Boxing: sampson lewkowicz

Martinez thinks pink is a fine color

September, 13, 2012
There's been some buzz on the Internet, on message boards, since Saturday night, when on HBO's 24/7, boxing fans saw footage of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. padding around his house wearing pink bikini briefs.

Junior got ridiculed, some rude names were used and some folks said they were switching their allegiance from the son of the legend to the Argentine vet, Sergio Martinez.

So I put the question to Martinez, who by the way has talked tougher pre-fight than I've ever heard him talk, promising to not just stop middleweight Chavez Jr., but to punish him. Does it tell you anything about Chavez Jr. that he wears pink bikini briefs? Does it make him less than macho?

"No big deal," Martinez told NYFightBlog. "I wear pink shirts all the time."

Bravo, Sergio. I confess I get uncomfortable when I read comments from ignoramuses on message boards or comments sections, calling this one girly or that one a wuss for some reason or another. Oscar De La Hoya still get ragged on for some photos that floated around the net a few years ago; don't these critics realize that the people they mock, even wearing a negligee and six-inch heels, could whup them from here till Tuesday? (It didn't surprise me that Martinez doesn't traffic in cliches and old-school bias; he's among the most progressive of high-profile fighters out there, supporting battered women's causes and taking a stance against bullying.)

And while on the subject about talking tough, there was an edge in the air at the Wednesday press conference to hype the Saturday tussle at the Thomas & Mack. Martinez's adviser Sampson Lewkowicz aimed barbs at Chavez's co-promoter, Fernando Beltran, for talking trash, and then Beltran responded by calling Lewkowicz a clown. I asked Nathan Lewkowicz, VP of Sampson's promotional company, what that was about. "That showed that the stakes are high for this fight and the tension seems to be spilling over to each fighter's teams," Nathan said.

And was he ready to dive in, to yank his dad out of a scrum? "Of course! He's my father, I love him."

Sergio rates his Body Issue experience

July, 12, 2012
Peter Hapak for ESPN The MagazineSergio Martinez got a few, um, "notes" after appearing in ESPN The Magazine's 2011 Body Issue.
The ESPN The Magazine Body Issue is once again out in circulation, and with that in mind, I asked ex-middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, who was in town to hype his Sept. 15 clash with current WBC middleweight champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., how his experience posing starkers in the 2011 edition worked out for him. We were at the Edison Ballroom in midtown, and sat down and chatted after a presser concluded.

Was that a positive experience, I asked, through interpreter Nathan Lewkowicz, the New York-based son of Martinez's advisor Sampson Lewkowicz.

Martinez grinned, and answered. And grinned, as he waited for Nathan's interpretation.

"Thousands," Nathan said, "he received thousands of responses, notes and stuff, from that."

I looked at Sergio as my mind drifted to the "notes," and texts, and Jpegs and the like that Sergio was inundated with after his Body Issue appearance.

"From ladies?" I queried.

"Yes," Sergio said, and like the gentleman he is, left it at that.

Like the gentleman I am, so did I.

Martinez ready to call Chavez a "coward"

April, 17, 2012
It would be the signature fight of Sergio Martinez’ career, if a bunch of “Ifs” comes to fruition. If Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. signs on the dotted line, and agrees to fight the winner of the June 16 Chavez Jr.-Andy Lee bout, and if the Chavez Jr. beats Lee, then a September clash between Chavez Jr and Martinez would be the biggest bout of the 37 year old Argentine’s career.

But his advisor Sampson Lewkowicz didn’t sound optimistic that current WBC middleweight champion Chavez would sign the contract, which he says has been with the son of the Mexican Hall of Famer for about two weeks.

“Will Chavez sign? I believe he will not sign,” Lewkowicz told me.

The advisor is laying blame at the feet of Chavez’ promoter, Bob Arum. He says not signing is likely Arum’s call, because Lewkowicz has heard from WBC president Jose Sulaiman that Chavez (45-0-1) indicated he wants to fight Martinez (49-2-2). And why would Arum not want this clash, just beneath a MegaFight on the buzzmeter, to go down? Because, Lewkowicz says, the Las Vegas-based dealmaker wants as many fights as possible to be in-house; that is, pitting Top Rank fighters against each other. Lee (28-1) has agreed to let Arum co-promote him--50-50, with his New York-based promoter Lou DiBella--in a Martinez clash. (Side note: A source close to Lee says that Team Lee has signed an agreement to execute a Lee-Martinez bout, if Lee beats Chavez, with the endorsement of the WBC, but that no bout agreements were furnished to them. That element doesn't sit well with at least one person in the Lee camp, I'm told. This essentially means Lee would have to fight Martinez right after Chavez-—no “soft” defense allowed--and that the Irishman doesn’t know what purse he’d get, or the fight’s location, or training expenses, etc.)

Basically, Arum wanting options is smart business. For the fans, smart business doesn’t always overlap with what they want. The part of me that is a fan wishes Arum weren’t such a savvy businessman. The part of me whose political leanings are (disclosure alert) far left likes to see the lower-level earners have maximum freedom and leverage in dealing with higher-level earners, and wishes that securing options weren’t part of any equation, usually. The part of me that understands that capitalism is like democracy, a frequently crappy, unfair system, but the best ones we’ve got, comprehends why Arum likes to keep things in-house.

Lewkowicz isn’t so in a mood for nuance. He told me he makes it a practice to respect all boxers, and therefore doesn’t want to talk trash, but says his man Martinez is ready and willing to scream to the heavens that Chavez is “the biggest coward Mexico has ever produced” if he doesn’t sign to agree to fight Martinez (if he gets past Lee first).

“If Chavez doesn’t sign, this tells me Sergio is totally right,” Lewkowicz said.

The advisor said he spoke to Sulaiman on Monday, and that Sulaiman told him he will be putting a deadline on Chavez to sign the agreement. If he doesn’t sign, Lewkowicz told me that Sulaiman indicated that his WBC would strip Chavez Jr of his belt before the fight with Lee.

I reached out to Top Rank, to get their take on the matter. VP Carl Moretti replied, “Julio Cesar Chavez is going to have his hands full with Andy Lee and Andy Lee is going to have his hands full with Julio Cesar Chavez. It would be simply disrespectful to both fighters, the promotion, their respective promoters and advisors and HBO to discuss ANY fights past June 16.”

Will Martinez fight for WBC title or not?

January, 6, 2012
Sergio Martinez, one of the five best fighters in the world, will fight on St. Patrick's Day at the Madison Square Garden Theater on March 17, against Irishman Matthew Macklin in a middleweight tussle. We didn't know that last week, so some clarity is nice. Clarity of sorts came when it was made official that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was fighting Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4 in Texas. Thus, he wouldn't be available to put his WBC middleweight belt, formerly held by Martinez till he gave it up because he didn't want to fight the WBC-mandated foe, Sebastian Zbik, last year, on the line against Martinez on March 17. That was the bout Team Martinez wanted, and it looks like, will get..just not as soon as they want.

The WBC released this statement yesterday, calling for Chavez to meet champion emeritus Martinez if Chavez and Martinez both win their forthcoming bouts.

The WBC approved the Chavez-Martinez bout if both fighters win their respective bouts.

The World Boxing Council unanimously approved that the WBC middleweight champion of the world, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., should defend mandatorily against Sergio Martinez, but leaving open an opportunity for both parties to agree as both had TV dates already reserved, Chavez on February 4th and Martinez on March 15th.

As no news of any agreement was received at the WBC offices, and per virtue of February 4th being a month away and March 15th about two months away, the Board of Governors of the WBC has ruled to accept both engagements according to the rules, but with the indication that the winner and WBC champion after the 4th of February must defend mandatorily against Martinez, if he wins over Mathew Macklin, classified in the past convention by request of Mr. Lou DiBella.

The WBC offices will be waiting the requests in writing to approve the bouts.

The rule 2.1 says:

2.1 WBC Approval of WBC Championship and Elimination Bouts. All promoters must request in writing the approval by the WBC of any WBC-sanctioned championship, elimination, or qualifying bouts. No bout shall be considered as officially sanctioned by the WBC unless the promoter has received the written approval of the WBC Presidency, and complies fully with all terms and conditions of the sanction, including payment of all required fees, and compliance with these Rules and Regulations.

Now, Martinez and his crew have made clear that they want the WBC to abide by the decision announced at their convention before Christmas, a ruling which stated that Chavez Jr. should face off with Martinez ASAP. They've said that they expect Martinez to be fighting for the WBC belt, currently "belonging" to Chavez Jr, on March 17. So how does team Martinez react to the WBC release?

I asked Sampson Lewkowicz, Martinez's adviser, this same question. He responded: The only one that will respond on this specific issue is Sergio Martinez. He will be available in NYC next week on Wednesday.

So stay tuned, readers. I will be on that story next week.