Martinez to meet Pope Francis

Sergio Martinez has used his fame and platform as middleweight champion to speak out against bullying and violence against women.

On Oct. 16, Martinez will speak on both topics when he will be received by Pope Francis -- a fellow Argentine -- at the Vatican in what Martinez’s camp announced as a “one-on-one closed session meeting.”

"In the past couple of months, I will have had two of my dreams as a Catholic come true, to visit the Basilica of our Lady Guadalupe in Mexico and to be received by the pope. I will be asking the pope for blessings and spiritual protection to all of those who enter the ring,” said Martinez, who plans to present the pope with a championship belt.

Martinez will be accompanied to the meeting by longtime business manager Miguel De Pablos and Victor Gonzales, who was key in organizing Martinez’s April title defense against Martin Murray before 50,000-plus in an Argentina homecoming fight.

"In his short time as leader of the Catholic Church, this gentle pope from Argentina has already changed the dialogue of his people,” said Lou DiBella, Martinez’s promoter. “I am thrilled that Sergio will have a private audience with Pope Francis and that he will be able to discuss his campaigns against bullying and domestic violence.”

Said advisor Sampson Lewkowicz, “I'm very happy for Sergio, because as the great champion and great person that he is, he has earned this tremendous opportunity and honor of having this meeting.”