Former middleweight champions Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm were never able to meet each other inside the ring, for a variety of reasons.
Now out their primes and in their mid-to-late 30’s, having both lost their world titles earlier this year, the possibility of them meeting in the fall or early next year will be considered, according to Martinez promoter Lou DiBella.
“I know Felix, and I have great respect for him,” DiBella told RingTV.com. “I think both guys are at similar stages of their career and it’s certainly something worth talking about.”
All of which is music to the ears of Sturm.
“Fighting Sergio Martinez is certainly a great option,” said Sturm. “I always said I would welcome a fight against him and I still do. If he and his team are really interested in a fight, they can reach out to us. And if the right deal can be made – why not?”
Martinez 39, lost his RING and WBC titles earlier this summer to Miguel Cotto. Dropped three times in a tumultuous opening round, Martinez was never able to find his way into the fight, touching down again in the ninth frame. Though not for the first time in his career, he showed considerable heart before being retired by his corner early in the tenth round.
The week before Martinez‘s loss, Sturm lost his IBF 160-pound title to Sam Soliman by unanimous decision.
DiBella would say there are a couple of caveats to a possible future encounter.
“Sergio still has to go and be checked out by a doctor in New York. That’s scheduled for mid-September.” he said.
“Then we haven’t discussed specific fights, or any kind of hard line on a time frame, but I will reach out to Felix‘s people and have a conversation with them. We’re going to consider all alternatives but I know Sergio is too great a champion to want to return against someone ordinary. But at the same time he’d want to return against somebody that’s credible and in a fight that’s a big fight and I think maybe for both sides this may be an interesting possibility.
“But at this point in time all it is is a possibility. I may have some conversations with Felix‘s people shortly but I don’t think from our end we’ll be deciding anything for a couple of months.”
After losing to Cotto, Martinez (51-3-2, 28 knockouts) had one fight left on his HBO contract. Despite the loss, the television network hasn’t ended its association with Martinez.
For his part Sturm (39-4-2, 18 KOs), a four-time middleweight champion and veteran of 21 world title bouts, acknowledges his last fight wasn’t his best.
“My last fight was disappointing but I proved time and time again that I’m a true fighter,” he said. “I will get to the top again, I promise that.
“Sergio is still a great fighter, despite the loss against Cotto. Even great champions lose but they will always get back up.”
It’s a shame that these two veteran world champions weren’t able to meet in their primes in a unification bout. However, if the two sides can come together to broker a deal, it would be better late than never.