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Martinez: “Cotto won't fight me. Mayweather won't fight me. Pacquiao won’t either”

Sergio Martinez
Sergio Martinez

By Jason Gonzalez

With a professional record of 47-2-2 (26), it’s only fair that Argentine Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez be mentioned in the same category alongside other elite fighters such as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. However, although Martinez may have rightfully earned his current pound-for-pound status by relieving Kelly Pavlik of the linear middleweight championship and disposing Paul Williams in two rounds, he still fights in relative obscurity. So when will he get his just due? Only time will tell.
In an attempt to remain active, as well as to make a sales pitch to the other fighters north and south of the middleweight division, Martinez will challenge heavy underdog “Dazzling” Darren Barker of London, England. Barker brings a record of 23-0 (14) with him to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Not bad. However, the question that lingers is, who exactly did Barker fight to get this opportunity? The answer: a bunch of journeymen, all but one in the United Kingdom (the other being in Canada), and 10 of the 23 opponents had losing records. In fact, when Barker was 14-0, he faced an opponent that was 2-3. How does one get up for a fight with an opponent with a padded résumé?

“I take it very seriously just like every other fight that I have had in the past,” said Martinez. “Make no mistake about it; Darren Barker isn’t coming to lay down. He is coming to win just like me. That’s more than enough motivation for me to prepare and fight well.”
Martinez makes some valid points and although there is some credence to what he is saying, there aren’t many anticipating a “shock-the-world” upset on the first of October. It’s just that the pedigree of Martinez and his level of competition makes Barker look like a much lesser class of prizefighter which in turn, makes this contest seem like a laughable mismatch.
“Look, it is evident that Barker has a lot more to win than I do. A bad outing here and I am written off and forgotten about,” said Martinez. “I have everything to lose and I can’t afford that. In order to get the big fights, it is important that I win and look good doing so. It is also important for me to win so that I can maintain the level that I am at.”
Exactly how long can the 36-year-old southpaw continue to show the mastery of dominating such foes? How much longer will fans have to wait before Martinez is in the squared circle facing worthy adversaries? Frustration has to resonate with the champion.
“I am not frustrated at all,” he would say. “Not in the least bit. It’s clear for everyone to see that all of the so-called big champions are ducking me. It’s evident that they will go to whatever length to avoid a fight with me,” Martinez continued while elaborating. “There will come a time where it will be inevitable. The so-called big champions are going to have to fight me.”
The resident of Oxnard, California sets the record straight in his conversation with Maxboxing, “On several occasions, I have said that I am willing to fight Miguel Cotto, [Floyd] Mayweather, and [Manny] Pacquiao at a catchweight. I recognize and understand that my physique is slightly bigger. I also understand that in order to make it a leveled playing field, I would have to come down in weight,” continuing, “I am totally fine with that stipulation but it was to no avail.”
With the 2011 boxing calendar slowly but surely winding down, there will be one particular bout that has piqued Martinez’s interest. The rematch between Cotto and Antonio Margarito really tickles his fancy for two reasons. The first being that a fight with Cotto is a big payday. The other being that a fight with Antonio Margarito is also another big payday with a little added bonus of payback. In February of 2000, on the undercard of Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales I, Martinez suffered a seventh round TKO loss at the hands of an upcoming, not to mention very young Margarito who at the time, was sporting a record of 20-3.
“I got my eye on that one [Margarito-Cotto],” Martinez said sternly. “I will be watching closely and I will be pulling for Margarito. I hope that Margarito is a shell of his old self in the contest because if Margarito looks good in winning, we can then set up the rematch. I know that Margarito would fight me.”
What about Cotto? Is Martinez dismissing the Puerto Rican’s chance at tying the score against his Mexican rival who many feel cheated in their first go-round three years ago?
“As I told you before, Cotto is not interested,” said Martinez. “I propose this offer to Cotto: I want you to tell him that If he can beat me, I will give him all of my money,” continuing, “I am a man of my word. I won’t have any problem giving Cotto all of my money if he beats me. Then come back to me to tell me what he said. I know that he won’t fight me. He doesn’t want to. Mayweather won’t fight me. Pacquiao won’t either. I told these guys, ‘Give me 12 weeks and I can get down to 150.’ It will be hard but well worth it.”
So if no one below middleweight is willing to accept the daunting task of facing “Maravilla,” then what about opponents in the super middleweight division? Would he welcome a duel between the winner of the “Super Six” tournament between Carl Froch and Andre Ward?
“Super middleweight?” Martinez pondered. “I would entertain the idea of a contest with either Froch or Andre Ward. However, super middleweight is tough for me to make. I have an easier time going down in weight as opposed to going up. If they are interested, we could fight at a catchweight. I would be willing to move up to 161 or 162 pounds to fight either guy. With respect to my frame, comparatively speaking, my physique is closer to that of Mayweather’s, Pacquiao’s, and Cotto’s.
But this interview would not be complete if this scribe didn’t get Martinez to weigh in on the Mayweather fiasco. Considering that the “Money Man” is on Martinez’s hit list, how did the champion feel about the “legal cheap shot” heard around the world?
“Mayweather did his job,” Martinez proclaimed. Expanding on his thoughts, “Mayweather did what he had to do. I don’t have a problem with what he did. Victor Ortiz should win the ‘Punch of the Year’ award for blatantly headbutting Mayweather the way he did. Victor Ortiz was acting like a five-year-old when he was looking at the referee for assistance. What’s the ref going to do? He isn’t going to help him. Victor Ortiz committed a mortal sin by giving Mayweather an opportunity to strike back. We all know that you are not even supposed to give Mayweather a fraction of a second because you stand a chance of losing.”
"Noche de ’Maravilla’: Martinez vs. Barker" is being presented by DiBella Entertainment in association with Matchroom Sport and Caesars Atlantic City and is sponsored by Corona. Doors open at 6 PM ET, with the first bout scheduled for 6:30 PM ET. HBO will begin live coverage at 10:00 PM ET.


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