Andres Cortes wants to make a statement against Xavier Martinez in Estrada-Yudica undercard
Andres Cortes believes a win over Xavier Martinez will be his coming-out party and a message to the rest of the junior lightweight division.
Cortes will face Martinez in a compelling clash Friday night at The Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 10-round fight will precede the main event bout between Ring magazine 105-pound women’s champion Seniesa Estrada and Leonela Yudica.
Both fights will stream live on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
The 26-year-old Cortes (19-0, 10 knockouts) last fought on February 3, defeating Luis Melendez by decision over 10 one-sided rounds. The win over Melendez took place over five months after Cortes defeated Abraham Montoya by unanimous decision.
Friday’s clash against Martinez will be another fight that will take place in his hometown of Las Vegas. No every fighter can take advantage of fighting a high-profile bout in their hometown, but Cortes is relishing the opportunity to excel and be victorious in front of his family and friends.
“I love it,” Cortes said recently. “Familiar faces in the crowd, no airports for this fight. I will be able to come and go the way I want. It makes the meal prep for the weight cut that much easier. Vegas is my city and people will see that I can bring a crowd. I will have fans in the building, and I am energized to go out there and show that I will be a world champion. I’m thrilled to be back fighting in my hometown. I am overjoyed at having my biggest fight to date in the place that shaped me into the man I am today.
“Training camp has been great. I was training with my brother, day in and day out. Training here in Las Vegas has been really hot, so it’s been a bit brutal. I am not satisfied with my position in the sport of boxing, and I have entered this camp with a deep hunger.”
Cortes and Martinez are familiar with one another. Both fought under the Premier Boxing Champions banner, including fighting on Mayweather Promotions’ cards. Most of those fight cards took place at the MGM Grand or at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas.
Both are now promoted by Top Rank.
Martinez (18-1, 12 KOs) resides in Sacramento, California and suffered his first defeat as a pro on January 29, losing to Robson Conceicao by unanimous decision. The 25-year-old bounced back in his last bout on August 20, knocking out former prospect Alejandro Guerrero in the fifth round.
The clash between Cortes and Martinez is compelling, where the winner takes a major step forward in a competitive 130-pound division. Cortes believes he has the tools to come out victorious.
“I see a lot of similarities between myself and Xavier,” said Cortes, who also has wins over former world title challenger Genesis Servania and Mark Bernaldez. “We both hit hard, and I know he has a high ring IQ like me. The man with the most desire will be victorious, and I envision that being me. It’s going to be a rough fight, but I know I have the skills and will to come out on top. I’m expecting this fight to (go) the distance.”
Cortes is grateful for having Top Rank promote him and the opportunity he has received to fight on a high-profile card.
“It is big to have a great promoter behind me .. on a big fight weekend,” Cortes said. “I want to thank everyone at Top Rank for believing in me. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I hope that I can put on a performance that makes the fans, my promoter, and the boxing world at large want to see me in the main event of a fight card soon, if not next.”
There is more clarity right now with Cortes’ career. A win puts him in contender status and the opportunity to face top-level junior lightweights on bigger platforms.
Cortes does not only want to be known as a fighter who defeated Teofimo Lopez in the amateurs, but he also wants to get his name out there and become a legit contender. A statement win Friday night over Martinez could go a long way.
“I truly believe this will be a fight that defines my career up to this point. I treated this camp with that same level of intensity.
“I feel winning a fight like this puts me in the position to be able to call out the top names in the division. I worked very hard and have had to prove a lot to myself, the fans, and promoters to get to this point.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]