- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, originally scheduled to undergo right knee surgery to repair a tear suffered during his unanimous decision victory against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Sept. 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, might just need rehabilitation instead, adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN.com on Thursday.
Martinez, 37, of Argentina, was originally scheduled to have the procedure on Wednesday in Spain, where he lived for several years and still visits regularly. However, Lewkowicz said Martinez's doctor wanted to do additional tests to see if surgery was necessary.
Martinez injured the knee when Chavez, who was way behind on all three scorecards, knocked him down with 90 seconds left in the 12th and final round. That led to an epic finish as Martinez made it to his feet and, instead of grabbing or trying to avoid contact, traded toe-to-toe with Chavez for the rest of the fight.
"They did MRI on Monday and the doctor that takes care of Sergio told him he needs another test or another MRI so he can decide if he needs the operation or if he can just go through treatment and rehabilitation," Lewkowicz said. "Rehab without surgery is a possibility. They will make that decision next week when they get the results of the test."
Martinez also is nursing a fractured left hand and needed five stitches to close a cut over his eye and two staples in his scalp to close a deep gash.
Despite the injuries, Lewkowicz said Martinez is enjoying his time in Spain, where he is visiting friends. In late October, Martinez will return to Argentina, where Lewkowicz said he has been invited to meet the country's president.
Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) is expected to return to the ring "sometime in May," Lewkowicz said. There's a good chance he will meet Chavez in an eventual rematch, but the timing is up in the air because Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) faces a suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for testing positive for marijuana after the fight.
Lewkowicz also said it was possible that Martinez could fight a homecoming match in Argentina, where he said the government is interested in getting involved. If Martinez fights in Argentina, Lewkowicz said the bout would take place in April.
With Martinez winning a significant fight against Chavez and super middleweight champion Andre Ward scoring a 10th-round knockout of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who came down in weight, one week earlier, some have suggested that Martinez move up in weight to challenge Ward. It's a natural fight because they are separated only by division and rank close to each other on most pound-for-pound top-5 lists.
However, Lewkowicz said Ward is not in their plans.
"Andre Ward is too big for Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez and I won't allow it to happen," Lewkowicz said. "Martinez is too small. He's always been a small middleweight. He can still fight at junior middleweight. He weighed 159 for Chavez. He's been 158, 157 for fights. He eats on the day of the weigh-in, so how can I put him at 168? I won't do that."
Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, originally scheduled to undergo right knee surgery to repair a tear suffered during his unanimous decision victory against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., might be able to go through rehabilitation.