounds this Saturday."”
Glaring at Martinez, Chavez said, “I’m going to retire you from boxing.”
Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) chafes at how the World Boxing Council elevated, or stripped, him from his middleweight belt last year, giving him “emeritus” status while opening a door for Chavez to claim the belt by beating Sebastian Dzik at Staples Center.
He further burns at the career fast-tracking Chavez, 26, has enjoyed due to name recognition.
“I never was a puppet of my promoter,” Martinez said.
Martinez threatened “to break,” Chavez’s face “1,000 times.”
“It will not be an easy knockout,” Martinez said. “I will punish him a lot of time, and I hope someone in your corner stops the fight. Because I will never stop punishing you.
“You’re not supposed to have taken this fight. This one will be painful for you.”
The pay-per-view bout is to be preceded by an undercard that will include Mexico’s Miguel Beltran (27-1-0, 17 KOs) versus Roman Martinez (25-1-1, 16 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Organization super-featherweight title, along with the World Boxing Assn. super-bantamweight title fight between Roberto Marroquin and unbeaten Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs).