Sergio Martinez, Fight Week Interview: “Chavez Does Not Interest Me, But His Belt Does!”
By Hans Olson
This Saturday at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez challenges Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC’s middleweight championship of the world.
Taking time out of his busy training schedule, Sergio recently spoke with Boxing Insider…
Boxing Insider: Hi Sergio, thanks again for taking the time to answer questions for Boxing Insider! First off, how is training camp going in preparation for your fight September 15?
Sergio Martinez: “It’s going perfect. Physical work is going well; I feel better than when I was 25. I’m also very happy with my sparring partners, [who] are helping me a lot.”
In the past, you’ve gone into fights with injury (such as the Darren Barker fight). How is your health? Will you be going into the fight with Chavez at 100%?
“Yes, I am 100%. With Darren Barker it was something specific—I hope nothing happens like that in the coming days.”
The Face Off with Max Kellerman on HBO was intense. I’ve never seen you so focused, and it appears that you are out to prove a point against Chavez…
“The fight with Chavez is not the most important of my career, but it is one step closer to the combat that I really seek, which is to face Floyd Mayweather. I want my belt and seek this confrontation with Chavez. His belt is mine, and I will remove it, nothing more. Chavez does not interest me, but his belt does.”
You’re the best middleweight in the world. You’re a top three fighter pound for pound. This is a big PPV fight in Las Vegas. What does this fight against Chavez mean for your legacy?
“It will be important because it will officially regain my status as champion. Chavez is another step on my way to the pound for pound best.”
Were you a fan of his father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. growing up?
“Of course. During part of his career Chávez Sr. looked invincible. I have much respect for the battles that he had, and the legacy he has left.”
Recently, Julio has looked good against guys like Andy Lee, Marco Antonio Rubio, Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sebastian Zbik. What is your opinion on those fights?
“Well, with Zbik he did not look so well. He had enough problems and the fight was close. Manfredo, Rubio and Lee are good fighters, but they were on a par with Chavez. By this, I mean that none of them had been world champion, and all had been far from a pound for pound rating. Chavez has improved a lot, but on September 15, he’s really going to know what it is fighting against the elite.”
Some have put the “Mexico vs. Argentina” label on this fight. What are your thoughts on that? Are you comfortable with people taking sides based on nationality?
“I think it’s inevitable, both countries are very competitive. Boxing is too, so people keep to their compatriots. I do not mind that label.”
Speaking of which, I know you live in Spain. You fight a lot in the United States, and I know you’ve spent time in Mexico…so you are a universal fighter, which is why I asked the question about nationality. Does it bother you that in boxing, more-so than a lot of other sports, fans and onlookers seem to favor certain fighters based on nationality, race, or religion?
“Boxing is so very personal; we all see ourselves represented in someone who looks like us. I think in my case, I can be liked by everyone you mentioned. I’m an Argentine who lives in Spain and fight in the United States. One to many people.”
Could you share with us a little bit about your diet and training regimen?
“Well, the truth is that I do not do any kind of diet, because I always try to eat healthy. I try to be balanced, without too much fat. I don’t climb too much weight during break times, so I do not do anything special.”
What do you like to do in your free time, aside from boxing?
“Relax and unwind. It’s hard sometimes, but that’s why I like living in Madrid in those spaces of time, because I’m a stranger here. I created promotions with my team there and we’re starting to do small events and promote young fighters. Our latest addition is Kiko Martinez, the European super bantamweight champion. I hope you can see him in the U.S. soon. Other than that, I enjoy reading and walking. Also other sports such as athletics or mountain tests.”
Who would you say is your favorite fighter to watch currently, and who is another favorite fighter of all time for you (besides Monzon, who I know is your boxing hero!)?
“I’ve always been a big fan of Muhammad Ali, intelligence over strength. I have also learned a lot from Pernell Whitaker and from another Argentinian legend like Nicolino Locche. Of the current boxers, I have great respect for Bernard Hopkins. I never stop appreciating all he has done for boxing.”
Who are your other favorite athletes and sports to watch?
“As a good Argentinian I’m a fanatic of Leo Messi. He’s the best soccer player that I’ve ever seen. When I’m in Spain, I try to keep up on soccer. Not long ago I was invited to the stage at the Santiago Bernabeu to watch a game of Real Madrid and I meet some players. It was an amazing experience. I also like watching other sports, such as tennis or basketball; you always learn things to improve athletically.”
What kind of music do you enjoy? Is there anything you like to listen to in particular when working out?
“I like a lot of musical styles. I’m good friends with Rene, the lead singer of Calle 13, a band from Puerto Rico. I also love Rage Against the Machine.”
What are your favorite films/television shows?
“I have a lot of favorite films, but I love Midnight Express and the TV series Criminal Minds.”
Thanks again for the interview Sergio…if there is anything else you’d like to share or say, feel free to do so!
“Thanks once again to Boxing Insider for caring about my developments. I hope not to disappoint your readers, and on the 15th making the spectacle they are expecting.”