Yes, everybody wants everybody when it comes to professional boxing. There is often more “calling out” than there is actual fighting.
Of course, if you are Sergio Martinez, you are somebody people are going to listen to, even if you are not in action at the present time.
Martinez, who is still recuperating from injuries, most notably his knee, that were suffered in a win over Martin Murray this past April, has declared that he wants to engage with whoever wins the September 14 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez.
Never mind that the two are fighting at 152 while Martinez currently campaigns as the WBC middleweight champion. Never mind that there are fights against the likes of Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin that are easily accessible on the horizon when he is able to get back into the ring. And never mind that his obligations to a television network don’t even make such a thing possible, it would appear.
Maybe it’s an empty “call-out” after all.
First of all, Martinez will not be competing again until the spring of 2014 at the earliest. And when he comes back, the most difficult opponent he is expected to face is Cotto, which may or may not happen. Plus, Martinez is tied to HBO, which means that until he fulfills the remaining two bouts that are on his contract, he can’t fight Mayweather OR Alvarez, who are tied into Showtime. There will be no spirit of cooperation between the two networks; that much is certain.
He says “I want either one of them,” but HBO isn’t likely to let him coast in these final two bouts. The fight they have been pushing for is one with Golovkin, who is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the hardest punchers in boxing. It would be hard to believe HBO would let the contract run out before getting either that fight or a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. By the time all that happens, it will be a year from now, and perhaps the chances for a fight with Mayweather, or Alvarez, would increase. But that is long-term thinking at best. Let’s not forget that Martinez will be closing in on the age of 40 by that time, and he has not been tremendously impressive in his last several fights.
Martinez is a fighter who moved from junior middleweight into the middleweight division. He doesn’t seem to have any problem making the 160 limit, so it is conceivable that with a lot of financial incentive, he could get himself to 154, or even to the 152-pound limit where the Mayweather-Alvarez fight is going to be contested.
Thus far Martinez has tasted defeat only twice as a professional. The first time was thirteen years ago against Antonio Margarito, when he was stopped in seven rounds. Then there was the disputed majority decision loss to Paul Williams, which took place in December 2009 and was avenged about a year later with a resounding second-round knockout. He is still high on a lot of pound-for-pound lists, but that doesn’t necessarily means that he mandates any kind of blockbuster fight, or will when he returns.
Of course, when Martinez talks about wanting to fight either of the two most prominent fighters Showtime has under its wing, he is guaranteeing himself something less than an easy departure from HBO, so no one should expect that just because he says so, he will make it happen.