“A fight with Chavez would be very important and very successful,” said Sergio Martinez to Boxing Insider a week removed from his triumph over Matthew Macklin at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day….
“But, in my mind, is being the number one pound for pound—and that’s something that only a fight with Floyd Mayweather can give me.”
Sergio Martinez is universally recognized as the third best fighter in the world, pound for pound. The above mentioned Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are seen as numbers one and two…the order of who you seed at one or two is up for endless debate. For now, though, Mayweather and Pacquiao aren’t fighting one another.
And it’s unlikely that they ever will.
With that in mind, Martinez has made it clear that he is more than willing to take on either Floyd or Manny…even if that in itself seems unlikely.
Understanding this, we segue back into what could be next for “Maravilla” — a fight with Chavez.
It’s the obvious fight to make in the Middleweight division, but one that Chavez and promoter Top Rank have balked at (a balking which the WBC has enabled).
Where does Sergio Martinez go from here?
At 37 years of age, Martinez has no time to wait around for anyone.
“I hoped Chavez [would be next], but as things are going I’m not sure…anyway, with or without Chavez, I [wish to ] fight as soon as possible; perhaps in June or July.”
Whomever the opponent in July is could be a tough sell to the general public…a public that has criticized “Maravilla” for the perceived less-than-stellar outings against fighters many believe he should have rolled over in the same way that he had against Paul Williams and Serhiy Dzinziruk. It’s fair to say that most knowledgeable boxing fans understood the high-risk/low-reward in fighting Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin.
Why then isn’t there more credit for defeating them?
It’s not only the less educated observers who failed to give Martinez the credit he truly deserves in each thrilling 11th round knockout win. Against Macklin, even pundits ringside, including HBO’s Larry Merchant, were critical, in what seemed to be curious analysis.
With Macklin, Sergio knew it would be a tough fight.
“He’s the former European champion and he is also the legitimate WBA champion for everyone. For many experts, he is the number two in their rankings. He proved to be up to the occasion. I knew I would knock him out, but in the final rounds…at the end. As I predicted, he needed to pass the eighth round to really start suffering. He’s a tough guy!”
Macklin’s toughness wasn’t the only thing Sergio was fighting against. The mostly pro-Irish crowd, along with a questionable knockdown during the middle rounds added in some dramatic flair.
“It was just that our legs stumbled and he threw his right glove. I didn’t think it was a knockdown, but it’s all right, I don’t think that the account was bad. I love fighting in those environments, it makes me grow. I did the same in my fights in England, those kinds of environments turn me into a more aggressive fighter. The English and the Irish people are big boxing fans; very noisy—I love to shut them up. Even so, they are so kind. I have a great fondness for them.”
Russ Anber, the man who wraps “Maravilla’s” million-dollar hands agreed when speaking with Boxing Insider earlier this week.
“Macklin had some good moments; he would do a few good things…it was fine, it was great. He’s a world class fighter for sure,” said Anber. “But I watched the broadcast of the fight again, and I thought that they [HBO] were very, very critical of Martinez. I also thought they were myopic in even justifying that the so-called knockdown was a knockdown even after they watched it on replay! They’re trying to make you believe that this is a real knockdown. He was already falling before the punch even came!”
Boxing Insider’s own Johnny Walker was on hand at the MSG. He too couldn’t understand the suspicion of Sergio’s performance that most had.
“Watching in the arena and not being subjected to the HBO broadcast, I never felt that the fight was slipping away from Martinez,” Walker says.
“Though Macklin had a couple of good moments, Sergio always seemed to have things under control.”
“Sometimes, fighters are too good for their own good,” Anber elaborated.
“This is almost a psychological thing that sometimes goes on with people. They expect somebody to be so outrightly dominant in their performance that if they’re not totally obliterating the opposition, they must be losing the round. That’s almost the feeling I got. In the corner, in the fight, we all felt well in control. Sergio attacked when he wanted to attack, he moved when he wanted to move, he commanded the fight entirely!”
The question now remains…who will Sergio fight next? If the public falls prey to the idea that he’s slipping at 37, you’d think the likes of Pacquiao, Mayweather, or Julio Chavez would be ready to jump at the chance to take out the lineal champ.
And for those who are critical of Sergio calling out the biggest and best names out there, I’d offer this Spanish proverb:
El águila no se entretiene en cazar moscas…
(The eagle doesn’t waste time hunting flies…)
And sooner, rather than later…Martinez is ready to return to hunting the biggest and the best.
“I feel good, I’m totally recovered, my team did a great job. I’m lucky to be surrounded by very professional people, I see them like part of my own family.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow @hansolson
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