Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Charles Martin is hoping to look ‘Princely’ against Luis Ortiz on New Year’s Day

Former IBF heavyweight titlist 'Prince' Charles Martin. Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

It gnaws at Charles Martin that no one has seen him—the real version of how good he can be. The heavyweight southpaw has appeared here and there, showing glimmers here and there of what he could be.

But those pieces never fully connect, they somehow miss when the finished product nears.

It’s why Martin (28-2-1, 25 knockouts) vows he will retire Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) when they meet New Year’s Night in the main event of the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (8PM ET/5PM PT) from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in Hollywood, Florida.

The 12-round Martin-Ortiz New Year’s Day fight highlights a packed heavyweight card of five compelling matchups, also featuring four 10-round bouts between Frank Sanchez and replacement Christian Hammer, when Carlos Negron came down with COVID-19, Jonnie Rice and Michael Coffie II, Gerald Washington and Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen and unbeaten Viktor Faust against Iago Kiladze.

Martin, who is trained by Manny Robles, knows this is a crossroads fight for him. Win, and he is back in the heavyweight picture. Lose, and he’s an afterthought, forced to fight his way back to relevance.

“You’re going to get a knockout in this fight,” Martin said. We’re not going to go 12 rounds. I know I’m going to knock him out.

“I didn’t get a fair shake in my first run as champion. This is the revenge tour right now. Luis Ortiz is first on my list of these last four fights I want before I retire, which includes two against Anthony Joshua. I want to beat him down twice.

“Me and my trainer Manny Robles have been doing a lot of great work in the gym. People only see what happens in the ring, they don’t see what happens behind closed doors. I have business to take care of on Saturday and we’re ready.

“I’m remaining hopeful about getting another world title fight. I never overlook my opponent or look ahead to another fight though. Ortiz is the only opposition that I see at this moment.”

Ortiz greeted this with a wry smile.

“When somebody says they’re going to knock me out, it just makes me laugh and smile,” he said. “Everybody says that. But you’re facing a fighter who has been through it before, so you can try your best.

“I’m glad that he’s saying that he’s going to knock me out. He’s coming with bad intentions and so am I. Anyone can land the big shot, but it’s going to be me with my hand-raised Saturday night.”

Martin swears a new version of “Prince” Charles Martin will appear on Saturday night.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people that the only one who can stop me is me. I go in there screwing off, doing all of the wrong stuff, they say,” he said. “I’ve heard it a million times. I have to use a whole body towel to dry myself off after training, where I used to use a hand towel. I never did that. I wasn’t sweating enough.

“I sweat every day now. I didn’t even train a quarter of how hard I’m training. I’m in beast mode. Watch, everyone will see. It’s all coming together now. Ortiz is going to feel some stuff. He’s dangerous, but he’s out of his prime. I’m in my prime.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/ since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.


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