Although he’s struggled in recent fights while undefeated young beltholders, such as Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin, have looked formidable, RING/WBC middleweight champ Sergio Martinez maintains that he is the king of the 160-pound division
The last time we saw Sergio Martinez, he was fighting Martin Murray in front of an estimated 40,000 of his adoring fans in Buenos Aires.
Though he was able to turn back the valiant challenge of Murray, he was given all he could handle, surviving an eighth-round trip to the canvas, fighting through the pain barrier of knee and hand injuries before prevailing by 115-112 scores on all three cards.
The Murray fight – his first in his homeland since 2002 – was his sixth title defence in three years since unseating Kelly Pavlik. In that time, he’s avenged his last defeat when he drilled Paul Williams in two rounds, he’s turned back the British duo of Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker, stopping both in the penultimate round, as well as winning a wide decision over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
When asked when we may see him back in action Martinez (51-2-2, 28 knockouts) says next March, though he won’t come back against Gennady Golovkin respectfully saying “I agree with Lou (DiBella) and Sampson (Lewcowicz) that to face a fighter, a great champion like Golovkin, I need an interim fight before facing him.”
Whilst in Le Ferrino restaurant in the Venetian Hotel Casino, Las Vegas “Maravilla” was kind enough to talk to RingTV.com with the help of his influential advisor Lewcowicz and share his thoughts on his injury and the middleweight landscape while he’s out of action.
Anson Wainwright: Firstly, how are things with you? How is your knee and hand now?
Sergio Martinez: I’m doing OK. It (the return) will be sometime in March. I will get the rehabilitation and depending on what the doctor says I may need more surgery.
AW: Looking back on your fight with Martin Murray what would you say on the fight, the atmosphere, etc?
SM: I feel like it was one of the best things that I have done and I will never forget it for the rest of my life because I made history in my own country. I was always in the backyard of the opponent, to be in my backyard with over 40,000 people screaming my name it was an unbelievable feeling but it didn’t affect me in a bad way, it was good.
AW: This past Saturday, Gennady Golovkin stopped your old rival Matthew Macklin in three rounds. What are your thoughts on each guy?
SM: He’s (Gennady Golovkin) a great champion and I look forward to facing him.
It was a very tough fight for Matthew Macklin and I hope he can come back and try again.
AW: Afterwards your promoter Lou DiBella told reporters ringside there’s no way he’ll let you fight a monster like Golovkin in your next fight because you will have been out of action for over a year?
SM: I’m working in a team and they will make a decision but after a year out I agree with Lou and Sampson that to face a fighter, a great champion, like Golovkin I need an interim fight before facing him.
AW: When you return in March who are you looking at fighting?
SM: We have (a list) three guys, it will be one of them. I can’t say who they are (but) they’re all top-name contenders who are acceptable to HBO. I can’t say who because the three of them have interim fights between now and October, so it will be after that when we make a decision.
AW: You’re 38 now, you’ll be 39 by the time you next fight, you’ve had bad injuries in your two most recent fights. How much longer do you feel you can get your body to perform at the highest level and continue to fight?
SM: It’s very nice of you to remind me that I’ll be 39! (Laughs)
Definitely, I won’t fight after I’m 40 years old. I promised my mother I won’t fight past the age of 40.
AW: What do you think of the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight? Who wins?
SM: I strongly believe that the experience of Mayweather will see him win a unanimous decision.
AW: A few years ago when you beat Kelly Pavlik the middleweight division wasn’t as strong as it is today. Looking at the top 10 currently according to us at THE RING magazine what would you say about each fighter?
C – Sergio Martinez – I’m nicer than before and more handsome than before (laughs)
1 – Gennady Golovkin – He’s an excellent fighter, an excellent champion and I’m really looking forward to proving who’s the best 160 in the world. I’m still the number one.
2 – Daniel Geale – He’s an excellent champion, maybe he can be the next one (opponent).
3 – Felix Sturm – He’s fights in Germany, let him finish his career there. I have no interest whatsoever.
4 – Peter Quillin – Peter who?
5 – Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. – There’s a great chance of a rematch however I will request we have the Olympic test. My understanding is Chavez Jr. is going to 168.
6 – Martin Murray – He was like I expected. He had his chance but he was dirty, he hit me several times with his knee on purpose, knee against knee and don’t believe he deserves a rematch. I will never give him a rematch.
7 – Matthew Macklin – I wish him good luck.
8 – Hassan N’dam – I don’t know him.
9 – Darren Barker – He’s a great person, he’s a great friend. If he concentrates he has a great chance to be champion.
10 – Brian Vera – He was my sparring partner when I fought Macklin now he’s fighting Chavez, I don’t give him much chance. Brian Vera is smaller than me and Chavez is bigger than me so I don’t give him much of a chance.
AW: Lastly, what would you say to the middleweight division?
SM: To the middleweight division, each one can be the number one but (only) after (my reign). I am still number one.
Photos / Al Bello-Getty Images