Boxing: Sergio Martinez

Sergio vs. Cotto in April at MSG?

October, 30, 2013
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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.

Miguel Cotto demolishes Delvin Rodriguez

October, 6, 2013
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Cynics -- and I dare say that is most of the folks who have been covering boxing for any length of time -- took it with two grains of salt when Miguel Cotto and new trainer Freddie Roach both said that they were working on bringing back the "old" Cotto, a left hook-happy hitter who sought and got KOs.

Darned if the trainer and boxer weren't on message, and Cotto, who turns 33 on Oct. 29, on Saturday night looked like a 10-years-younger version of himself who hadn't absorbed back-to-back losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout.

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Who would you most want to see Miguel Cotto face in his next fight?

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Discuss (Total votes: 14,095)

Granted, Cotto (38-4) took on just a solid journeyman in Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-3) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. But he made Rodriguez look like a C-grade boxer as he imposed his will and skills, and a rib-battering left hook on the Connecticut-based brawler. In Round 3, two left hooks and a right sent Rodriguez to the mat, and the ref didn't even need to count, calling for a TKO.

The Puerto Rican boxer's stock jumped considerably, and social media buzz on whom he might face next percolated quickly. Maybe a jump to 160, from 154, to fight middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, in favorite old stomping ground Madison Square Garden next spring? Maybe a P.R.-versus-Mexico rumble against Canelo Alvarez, who looked worse against Mayweather on Sept. 14 than Cotto did when he met "Money" in May 2012?

So I'll throw the question to you, readers: Whom do you want to see Cotto fight next?

Could Thurman or Garcia test Mayweather?

September, 19, 2013
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Come one, come all, step right up and test yourself against the greatest boxer of his generation, and perhaps, of all time.

The search is on for someone, anyone, who can test Floyd Mayweather (45-0 with 26 KOs), the superlative ring technician who made a very good boxer named Canelo Alvarez look very average on Saturday night.

I asked Al Bernstein, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who helped call on Showtime pay-per-view the Mayweather win in Las Vegas to chime in and offer some clarity on what direction Floyd goes next.

"Right now I don't see a welterweight who can give him a genuine challenge," Bernstein told me. "I think in a year Keith Thurman (current interim WBA welter champ; 21-0 record) would be my choice as a 147-pound challenger. For now, the path would probably be another foray into the 154-pound division to create a match that would be difficult for him. Clearly either Sergio Martinez or Gennady Golovkin coming down to 154 would be quite interesting."

In the scrap right before Mayweather again showed his thorough dominance of the form, Danny Garcia (27-0; current WBC and WBA 140-pound champ), the 25-year-old Philadelphia-based boxer, impressed even those who had held out labeling him the real deal and insisted he'd elevated himself to a certain level on the backs of faded foes. Garcia showed poise and strategic superiority of an ultra-vet in figuring out power-punching Argentine Lucas Matthysse, and earning a unanimous decision. Perhaps he could be slotted against Mayweather next May, when Floyd gloves up again?

"Danny Garcia could move up to 147, but I don't know if that is marketable enough or if Garcia can make that move up and be a threat to Floyd," Bernstein said. "I do know three fighters who would make great matches for Floyd, but unfortunately Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Robinson are not available."

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How about Mayweather-Quillin?

September, 18, 2013
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I’ve been mocked in the not too distant past for suggesting that Floyd Mayweather is such a ring talent that it would be wise to widen the scope of the search for future foes beyond the 147-to-154-pound region. I got whacked around like a piņata at a kids party for suggesting super-middleweight Andre Ward may be the only person anywhere near Floyd’s weight class to test him. I was dismissed for being a Floyd hater, with the critics deeming me a lunatic for suggesting that Mayweather, really best suited to fight at welterweight, tangle with Ward, even if Ward offered to make a catchweight of say, 162 pounds. And what if Ward's contract called for him to gain no more than two pounds post weigh-in, he could come in to the ring weighing about what Canelo weighed on Saturday? I still think I'm not a lunatic.

We should not, I don’t think, dismiss potential matchups like Mayweather-Ward or Mayweather-Bernard Hopkins, because I still don’t see anyone at or near the 147-154 pound class giving “Money” problems. But, what about 160 pounds? How about Peter “Kid Choclate” Quillin? Maybe Floyd could be persuaded to edge up to 160 pounds and challenge Quillin for his WBO strap? They could do the bout in Brooklyn, and the fantasy matchup gets one step closer to reality with the knowledge that Quillin is a Golden Boy fighter, and fights on Showtime, which is the company Mayweather signed has his mega-deal with.

I reached out to Quillin’s co-manager, Jon Seip, and broached the subject with him. Could he see a Mayweather-Quillin faceoff?

“I can’t see Floyd going to 160,” he told me. “Not when Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin can go to 154.”

OK, but if an overture were made, would Quillin do it?

“We will listen to any fight,” he said.

And would Quillin shrink down to, maybe, 156, to even the playing field?

“No,” Seip said.

Regarding Martinez and Golovkin, both those gents work under the HBO umbrella and I don’t see that relationship switching. Just to be sure, I reached out to Team Martinez’s Nathan Lewkowicz; his dad Sampson Lewkowicz advises Martinez, who is promoted by Lou DiBella. “Sergio has a contract with HBO and he’s loyal to HBO and HBO has done right by him,” Nathan told me.

Sort of sounds like as of now you can shelve the Mayweather-Martinez meetup, eh?

Readers, you dig a Mayweather-Quillin scrap, if "Money" signed off on it, and liked the idea of questing for a middleweight crown?

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Mora and Rosado in the mix to meet Quillin

September, 3, 2013
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Peter Quillin has become a must-see fighter to me, after seeing him knockdown Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam five times in taking the WBO middleweight title on Oct. 20, 2012 at Barclays Center. The Manhattan-based boxer with a 29-0 mark (21 KOs) last gloved up April 27, scoring a TKO7 win over Fernando Guerrero at Barclays.

The 30-year-old hitter had Guerrero down four times in that bout, and the Twittersphere has made some noise about wanting to see "Kid Chocolate" in a title unification scrap against Gennady Golovkin, the WBA 160-pound champ. Golovkin (27-0 with 24 KOs) is busy, with a fight coming Nov. 2 against Curtis Stevens, so a Quillin-Golovkin bout isn't on the near horizon ... or maybe even the far-off horizon. With Golovkin's status as an HBO standout, and Quillin being a Golden Boy client, the gulf between HBO and Golden Boy could mean we don't get to see the fan-friendly tussle.

Quillin's co-manager, ex-Wall Streeter John Seip, told me he thinks that would be a shame. "Quillin versus Golovkin could be the fight to bring those entities back together," Seip told me.

For now, Seip said Quillin is penciled in for a fight on the Oct. 26 Bernard Hopkins Golden Boy/Showtime card in Atlantic City. The foe hasn't been chosen, but names in the mix, he said, include ex-champion Sergio Mora, and Gabriel Rosado.

"I hate having a dormant fighter, and there are no big fights available for the remainder of the year," said Seip, who manages Quillin along with Jimmy McDevitt.

A fight with Sergio Martinez, who holds the WBC middleweight crown, is appealing to Seip, but he's a realist. He said that he thinks Martinez has maybe two fights left in him, and wants to maximize his payouts, so a fight against a Quilllin, still growing his buzz, is likely not in the cards. "Sergio is vulnerable," Seip said, making the point that the power-punching Quillin maybe wouldn't be a stellar risk-reward choice.

Darren Barker (26-1) holds one of the 160 crowns, but Seip thinks the IBF titlist will fight a few times in England, and make some dough in his native land. Martin Murray, who Seip thinks got at least a draw against Martinez when they clashed in April, is someone who could be in the mix in the near future for Quillin, as well, he said.

But back to Golovkin. Seip said contrary to the occasional Twittershpere assertions that Quillin wants no part of Golovkin, his guy has no fear of the hard-hitting Kazahk.

"Absolutely not," Seip said when asked if Quillin is avoiding Golovkin. "Golovkin's dangerous, a good fighter, has good boxing skills but he hasn't really fought anyone, though some might say that about Peter as well. To me, Golovkin is a junior middleweight, he hasn't been touched by a Quillin. He's a walk-down guy, but the people Peter touches seem to change their style. That'd be a fabulous fight for boxing. If it didn't happen because of politics, then the fans would get screwed."

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Mora aims for a belt, any belt

August, 14, 2013
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Los Angeles-based middleweight Sergio Mora is looking to New York promoter Lou DiBella to give him a boost of buzz, and help him secure a title shot in the near future.

Mora, nicknamed "The Latin Snake," held a junior middleweight crown back in 2008, beating the late Vernon Forrest for that honor, and now looks to snag a crown at 160.

[+] EnlargeSergio Mora
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty ImagesSergio Mora
"I'm waiting for Lou to bring something to the table," Mora, 32, told me in a phoner. "Nothing yet."

Mora (24-3-2) showed that he hasn't lost a step or skills in taking a UD10 from Grzegorz Proksa in Florida in his last outing, on June 28.

Is Mora targeting any boxer in particular? It might make sense for him to seek a bout with WBA middleweight titlist Sergio Martinez, considering he's also under the DiBella umbrella.

"I'm interested in any middleweight with a belt," Mora said. "The best is Sergio. Then [WBA champ] Gennady Golovkin, [WBO champ] Peter Quillin or [IBF champ] Daniel Geale."

An examination of Mora's record shows a couple surprise stains: two losses, in 2011 and 2012, to Brian Vera, a willing but more rudimentary pugilst. Mora lost a split decision, and then a majority decision in the followup.

Mora dipped into a lull following a draw with Shane Mosley in 2010 which featured some listless rounds of non-action, and thus, he said, he's looking forward to regain buzz and belts: "All I know is I'm ready to start a new chapter in my career with Lou DiBella."

Catanzaro to advise Macklin

August, 9, 2013
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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.

Knee surgery likely for Martinez

July, 2, 2013
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Sergio Martinez looks forward to proving he is the man who still holds the baton as the best middleweight on the planet. The Argentine pugilist (51-2-2) has heard fight fans elevate Gennady Golovkin to all-time great status.

Not so fast, according to WBC middleweight champ Martinez.

But before the 38-year-old can prove doubters wrong, he will probably undergo a right knee surgery, according to Sampsonboxing Promotions executive Nathan Lewkowicz, co-promoter of Sergio with New York's Lou DiBella.

"When I was with him in New York [two weeks ago], his leg kept getting swollen from walking," Lewkowicz said before describing the knee issue as minor. "He should be one hundred percent after [surgery]."

The rough estimate for Martinez' ring return is still March 2014, he said.
You might be wondering what Sergio Martinez thinks of fellow middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, the detonator from Kazakhstan who stopped Matthew Macklin in Round 3 of their clash Saturday night in Foxwoods.

Martinez had faced Macklin himself, last year in New York, and in that scrap the Macklin corner kept their man on his stool rather than send him out for Round 12.

I reached out to Team Martinez and touched base with Nathan Lewkowicz, whose father Sampson Lewkowicz promotes Martinez, along with Lou DiBella. "Sergio is a fighter and he's not scared of fighting Golovkin at all, and he knows he has the style and experience to beat him," Nathan told me. "I think if Golovkin, who I think is a nice guy, a great fighter and the future of HBO, continues to build his name and become more mainstream then we could see them in the ring in the future. Sergio's next fight will be pay-per-view and you need another solid, mainstream fighter to sell it. I spoke to my father, and he says that Sergio would toy with Golovkin."
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.
Peter Quillin has become a must-see guy. He simply puts people on their butt, and he has, I think, improved so much in the past couple years, and is now on such a higher plane because of a confidence boost that comes with holding a title belt, that I think his ceiling is higher than most of us thought possible.

I'm eager to see him test the ceiling.

[+] EnlargePeter Quillin
Elsa/Getty ImagesPeter Quillin could be an interesting opponent for the pound-for-pound king.
I chatted with Quillin on Thursday, at the final presser before the Saturday Barclays Center show, and it seems he's eager, too.

"I'm ready," the 29-year-old said about gloving up again. Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza told me he thinks a date for Quillin might have to wait until October or November, however. The fighter said that bummed him out, that he wanted to fight three times this year.

I pestered him for a name, for a hint of who he'd like to fight next. He rolled over Fernando Guerrero on April 27 (TKO7 win, knocked him down four times) and, I think, did it in a too-effective fashion. By rubbing him out, he made it possible for naysayers to opine that Guerrero wasn't ready for his closeup. (Which, in fact, may have been true.) For that reason, I think Quillin (29-0 with 21 KOs) needs to secure a name foe, so he can prove to his detractors that he is the real deal. He offered me a wish list of targets.

First, he'd like a crack at IBF champ Daniel Geale. The Aussie puts his belt on the line against Brit Travis Barker on Aug. 17, so we have to wait and see how that plays out. Next, Quillin wants a crack at WBC champ Sergio Martinez. "And after I beat him, I want Gennady Golovkin," he said. "That's a superstar fight, a big pay-per-view. We'd build to that."

From his mouth to the dealmakers' ears.

One impediment: HBO has deals with both Martinez and Golovkin, and it looks like people want Geale to meet Golovkin. So Quillin might be the most obvious victim of the HBO-Golden Boy war, which has entities taking sides, and has meant that Showtime mostly buys Golden Boy bouts, while HBO mostly buys Top Rank product.

On the bright side, there will come a time when fan demand will break the icy patch. Who knows, maybe the call for a Quillin bout with an HBO fighter might force a kiss-and-make-up scenario.

Sergio Martinez: A tough nut to crack

June, 6, 2013
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Sergio MartinezJuan Mabromata/Getty ImagesSergio Martinez may be on his last legs. Just don't tell him that.
Sergio Martinez is, as I write this, driving from NYC to Canastota, to take part in the 24th International Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend. And he took some time to chat with NYFightblog about lessons learned from his most recent fight, how many fights he has left in him, and when -- and against who -- he will fight next.

The 38-year-old craftsman drove with advisor Sampson Lewkowicz, who translated, and Lewkowicz' son Nathan, who helps promote the Argentina-born pugilist who beat Martin Murray on April 27 in front of 50,000 adoring fans in his home country.

That scrap was no walkover, as the weather and Murray proved tougher to deal with than many predicted. It rained all day, and the fight was pushed to 8:30 PM from 11 p.m. local time, for fear of thunderstorms. Sergio hit the deck in round eight, from a right hand that caught him as he was shifting his weight, and won a 115-113, 115-113, 115-113 victory on the cards. I asked him about lessons learned from the Murray bout.

"There is no easy enemy in boxing," he stated. Does that mean he underestimated Murray? No, the 51-2-2 Martinez, who is co-promoted by Lou DiBella, said. He implied that those who hadn't given Murray much of a chance underrated the challenger. "I wanted to prove to everybody that said I would fight an easy opponent in Argentina that instead I'd pick the biggest available challenge in the division, and I'd win."

He needed knee surgery last November, for a torn meniscus in his right knee, from an injury sustained in his previous bout, against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September. But Martinez refused to point a finger at a slow rehab. He told me he was in fine form for Murray. If not, he would not have taken the bout, he said.

Martinez said he didn't pay attention to the critiques from naysayers who thought they saw a man on the downside, a fighter with only a fight or two left in him, against Murray. "In boxing, that is very common, you have the negative and the positive," he said. "All the negative stuff does is motivate me to continue fighting. Not every time everything will be perfect. This is boxing, you cannot win every round. You win some, lose some, in the end I was the winner."

I tried to get a sense if Martinez is sensing his career mortality. He turns 39 in February.

How many fights do you think you have left? "I'm only thinking of the next. I don't think further than that," he said.

I tried again to delve into his soul. Will he watch the induction ceremony now, at 38, differently than he would have at 28, with more of a sense that his career might end soon? Sergio didn't take the bait; he said that every fighter wants to win a title and enter the Hall, and he is no different.

Team Martinez had dinner with HBO Sports boss Ken Hershman on Wednesday night. Did they figure out a date and foe for Martinez's next outing?

It is likely he will glove up in February or March next year, he said, but no foes are up for discussion. In August or September, Sampson said, the team will convene and choose a route.

The super middleweight division will not be in the mix, Sampson said, for those wondering if a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. might occur there, or a fight with Andre Ward is a possibility.

"It will be 160 pounds only, or 154 pounds, but only for Floyd Mayweather," Sampson said.

With that, the road trip to Canastota continued. If Martinez allowed himself to drift into more poignant philosophical territory, he wasn't going to share the mulling with ESPNNY.com. I'm not that surprised; he showed the same discipline in answering questions as he does in training, and as he does by and large in the ring. There will be time, eventually, to expand on emotional topics. But not now.
Promoter Lou DiBella stands out as a character in a sport populated with scores of folks who think, act and talk outside of "normal" parameters. Harvard-educated, combustible and profane, with an attention span that at times wanders but can be corralled when his heart is touched by the right fighter or hard-luck story, DiBella is, in my opinion, tailor-made for the first real boxing personality reality show.

Besides his compelling persona, the former HBO boxing programming head warrants your attention because he is struggling with his relationship with the sport which he adores, but which also repulses him. In this mini-doc, called "No Way Out," by director John James, DiBella talks about his love-hate relationship with the sweet science, which he is sometimes sour on. He doesn't care for "dealing with people [who make] you want to shower after you speak with them," he says. He also talks about the saints who take street kids off that certain path of self-immolation to a path of self-esteem, glory and possible financial security. I found myself wondering, as I watched, how much longer the New York native will stay in the game. A win by his guy, Sergio Martinez on April 27 against Martin Murray in Argentina, will surely cheer him up for a spell, as the middleweight titlist Martinez is on the path for a fat rematch payday against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Check it out for yourselves, readers. Do you sense that DiBella will stay in this relationship, or he will reach a point where he walks away from a wondrous but tragically flawed sport?

Don't hold breath for Martinez-Golovkin

January, 25, 2013
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Did you like what you saw of Gennady Golovkin's taking apart of Gabe Rosado on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden Theater? So much so that you'd like him to meet the man who is seen as the best in the business at middleweight, Sergio Martinez? Well, tough tamales. Not gonna happen. That's according to Martinez' promoter, Lou DiBella, who was in heated "oh hell no mode" when a writer at the fights DiBella promoted Wednesday night at BB King's asked about that exact potential pairing. "No way," DiBella said. "Golovkin doesn't draw a dime! Cotto and Pacquiao would never get asked about this," he railed.

Martinez gloves up next against Brit Martin Murray in Argentina, his homeland, on April 27. Then folks figure he'll engage in a most lucrative rematch against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who he manhandled save for a last-round knockdown back in September. Martinez turns 38 on Feb. 21, and DiBella implied, his window of opportunity, for mega-fights and mega-paydays, isn't infinite. The window was slammed shut on a scrap with Golovkin.

If Garcia, Malignaggi, Quillin win?

October, 10, 2012
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Disclosure: As a fight fan and writer who happens to live a 20-minute walk from the Barclays Center, I am excited that boxing looms large in the grand plan for the new building to be as big as MSG in the United States' arena-sphere.

Golden Boy is contracted to do 12 shows at Barclays a year, from 2012 to 2014. It is a bold growth bid for the California-based company, headed up by Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer. It is bold, in my eyes, because they don't have the staffing on the East Coast that they have in Cali. But Golden Boy COO David Itskowitch told me at Gleason's Gym on Tuesday, at a workout featuring Brooklyners Paul Malignaggi and Danny Jacobs, that his company will be able to pull off the expansion. Malignaggi and Jacobs will fight on Oct. 20 at the Barclays boxing debut.

Itskowitch, who looked surprisingly peppy, considering his wife Kim gave birth to a boy, Austin, on Aug. 30, said that Golden Boy recently put on three shows that ran the same night and were televised on Showtime, Fox and TeleFutura, successfully. "I never sleep," said Itskowitch, who lives in Manhattan. "Before, it was all work. Now, it's the baby and working, a combination."

No, Itskowitch told me, bottom-lining the issue, he doesn't expect any dilution to the Golden Boy product with the addition of East Coast shows to the mix.

I prodded the COO, who has been with Golden Boy for 5-plus years, after working for local promoter Lou DiBella before that, to learn what some ramifications are for fighters taking part in the Oct. 20 premiere.

Junior welter Danny Garcia, the Philly perma-underdog who fights Erik Morales in the main event, would be a fine fit to meet Juan Manuel Marquez, like Morales a Mexican living legend and shoo-in Hall of Famer. If Morales pulls off the unlikely-but-only-a-fool-would-say-unlikely win over Garcia, a third bout between the two would make immense sense. "We'd get a trilogy," Itskowitch said. Also, a Garcia-Lucas Matthysse fight would be "ridiculous," he said, in a good way.

Bensonhurst's Malignaggi, the WBA welter titlist, is looking at a rematch with Ricky Hatton if he beats Pablo Cano in Brooklyn. But that plan is contingent on the comebacking Hatton not getting knocked off the horse. As well as a decision not to return to the less exciting but smoother path as a promoter. Hatton's upcoming bout against Viacheslav Senchenko on Nov. 24 has been deemed by the WBA a welterweight title-shot eliminator, Itskowitch said. It is likely that Malignaggi will either fight Hatton, or face a rematch with the Ukrainian Senchenko in the near future. As always, let us note that boxing is the theater of the unexpected, so while planning, it is always wise to factor in that variables could pop up at any time.

Peter Quillin meets WBO middleweight champ Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam at Barclays, and if the Manhattan quote machine wins the crown, Itskowitch said that a tussle with Sergio Martinez would be alluring. "But we don't know Martinez's plans for a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.," he cautioned.

Barclays will be able to fit about 16,000 for the first fight night. Will we see a sellout? "I don't know about a sellout, but I expect a very good crowd," Itskowitch said.

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