by Hans Olson
Last week, Sergio Martinez held a press conference in his native Argentina, airing his grievances on a number of topics including the WBC and HBO, along with his frustration toward Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Boxing Insider caught up with the middleweight champ this week for an exclusive interview, continuing the discussion many American fans may have missed out on.
Check it out!
Sergio, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for Boxing Insider. First off, what are your thoughts now after a few days since your press conference where you stated your displeasure with the WBC, HBO, and Chavez?
“Well, they say the day after the fight is always the hardest. It is true that it hasn’t been an easy decision, but after thinking about it with my team, I think that [this] step forward is the right decision, and I hope fans will consider it as positive. Nothing has been easy in my career. Things were complicated in Argentina…and later, in Spain too. In the USA things weren’t going to be different. I am determined to show that I can be the best pound for pound, and having a part of the industry against me will make my way harder, but I know I can do it.”
It’s widely believed that you will be fighting Matthew Macklin in March. Is this true? Will it be on Showtime instead of HBO?
“Yes, I announced it in the press conference and now I can confirm it again. It is 100% official that on March 17th I will fight against Matthew Macklin at Madison Square Garden in New York, which is like a dream come true for me, because I think it is the most magical place where somebody can fight. Regarding Macklin, everybody knows that he deserved the victory over Sturm. So fans can consider that after the fight, there will be a unified champion. Both of us are champions without crown. I am not sure if the fight will be on HBO or another channel. I do think that HBO hasn’t treated me in the right way, but it is Lou [DiBella] who has to talk with them.”
What are your thoughts on Rubio vs. Chavez? I know you said before you respected Rubio…and I know you do not respect Chavez…are you at least happy for Marco Antonio Rubio, who like yourself does not get preferred treatment from people like Top Rank and HBO?
“I am really happy for Rubio, because he deserves an opportunity. It is not that I do not respect Chávez…as a boxer he has really improved in his last fights. But his attitude is not the one a world champion should have. Honestly, for the own good of our sport, I hope that Rubio retires him forever. Regarding Top Rank, I cannot say much about it. They are simply [destroying] boxing. In the case of HBO, as I said before, my promotor will talk with them in private.”
You’ve said before that Carlos Monzon is one of your idols in boxing, and he is certainly one of the greatest boxers of all time. With all respect, I have to address that Carlos Monzon was said to have beaten women, and he spent time in jail for homicide. You have been one of the most respected men when it comes to protecting the rights of women, and you stated your displeasure with Jose Sulaiman’s remarks toward women. Do you feel a certain responsibility as a fighter to be better not only inside the ring, but outside of it than Monzon was?
“For me and for every Argentinian, Monzón is a legend as a boxer and as a sportsman. Only the fact that many people think about me as his honorable successor, simply the fact that they think about me for seconds when they talk about him, is for me much [more] than a belt can give me. The attitude he had with women are completely unacceptable, but it is true that he was also a victim of that period. 40 years ago nobody was worried about the fact that a man beat a woman. Fortunately, nowadays things have changed and people with the responsibility of Sulaimán or Floyd Mayweather cannot allow themselves some declarations or actions. I have a lot of respect for Floyd, but I hope those 90 days of “holidays” do make him think about it. I wouldn’t like to see another champion going from one jail to another.”
Sergio, you are one of the 3 best fighters in the world. Why won’t Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather take your challenge?
“It is the story of my life: they have always avoided me. Pacquiao and Mayweather were not going to be different in this. After all, I think that with Floyd we could get something—the fact that he is his own promotor makes things easier. With Pacquiao, it is impossible as long as he is under Arum’s protection. He and Chavecito are the biggest lies in boxing in this century.”
Finally if you have any other statements you’d like to make to the American media on anything, feel free to do so. Thank you Sergio, you truly are a man of integrity and boxing could use more like you.
“I want to say thank you for the support received in the last days from thousands of fans through Twitter, Facebook, email, and so on. For me it is very important to know what they think and have the feeling of being supported. Their words make me see that we are working in the right direction. On the other hand, I appeal to all the people in New York to fill the Madison Square Garden in March. It will be a magic night and I would like everybody to be there. Top Rank and WBC have to realize they are not indispensable in this world. Boxing belongs to boxers and their fans. Thank you very much to Boxing Insider for thinking about me and supporting me in these difficult moments.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected]oo.com. Follow him on Twitter @hansolson