Sergio Martinez Interview: Reflections Going Forward
“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.”
HBO Boxing Preview: Sergio Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin
By: William Holmes
On Saturday, HBO will broadcast a world championship bout in the middleweight division between division kingpin Sergio “Maravilla’ Martinez and challenger Matthew “Mack the Knife” Macklin. While Macklin may not be the big name that Martinez previously desired, the did choose an opponent that will likely bring in a large amount of fans to Madison Square Garden, since Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day and Macklin is a Brit of Irish extraction.
If Martinez can be impressive in victory, it should help his goal of landing a big money fight against either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. Martinez has also openly lobbied for a fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but that appears highly unlikely to ever happen. If Martinez is unimpressive, or even suffers an unlikely upset, he’ll likely toil against another little-known opponent in the middleweight division.
The following is a preview of both the middleweight championship fight, and the televised bout of Edwin Rodriguez and Donovan George.
Edwin Rodriguez (20-0) vs. Donovan George (22-1-1); Super Middleweight
The opening bout of Saturday night is a bout in the Super Middleweight division between two fighters trying to make a name for themselves with the exposure that is granted by being placed on HBO. Edwin Rodriguez is a professional boxer with deep amateur experience. He had a record of 84-9 as an amateur, and was a national Golden Gloves champion in 2006. He’s a Dominican-American boxer and is just starting to enter his prime at the age of 26. He’s the same height as his opponent Donovan George, but he has a six-inch read advantage that he should be able to take advantage of. Of Rodriguez’s 20 victories, 14 have come by KO or TKO.
Rodriguez has faced some quality competition so far in his career, including Aaron Pryor Jr. and James McGirt, two fighters who come from deep boxing families. All of Rodriguez’s opponents have had a winning record since his sixth professional fight. He’s never seemed to be in any danger of losing in any of his fights, and his closest victory to date was over Pryor, which he won with scores of 96-93, 98-91, and 97-92. His last TKO or KO victory was four fights ago against McGirt in November of 2010.
Donovan George will be facing off against Edwin Rodriguez on Saturday. He hasn’t faced the quality of opposition that Rodriguez has, and doesn’t have his deep amateur background, either. He does appear to have the ability to knock Rodriguez out if the latter man is not careful, as 19 of his victories have come by KO or TKO. He lost to Francisco Sierra in July of 2010 by decision, and his biggest victory to date was to be the first person to give Cornelius White a loss on his record in February of 2011. Inactivity may be a problem for George, as he has not fought since April 1st of 2011.
Rodriguez should win this fight, and win easily. He has to be wary of the power of George, but his amateur background and technical boxing ability should help him cruise to an eventual decision. The recent Super Six tournament gave a lot of exposure to the Super Middleweight division, and a win for Rodriguez should land him a fight with a more well-known opponent.
Sergio Martinez (48-2-2) vs. Matthew Macklin (28-3); Ring Middleweight Championship
You’re not going to find any boxing writers who don’t consider Sergio Martinez to be a top five ranked pound for pound fighter. He’s a late bloomer to the sport, is the current Ring middleweight champion, and the WBC Diamond Middleweight champion. There’s also a WBC “regular” champion, Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., — allegedly you can have two champions in the same division from the same sanctioning body.
Regardless, Martinez is a monster, and is undeniably the best middleweight boxer today. He was previously a super welterweight champion, and first fought in the middleweight division against Paul Williams in December of 2009. He lost that bout on the scorecards, though many observers felt Martinez should have been given the nod. He bounced back from that defeat and took the WBC, WBO, and Ring middleweight title from Kelly Pavlik in 2010, and in a rematch, blasted Williams with a brutal 2nd round KO in November of 2010. He won his last two bouts against undefeated fighters Serhiy Dzinziruk and Darren Barker by KO, but he struggled at times against Barker and looked all too human.
Martinez is 37, and father time catches up with us all: that last bout may be a sign that Martinez is starting to decline.
Martinez has fought every big name that has become available to him. His first professional loss was against Antonio Margarito, before the hand wrap scandal came to light. Since then he’s fought Pavlik, Williams (twice), Cintron, Dzinziruk, and Barker. Nobody can claim Martinez is ducking opposition.
Macklin is an opponent that Martinez should have no problems with, and is a fighter that has been given a title shot opportunity despite the fact he lost his previous title shot against Felix Sturm. It was a close split decision, but many observers felt Macklin won–even the German television station that broadcast the fight. Macklin last loss before Sturm was in 2006 to Jamie Moore, and his first loss was in 2003. He has been on a tear since 2006, but Martinez will be by far the toughest opposition that Macklin has ever faced. Macklin has made his career by fighting in Europe, and has only fought in the United States once in 2005.
Martinez has 27 KO or TKO to his record, and Macklin has 19, so neither fighter appears to have a definitive edge in power. Martinez is clearly the boxer with the superior hand speed and technical ability, and has fought the tougher competition.
Martinez should win, and win easily. The bigger question is: will Martinez be able to stop Macklin?