Boxing: matthew macklin

With a win, Golovkin will head overseas

November, 1, 2013
If the majority of predictors are correct, and WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin (27-0 with 24 KOs) gets the better of Curtis Stevens (25-3 with 18 KOs) Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, especially in conclusive and violent fashion, the demand to know when fight fans can see him in action next will be immediate.

So, to get a head start, I asked K2 director Tom Loeffler the near future plans for his guy Golovkin, the 31-year-old Kazhkstan native, should he down the Brooklyner Stevens. "We're focused on this fight, but we do want to stay active," he told me. "We're projected, if he wins, to fight next in February." That bout wouldn't take place in the NY area, or even in the US, he said, but would unfold overseas. Loeffler wants to keep on currying his fanbase outside the States, he said.

We could surmise that after that February bout, some sort of consolidation bout might be sought. Sergio Martinez holds the WBC 160 belt, but his crew seems intent on making a faceoff with Miguel Cotto. Darren Barker, a Brit, owns the IBF strap. We don't see an impediment to making a Golovkin-Barker bout from a political standpoint, as the HBO-affiliated Golovkin will be looking outside the Golden Boy-associated sphere of combatants for dance partners, and Barker isn't signed to Golden Boy.

But Barker first has to retain his belt, up for grabs against ex champ Felix Sturm on Dec. 7, so that situation is too fluid to get a handle on. A move to 168 pounds, and a tangle with the holder of the IBF and WBA super middle crowns, Carl Froch of England, has been rumored for Golovkin. Froch first needs to put down George Groves' challenge on Nov. 23, which seems a good bet from my vantage point. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the money honey in this region, whether he fights at 160 or higher. I'm pretty sure Golovkin wouldn't turn down a fight with that Top Rank boxer, who gets featured on HBO.

Readers, let's not get ahead of ourselves ... Oh hell, let's. If Golovkin beats Stevens, what would you like to see him do in the first quarter or half of 2014? Weigh in!

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Sergio vs. Cotto in April at MSG?

October, 30, 2013
Could we see Sergio Martinez, the Argentina-born hitter who holds the WBC middleweight crown, fight his next scrap in Madison Square Garden against Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto?

We will if the suits at MSG get their way.

On Wednesday, during a media presser to hype the Saturday card at MSG -- which is topped by a Gennady Golovkin WBA middleweight title defense against Curtis Stevens -- MSG executive Joel Fisher checked in and said hello to Martinez’s adviser, Sampson Lewkowicz. Lewkowicz handles a heavyweight, Magomed Abdusalamov (18-0 with 18 KOs), who tussles on the Saturday undercard, against Mike Perez (19-0 with 12 KOs).

It would be great to have the 51-2-2 Sergio fighting Cotto, 33, in a sold out Madison Square Garden, Fisher told Lewkowiz. Sampson nodded, yes, it would, but noted that Sergio is a wanted man. He drew 50,000 fans at a stadium in Argentina in his last outing, a 12-round unanimous decision win over Martin Murray on April 27. That’s great, Fischer answered, but there’s nothing like the vibe that is summoned when about 20,000 fight fans roar in MSG. Lewkowicz nodded in agreement.

Martinez, who turns 39 years old in February, beat Matthew Macklin in The Theater in March 2012. And Cotto (38-4), of course, sees MSG as a home base. He is 9-1 in MSG.

Lewkowicz told me in the best-case scenario, he’d like Martinez, getting back to full strength after suffering some injuries in the Murray bout, fighting in April, against Cotto. But Cotto has other suitors; promoter Golden Boy would like to snag him and pair him with Mexican heartthrob Canelo Alvarez, and that would mean Martinez would settle on a Plan B. Plan B would take place on June 7, when HBO has a date.

“There are two or three possibilities,” said Lewkowicz, who will be huddling and burning up the phone with Martinez' promoter, Lou DiBella, to nail down particulars, fairly soon.

Catanzaro to advise Macklin

August, 9, 2013
Brooklyn's Anthony Catanzaro, who advises former two-division champion Paul Malignaggi, has signed a new client. Middleweight Matthew Macklin, an Anglo-Irish hitter with a 29-5 record, will now ask Catanzaro to help steer his course.

"I'm very excited and honored that a fighter like Matt put his trust in me," Catanzaro said.

The recent ride has been choppy. The 31-year-old Macklin was stopped in Round 3 of his last fight, against natural-born detonator Gennady Golovkin. And he had dropped two of three before that, to champions Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez.

There's no shame in that -- Macklin's recent history simply shows he seeks to take on the top guns in the game. But don't be surprised if Catanzaro seeks to get a W or two tucked under Macklin's belt, against lesser-grade foes, to help Macklin regain his swagger.
Nothing gets boxing fans going like the arrival of a wrecking ball on the scene.

After middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin imposed himself upon foe Matthew Macklin with the subtlety of a wrecking ball -- detonating a left hook to the Anglo-Irishman's liver and leaving him writhing, to be counted out in the third round in ring at Foxwoods in Connecticut -- the chatter started.

What's next for the killer from Kazakhstan?

Folks entranced with his double-fisted efficiency seemed to conclude there were no impediments left to demolish at 160 pounds, and instead had Golovkin dropping down to 154 for a crack at Floyd Mayweather. Or packing on eight pounds and traveling to super middleweight, to challenge ace pugilist Andre Ward, who happened to be working for HBO as an on-air analyst Saturday.

But what about middleweight top dog Sergio Martinez? Has public opinion on the Argentine -- who turns 39 in February and was knocked down once in fights against Julio Cesar Chavez last year and Martin Murray on April 27 -- soured to such a degree that many fans assume Golovkin smashes Sergio like he did Macklin?

We wondered what Martinez's promoter, Lou DiBella, thought, as we heard through the grapevine that he considered Golovkin too high a hill to climb for the shining star in his stable. Lou was in meetings, we were told, but a source close to him told us that DiBella is indeed open to matching Martinez with Golovkin.

Not in Martinez's next fight, the source said, as Sergio is rehabbing injuries, but after that, the door is open.

That bout has pay-per-view written all over it, in green ink. Martinez has lost a foot off his fastball, but the degree he'd get up to try and prove that his time isn't past, would lift his preparation and focus to another level.

Team Martinez has slated March 2014 for Sergio's return, so we'd be looking at more than a year to wait for a Martinez-Golovkin fight. This being boxing, a thousand things could change before then, so it might be wise for us to transfer our anticipation to events nearer on the horizon of certainty ... but Martinez-Golovkin would be a most intriguing scrap to ponder.

Will his guts be Macklin's downfall?

June, 27, 2013
MacklinAlex Grimm/Getty ImagesAre Matthew Macklin's guts a detriment?
Guts are a great thing to have when one is a prizefighter.

Aren't they?

Every fighter gets buzzed, even the most capable defenders. And often it is bravery that separates the best from the also-rans. The ones with the most mettle, such as Arturo Gatti, have something that kicks into gear and makes them severely resistant to pain and surrender.

Abel Sanchez, the trainer of middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, who meets Matthew Macklin on a Saturday Foxwoods card that will be on HBO, said something quite interesting. Namely, that Macklin's most glaring deficiency is his guts. How so?

"His biggest weakness, in my mind, is his balls," said Sanchez, who has trained some superior pugilists, including Terry Norris, but who calls Golovkin the hardest hitter he's ever seen. "Macklin is a man's man. He will try to box, and he will get hit, and say to himself, 'You can't do that to me.' "

In other words, it perhaps would be wisest for Macklin to try to out-box Golovkin, try to "out-clever" him, be the better ring general, look to avoid contact, and get the decision win. But he will not be able to help himself, and he will eventually start trading.

I brought that theory over to Macklin, and asked for his response. "I disagree," he said. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going. He's never been in with anyone like me. His power don't bother me one bit. And how will I deal with his power? I'm not getting hit. And if I do, I will suck it up and take it."

Team Malignaggi wants Broner rematch

June, 26, 2013
It's been four days since he lost, via a split decision, his WBA welterweight title, but on Wednesday Paul Malignaggi's face still registered some of the fire and fury that he during the fight and after it was announced that Adrien Broner had bested him at Barclays Center.

Malignaggi came to Gallagher's steakhouse in midtown today, to offer his support for New York boxing, with ex-promoter Lou DiBella co-promoting a show at Foxwoods on Saturday night, along with K2.

Paulie came with advisor Anthony Catanzaro, whose stock in many circles edged up, because as he predicted, his kid didn't get steamrolled by the Next Big Thing, Broner, as so many experts had predicted. With Malignaggi still the slightest bit in "gameface" mode, I asked Catanzaro what's next for Malignaggi, who admitted post-fight that, at 32, he didn't know if he wanted to try and keep getting up for training camps.

"We are very interested in a rematch with Broner," Catanzaro told me. "We feel the fight itself warrants it, it did very well financially at the gate, and the Nielsen ratings were fantastic. We feel strongly that we won and [co-advisor] Steve Bash and I will do everything possible to make a rematch."

In the coming weeks, Catanzaro said, Team Malignaggi will broach the subject of a rematch with promoter Golden Boy Promotions.
The two men will, in three days, attempt to bludgeon each other to the point that the less-fortunate would be rendered unable to continue in a middleweight fight scheduled for 12 rounds or less at Foxwoods in Connecticut on Saturday night.

The challenger, Matthew Macklin, an Anglo-Irishman getting his third crack at a world title, walked past the titlist, Gennady Golovkin (26-0 with 23 KOs), prior to the kickoff of the final press conference, which was held at Gallagher's steakhouse in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. The IBO and WBA middleweight champ Golovkin, born in Kazhkstan, owns the highest KO percentage (88.4%) of any titlist, and has a rep as a certified badass. He was chatting with a writer, grinning broadly, and his grin didn't fade or diminish as Macklin strode by, headed to the upstairs conference room where the presser would unfold. Macklin wore a determined look, his eyes narrowed a bit, his visage reflecting, it looked to me, the gravity of his task on Saturday.

I cornered Macklin (29-4 with 20 KOs), a 31-year-old who now lives in the south of Spain, where he opened up a gym. Does he allow the possibility that his night could end violently, abruptly, with himself staring up at the lights? "Not really," he said. "Going in, that's a possibility, in any fight. But I have a solid chin. And the guys he's knocked out, I would have knocked them out too. I'm not overly concerned."

But neither is he hopelessly deluded or excessively, unconvincingly optimistic. "There are a lot of questions, and we don't really know the answers until we get in there," he said. You can watch on HBO if you are not attending.

The 31-year-old Golovkin is one of the "new bombers," along with Lucas Matthysse, and to a lesser degree, Marcos Maidana, Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev, who are building reps as being those sort of guys who keep you glued to your sofa, rather than taking a chance on heading to the fridge while their fight is on.

The favorite is still working on his English and basically just predicted, during his time at the mic, that it would be a good fight. His trainer, Abel Sanchez, took it a step further. "I don't think it's going past the fifth round," he told me. "I don't know if Matt's trainer ends it or he is knocked out. But Gennady's too strong."

Macklin's promoter, New York's Lou DiBella, said not so fast. "Matt's not going to be scared Saturday," he said. "Gennady is going to have to walk through fire. It's going to be the hardest fight of his career."

Later, as we walked out, he told me he doesn't think one of the questions Macklin referenced is Golovkin's talent. "I'm sold on him," Dibella said; he'd told the assembled that his guy would leave the building with the belts, but he's been doing this long enough to know that we just don't know, until we do: "I think someone is going to get knocked out and I'm not sure who," he said, in summation.
Fans who trekked from Red Hook, Staten Island and the Bronx will go home happy after Frank Galarza, Marcus Browne and Eddie Gomez scored stoppage wins at Barclays Center Saturday night.

The junior middleweight Galarza, now 9-0-1, met 7-1 Guillermo Ibarra, and dropped him twice in Round 2. The Red Hooker told me after that he sort of figured the Mexican Ibarra might have a skillfully crafted record, judging from his body at the weigh in, but Ibarra did come to win. He landed one or two right counters on Galarza, but didn’t mark up the winner at all. A right to the body had the ref saying no more for Ibarra at 2:19 of the second round. Galarza's next fight is on May 4 at Resorts World Casino in Queens. He looked up as we chatted, and saw Eddie Gomez from the Bronx entering the ring.

“Who’s better, you or Eddie?” I asked.

“I will fight Eddie,” Galarza answered.

“Next fight?” I asked.

“After about two fights,” Galarza said.

Junior middleweight Gomez beat 14-10 Javier Gomez, from Mexico, and ref Arthur Mercante Jr. halted the fight at 1:17 of the first round. Gomez (13-0 with 9 KOs) stood up after left hooks put him down, Mercante assessed him for a few beats, and didn’t like the look in his eyes.

Light heavyweight Browne’s hand speed and aggression stood out, as he went right at Josh Thorpe, a Cincinnati fighter in over his head. Browne went to 3-0 with 3 KOs, while Thorpe, who earned his check by eating a bunch of leather, went to 1-3 after the ref pulled the plug at 2:42 in the first.

This was the first fight for the Olympian Browne in his home state.

Almost last-chance time for Zab Judah

March, 20, 2012
It has been a busy run for fight cards in New York City. Last Saturday, we had Sergio Martinez-Matthew Macklin at the Madison Square Garden Theater. This Saturday, Brooklyn's 34-year-old Zab Judah (41-7 with 28 KOs, stopped three times) will fight for the first time as a pro in BK, at the Aviator Complex on Flatbush Ave., in South Brooklyn. He'll take on 24-year-old Vernon Paris of Detroit (26-0 with 15 KOs), and needs a win to keep himself from being tossed into the stepping stone bin. Coming off a loss to Amir Khan last July, in which many pundits said it looked like Judah wanted to quit (he went down in the fifth like he was shot, off a blow to his belt line), this could be his last chance. And if it isn't, it's getting there.

That said, it seems a good bet that he'll be in better form against Paris, who hasn't yet proved himself to be anything above a B-grade boxer. Judah, who now lives in Las Vegas, seems amped to be back in the borough.

"It's great," he said when asked about fighting on his home turf. "This is the first time that I will be fighting in Brooklyn as a professional. It's a great feeling. You know, the last time I fought in Brooklyn, I think, was Golden Gloves."

This bout, which is a title shot eliminator for a crack at the IBF junior welterweight champ -- TBD by the Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan rematch on May 19 -- is coming together as something of a turf war.

"I hope that Vernon shows up," Judah said. "Vernon Paris is coming to New York City, Brooklyn, NY. My fans are my fans. You have to respect everywhere that you go. You can't bad-mouth or disrespect anywhere that you go and expect to just walk out plain and calm. I love Detroit, I defended my world title in Detroit, I have a lot of friends in Detroit, and I have a lot of respect for Detroit. All I'm asking of the young man is to come in here with respect of the place. Give respect, and respect will be given back."

A win here can earn back Judah, the ex-junior welter and welter champ, a measure of the respect he lost in some circles after the Khan outing. Fight writers like to play up the drama by proclaiming every other fight a crossroads fight. Judah is 34, and he'll be able to hash out a few more years and make money, regardless. It's simply a matter of, will it be as the A-side, or as a stepping stone, a name to add to the resume of up-'n-comers? It's up to him.

Note: The Aviator Sports and Events Center offers free parking. You can also take public transportation via the Q35 MTA bus from the Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College subway station. Tickets to this event are priced at $200, $100 and $75 and may be purchased by calling Main Events (973) 200-7050 or Peltz Boxing (215) 765-0922, or online through The non-televised undercard fights will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the NBC Sports Network "Fight Night" broadcast will begin at 10 p.m. ET on March 24.

Lou DiBella swipes at Larry Merchant

March, 18, 2012
After Sergio Martinez's 11th-round TKO win over Matthew Macklin, Martinez's promoter, Lou DiBella, railed at HBO's Larry Merchant, with love in his heart, for suggesting that Martinez should go up to 168 and fight an Andre Ward or Lucian Bute.

"Why don't you tell me to fight effin' Klitschko?" DiBella said. He took issue with Julio Cesar Chavez for weighing in light-heavyweight territory for his last fight, against Marco Antonio Rubio. DiBella said Martinez is a 154-pounder who eats steak and potatoes to make middleweight, and even then weighs well under 160 pounds. "He's an effing 154 pounder!"

Next for Martinez? Maybe Irishman Andy Lee, in Boston or in Ireland, DiBella said.

Amir Khan likes Macklin's work

March, 18, 2012
Matthew Macklin has nothing to be ashamed of, according to ex junior welter champ Amir Khan. He had Sergio Martinez ahead by two points or so when Macklin got dropped twice and stopped at the end of the 1tth round. So, does Khan see any deterioration in Martinez, age 37? "No, if I fight half as good at 37 I'll be happy," he told ESPN New York.
Gennady Golovkin, who might be the best middleweight -- hell, one of the best boxers, pound for pound -- who you don't know, was at Madison Square Garden scouting Sergio Martinez Saturday night. The Kazahkstan-born hitter, who lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is trained by Californian Abel Sanchez, told ESPN New York, in halting English, that he thinks he's the best middleweight out there right now, including Martinez, and that he would like an opportunity to prove it by fighting Martinez.

Asked whom he thought would win in the main event -- Martinez or Matthew Macklin -- Golovkin picked Martinez. "He has more power," he said. "I think by KO."

Tom Loeffler, who helps run the Klitschko brothers' promotional company, told me that K2 wants to do Golovkin-Martinez, but down the line a bit. First, the company would like to whet the U.S. fans' appetites by showcasing Golovkin on HBO. That could happen in November, Loeffler said.

Golovkin (22-0, 19 KOs), the 29-year-old WBA world middleweight champ (who happens to look nine years younger), stood by as I queried Loeffler, Golovkin's baby face not at all indicative of his chosen trade.

Golovkin wants WBA super world champ Felix Sturm first, and that could happen in September. Golovkin said he has been chasing Sturm (who also lives in Germany, so catching him shouldn't be that hard to do) for two years. Sturm next fights Sebastian Zbik, on April 13, while Golovkin will fight in May against an opponent to be determined. Loeffler also said he'd like, ideally, to see Golovkin take out Daniel Geale, the IBF champ, and/or WBO champ Dmitriy Pirog, to consolidate the crowns.

Sanchez, who trained Terry Norris and Miguel Angel Gonzalez, said Golovkin is better than Norris right now. He told me he has superstar potential, and more.

"He is by far the best fighter I've ever worked with," Sanchez said. Golovkin, Sanchez said, is more cerebral and a better technician than Norris, the ex-junior middleweight champ. "He's the biggest puncher you've ever seen, bar none. Nothing wild, nothing long, everything is compact."

I don't think I've ever come across a trainer as enthused about his client as Sanchez is about Golovkin. He said his fighter has already run Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Peter Quillin and Alfredo Angulo out of the ring in sparring. Sanchez also told me he has a written list at his gym, with Muhammad Ali being No. 1, a blank for No. 2 and Sugar Ray Robinson at No. 3. Give it some time, Sanchez says he told Golovkin, and you will take that slot behind Ali. For that matter, I don't recall the last time I heard a promoter offer to put his guy in against anyone at 154, 160 or 168 pounds, as Loeffler did.

"Andre Ward?" I asked.

"Maybe, yes," Golovkin said.

Hey, I report, and hopefully soon we'll see this kid on American TV, and we'll all decide.

Matthew Macklin takes New York

March, 16, 2012

Michael Woods joined middleweight challenger Matthew Macklin atop the Empire State Building ahead of Macklin's title fight against champion Sergio Martinez on Saturday. Macklin called the matchup, which will be held at the Madison Square Garden Theater, "a life-changing fight." Watch the entire clip above.

Willie Classen's 1979 death was not in vain

March, 16, 2012
Nine bouts featuring 18 men will unfold at the Madison Square Garden Theater tomorrow night. Sergio Martinez will battle Matthew Macklin and look to keep hold of his unofficial title as the best middleweight in the world.

And we can all hope at the end of the night, all the boxers will have done their level best, and made it through the night nicked, maybe a bit bruised and bloodied, but alive and basically well.

Every so often, the sport is touched by a tragedy. In New York, old timers remember one of those nights boxing people want to never experience, a night when a fighter was beaten to death. It was Nov. 23, 1979, in the Felt Forum at MSG, and young prospect Wilford Scypion, at 12-0, was matched against rough rumbler Willie "Macho" Classen (16-6-2).

Scypion had pop in both hands, and an urge to score KOs, while Classen was a guy who had been right there with future middleweight champ Vito Antuofermo 15 months before, at MSG's big room, but didn't always treat the sport with the seriousness it deserved. Vito won a UD over Classen, but really, on that night, very little separated them physically. Mentally, emotionally ... well, different story. Antuofermo trained with purpose and diligence and knew he had a connected team, including fabled trainer Freddie Brown, in his corner. The Puerto Rican-born Classen, a Bronx resident, came from a rugged youth, from a mom who was still a kid when she had him, and sometimes succumbed to the lure of the streets. He was a guy who would take a fight on short notice, without a connected team of backers.

Classen lacked snap from the get-go against Scypion and by the third round on this night after Thanksgiving, he was looking ready to go. But he battled back, and won some rounds. That was his way. He'd summon something from down deep when it looked like he was almost finished. The boxer ate some mean shots in the ninth, and was out of it as he made his way to his stool. But he answered the bell to start round ten, the last round of his career, and Scypion tore into him. Down Classen went, and doctors quickly knew he was in deep trouble. He fell unconscious. Showtime's Steve Farhood was there, and recounted to me an image that is seared in his head, that of Classen on a stretcher, with blood shooting out of his mouth. Sorry for the directness, but it is necessary for fight fans to sometimes be reminded of the potential for severe trauma to the athletes who entertain us. Despite surgery to relieve a blood clot in his brain, Willie Classen died five days later. He was 29, and left behind a wife and four children.

His death, though shocking and sad, and to this day, a source of pain to surviving family, was not in vain. Because of Classen, today, all those men fighting at Madison Square Garden can know that if they are seriously hurt, an ambulance will be onsite, ready to bring them to a nearby hospital. A boxing official had to flag down a passing ambulance on the street on Nov. 23, 1979, and that took about a half hour. Willie's death forced New York to reform some of their regulations, and, I dare say, saved some lives.

Here is a full examination of the life of Willie Classen, the fateful fight, the aftermath of the tragedy and the legacy he left behind.

Sportswriting cynics know that come November, they'll soon be receiving press releases touting the philanthropic chops of this fighter or that, with proof furnished in the form of a turkey giveaway to needy folks. Now, we're not one to put every charitable act under a microscope, because we're no saint ourselves. But it has for some time struck us a craven and not particularly inventive way to get some positive publicity. On the other hand, middleweight ace Sergio Martinez has for two years now been involved in a drive to shine a spotlight on the worldwide issue of domestic abuse.

Sergio spoke about that push on Thursday, at a Madison Square Garden press conference to hype his Saturday bout against Matthew Macklin, which unfolds at the MSG Theater, and can be seen on HBO.

The fighter said during a media roundtable that somebody needs to help women who are battered, and that he decided to get deeply involved when he learned that super featherweight and lightweight champion Edwin Valero killed his wife, and then committed suicide on April 18, 2010 after being taken into custody in his native Venezuela. Martinez couldn't fully exult in his career best win, a UD12 victory over middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, on April 17, because the Valero case bothered him so. Since then, he's gotten deeper and deeper into the cause, and regularly visits shelters for women who have been battered by their partners.

He also joined New York City Council member Julissa Ferreras, a Democrat who serves parts of Queens, Wednesday at City Hall for a news conference to support federal legislation involving the Violence Against Women Act. That act, passed in 1994 and re-authorized a couple times since, is held up in the US Senate because Republicans are objecting to some updates. Among the objections: that grants given in the name of Violence Against Women aren't subject to sufficient oversight, and Republicans fear taxpayer dollars will be "wasted." Typically, there has been across the board bipartisan support for the bill, with no haggling over terminology.

Martinez has stayed out of the political fray. Here is the text of the speech Martinez gave at City Hall:

Thank you Council Member Ferreras for the invitation. It is an honor to be here.

I get asked all the time why I got involved in the campaign to end domestic violence.

I don't think people would ask me that question if they knew that in New York City alone last year, police responded to more than 700 cases of domestic violence a day.

If you really want to know why, I'll tell you a story about a boxer. Some of you may have heard of him. His name is Edwin Valero.

Valero had all of the talent and promise a boxer could want. He had 27 fights and won all of them by knock out. The boxing community loved Edwin Valero.

But Valero had another side.

One day police found the body of his young wife, Jennifer. Allegations of prior domestic abuse quickly surfaced.

Valero was arrested, but killed himself before facing trial.

I often think about the incident. It upsets me that when the news broke, not much was said about his wife Jennifer. Not much was said about Valero's kids either. I didn't think that was right

People question how I can be involved in this campaign. They say I'm a hypocrite because I'm a boxer.

But I tell them that there is more to boxing than just hitting someone, just as there is more to who I am as a human being.

There is a role for me here today. And there is a role for you too.

I urge you to pass the Violence against Women Act for Jennifer, for her children, and for the millions of women in the United States like her that suffer in silence.

Thank you very much.

Martinez also has a soft spot for kids who are bullied and in fact, dedicated this fight against Macklin to 14 year-old Monique McClain, a Connecticut kid who was bullied by her peers in school, but has since learned coping techniques and received unconditional love from the Argentine prizefighter. The fighter and the young lady have been pals since March 2011, when they bonded before Martinez' win over Sergiy Dzinziruk. At the press conference, McCalin presented Martinez with a crucifix that belonged to her grandmother. Cynics please note: the adoration and joy on McClain's face as she interacts with Martinez makes any claim of PR manipulation moot.

No, this isn't like those guys who hand out turkeys once a year and send out a press release before the last bird is handed out. The next time you read about this or that boxer behaving badly, please pause and recall that there are more good ones than bad, and that boxers like Martinez are not as rare as you might think.

Also, check out this video interview with Martinez, in which I ask him about the rumor that he's had some trouble in sparring.