• Middleweight

Murray lined up for Chavez Jr fight

May 9, 2013
Martin Murray came close to a shock win over Sergio Martinez © AP

Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be back in action on August 3, in Mexico City, with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum telling ESPN.com that Britain's Martin Murray is the likely opponent.

Murray recently lost a close decision challenging champion Sergio Martinez in Martinez's Argentina homecoming fight in front of nearly 50,000 fans in Buenos Aires on April 27.

"We are trying to finalise with Martin Murray, but we will have Chavez's next fight at the new arena in Mexico City," Arum said.

Chavez had been penciled in to fight on July 13, but it is being pushed back to hold the fight at the 23,000-seat Mexico City Arena, the $300 million venue that opened last year. Arum said the building was booked on July 13, so they moved the fight to August 3, a date when the building was available and one that worked for HBO, which will televise the fight in the United States.

The fight will be Chavez's first since losing a lopsided decision and his alphabet belt to lineal champion Martinez at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on September 15, 2012. Although Chavez was dominated, the fight dramatically concluded with Chavez scoring a hard knockdown and nearly knocking Martinez out in the final 90 seconds.

Chavez was subsequently suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for nine months and was fined $900,000 (30 percent) of his $3 million purse for testing positive for marijuana after the fight. Although the 27-year-old Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) accepted the suspension, he has yet to pay the fine and his handlers said they will fight it in the courts.

Chavez was supposed to face Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs), promoted by former light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, in a June 2012 title defense at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. However, when Murray, 30, was unable to obtain a visa far enough in advance of the fight, he was dropped and replaced by Andy Lee, whom Chavez knocked out in the seventh round.

After seeing Murray's performance against Martinez - a fight many thought Murray, who scored a knockdown, won - Arum said Chavez wanted to fight him.

"As you probably recall, we wanted Chavez to fight Murray a while ago, but he couldn't get a visa because of some youthful indiscretion," Arum said. "But he's a real, live fighter. Look how he did with Martinez. Chavez thought he beat Martinez and he said, 'That's who I want to fight.'"

The weight for the fight will be somewhere between the 160-pound middleweight limit and the 168-pound super-middleweight limit. Arum said they are "talking about 165 pounds."

As a co-feature, Arum said he hopes to make a fight between junior featherweight titlist Victor Terrazas of Mexico and former flyweight and junior-bantamweight champion Vic Darchinyan, the trash-talking, power-punching Armenian who has lived in Australia for many years.

"We are looking to make Terrazas against Darchinyan on that card," Arum said. "That's the fight that we have on the board."

Darchinyan recently signed with Top Rank and will debut for the company on Saturday night at Uni-Trade Stadium in Laredo, Texas, in the main event of a "Solo Boxeo Tecate" card on Spanish-language network UniMas. Darchinyan (38-5-1, 27 KOs), 37, will face Javier Gallo (18-6-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Mexico, in a scheduled 10-round junior featherweight bout. Darchinyan would have to win to keep the prospect of the title fight with Terrazas alive.

Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KOs), 30, won a vacant 122-pound world title on April 20 in Mexico City, scoring a split decision against countryman Cristian Mijares, the former junior-bantamweight champion.

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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