Dan Rafael: Maravilla
October, 8, 2013
After former three-division champion Miguel Cotto’s third-round wipeout of Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., Cotto expressed interest in challenging middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Cotto’s new trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, also said it’s a fight he wants for Cotto, who would like to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles in four weight classes.
That would be a major accomplishment, and a Martinez-Cotto fight would be a major pay-per-view event. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum expressed interest in staging the fight, if they can make a deal, on Puerto Rican Parade weekend in New York in early June -- a date on which Cotto has fought regularly. Arum said he would like to put on the fight at MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants' and Jets' home in East Rutherford, N.J., a few miles outside New York City.
So Team Cotto likes the fight, but what about Martinez and his handlers? Count him in, adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN.com on Monday. He said Martinez definitely wants the fight.
“I won’t negotiate the fight through the press, that’s not good,” he said. “So the only thing is that Sergio will accept the fight because he wants to fight the best and Miguel Cotto is one of the best. There is no question about it, and it would be a competitive fight. We’d love it. We have a Plan B, but Plan A is definitely Cotto.”
The timing of having the fight in June works well for Martinez, Lewkowicz said. Martinez is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be able to fight by April, but he would happily wait until June, Lewkowicz said.
The reason, Lewkowicz said, is Martinez has a “personal vendetta” against Cotto.
“He feels in the past that he didn’t gain the respect of Cotto, and he never forgot one of his actions a few years ago,” Lewkowicz said.
According to Lewkowicz, Cotto and Martinez were both at an ESPN studio in Mexico at the same time two or three years ago, and Martinez was excited to meet Cotto. But when they were together, Lewkowicz said, “Cotto walked away from him. He didn’t even shake his hand, and Sergio felt insulted. So he wants to fight him. I believe it would be a great fight.”
If the sides want the fight, Lewkowicz said, “We can do this negotiation in one hour over a coffee. We don’t need a lunch to make this fight if everybody does it right.”
As for the weight, Lewkowicz said Martinez would be willing to come down to fight Cotto at a catchweight as low as 158 pounds.
“Freddie Roach, who I respect a lot, said [after the Rodriguez fight] that he wanted it to be a full 160 pounds, so the weight will not be an issue,” Lewkowicz said. “I believe Roach is right in that it should be 160, but if it’s 159 or 158 we have no problem with that, either.”
Lewkowicz said that Martinez would also be happy to have the fight in New York, where Cotto is a massive fan favorite because of the large Puerto Rican population.
“Definitely, yes, in New York City,” Lewkowicz said. “He would love it to be there. Martinez loves New York. I love New York, my grandchild lives there. We are ready. [Martinez promoter] Lou DiBella and me, we are waiting for the call.”
April, 30, 2013
England’s Martin Murray knew what he was up against going to Argentina to challenge middleweight champ Sergio Martinez in his homecoming fight Saturday night, and he came close to pulling the upset, too.
He dropped Martinez once officially and could have been credited with another knockdown that was controversially ruled a slip. In the end, all three judges had it 115-112 for Martinez, thrilling the nearly 50,000 who packed a soccer stadium in Buenos Aires.
But even in defeat, Murray showed he is a legitimate middleweight contender and deserves another fight of note.
He’d love another crack at Martinez (51-2-2, 38 KOs), but that isn’t going to happen. Martinez re-injured his surgically repaired right knee and broke his left hand. He’s out, most likely, until next spring. And even when he returns, Martinez is not going to face Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs) again. He will move onto something else. Murray understands that.
"I'd love the chance to fight Martinez again, but there's no way I'll get the opportunity," Murray said. "Martinez is amongst the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world and I had him down twice, bossed him and lost a very close debatable decision in his own backyard, so I think I've proven I belong at world level.
“I'm obviously gutted that I'm not taking that belt home with me but I'm happy and proud that I can leave Argentina with my head held high, knowing that I represented [hometown] St. Helens and Great Britain.”
Still, Murray believes he deserved the decision.
"If it was fair scoring, then I would have got the decision but it was always going to be an uphill battle in Argentina and I knew that when I accepted the fight,” Murray said. “I just want to say a massive thank-you to my family, friends and team. I'm so lucky to have these people around me, especially Oliver Harrison, who's just an amazing trainer, and I know that one day I'll get them that world title that they all deserve.
"Also, a big thank-you to Sergio Martinez, his team and the people of Argentina. From day one, we were all treated so well and really looked after.”
July, 18, 2012
Courtesy Zanfer Boxing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., right, knows how to throw a good body punch, just like his father.
Sergio Martinez, the real middleweight champion, has wanted to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for more than a year, ever since Chavez won a belt -– which had been stripped from Martinez -- from Sebastian Zbik.
Chavez Jr. has also wanted to fight Martinez in order to shut him up and show he’s for real.
Top Rank, Chavez’s promoter, understandably didn’t want to make the fight until it felt that Chavez was ready for such a gigantic step up in competition. But after seeing how Argentina’s Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) has had at least some struggles in knockout wins against Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin in his past two bouts, and how good Mexican star Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs) has looked in his past two defenses -- a points rout of Marco Antonio Rubio and a seventh-round knockout of Andy Lee (a southpaw to boot, like Martinez) -- the fight has finally been made.
They’ll hook up in one of the biggest fights of the of the year on Sept. 15 (HBO PPV) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas in what is shaping up to a be a serious war or words before the actual fight.
Martinez and Chavez don’t seem to like each other much. Martinez, 37, feels like the 26-year-old Chavez has been handed everything he has because of his famous name as the son of all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. That has rubbed Junior the wrong way.
Before any major pay-per-view, the fighters go out on tour to promote the event, which Martinez and Chavez did, hitting the road last week with stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York followed by a final news conference on Tuesday in Mexico City.
Throughout the tour, they sounded like they were ready to throw down already.
"This is the fight I've always wanted,” Chavez said during the tour. “Martinez has said a lot of bad things. Let's see if he wants to go to the center of the ring and fight like a man. I have real one-punch knockout power. I don't think Martinez has that power. After all his verbal bravado, I just hope he stands in the middle of the ring and fights like a man.
"I have this great opportunity to shut Martinez's mouth. On Sept. 15 he will finally realize he has underestimated me -- when the referee is counting to 10 over him. My dad always stressed body punching. I have a very good chin. I can take a good punch and I can throw a good punch and those will be two very hard lessons Martinez will learn on Sept. 15.”
Martinez has never been one to talk smack before his fights, but he has for Chavez. He seems as pumped up for the fight as any he’s had.
“There is no way Chavez Jr. can beat me,” he said during the Mexico City tour stop. “I will knock him out inside seven rounds. I gave his father a baby bottle (at the press conference) so he can take it to his baby after I give Junior a real beating. He won’t be eating solid food with the few teeth remaining after I get through with him."
Earlier on the tour, Martinez said, “I am a much better fighter now than when I won the middleweight titles. Chavez Jr. cannot match up to the knowledge and experience I have acquired in the ring. Chavez may think the sun rises with him in Culiacan (Mexico) but on Sept. 15 he's going to find out that it's going to set on him in Las Vegas."
Martinez also addressed Chavez Sr., who turned 50 last week while accompanying his son on the tour.
"Mr. Chavez, take a look at your son now because you will not recognize his face without DNA after we have fought. I will beat him up."