|ESPN.com: Boxing||[Print without images]|
|Martin Murray, right, will have a tough task trying to take the title away from Sergio Martinez.|
Britain's Martin Murray isn't well known on the global stage, but if he finds a way to pull off what he has planned, that will change overnight.
On April 27, Murray will challenge middleweight champion Argentina's Sergio Martinez -- a member of boxing's pound-for-pound elite who has blossomed into a local hero -- on his home soil at Velez Sarsfield soccer stadium in Buenos Aires.
Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs), who recently has been in Argentina to promote the fight, believes that his time is now and expects to take the belt away from Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs). He spoke to ESPN Radio about his training, expectations and being the underdog in the biggest fight of his career.
A month ahead of the Martinez fight, how has training gone?
Yeah, everything's going really well. The fight is getting closer now, so I am getting myself more prepared for April 27.
How dangerous do you think Martinez will be?
Well, just as dangerous as they come. Extremely dangerous. He's a great fighter. He's a southpaw, he's going to be ready for war on April 27. We're going to put on a great fight.
Martinez is almost eight years older than you. Do you think your age can be an advantage?
Not so much, really. I mean, you could look at that and say I am eight years younger than him, but on the other side you could say he's got more experience than me. I am not going into that fight thinking that I am younger and I have an advantage on him. I am going to prepare myself for the best Sergio Martinez that he can be. That's what we'll see on the day of the fight, because I know he's going to want to put on a good show. I am expecting him at his best.
And how important is Martinez's experience?
It's actually important. You can't buy experience. Sergio has fought all over the world, fought many times for the world title, and he has been in the elite class for years and years now, so you can't just learn that type of experience. So I think this is the biggest thing that I have against me in this fight.
Sergio says that he has trained as hard for you as he did for the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight last September.
Yeah, I mean, he's going to be in great shape and so am I. You have to be physically prepared in this game, and mentally. You never know how the fight is going to end, but you always plan for the fight going 12 rounds. And it's always good to be in great shape, because like I said, you never know what's going to happen in a fight.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. said you can beat Martinez. What does that mean to you?
Well, we know we can beat Martinez. But I am the one who has to go out and beat him, and everything's stacked against me. But it is good to have one or two people backing me and saying that I can beat him. But when that happens, it's not going to be a surprise for me and my team.
The fight will be held at a soccer stadium with a capacity for 40,000 spectators. Have you ever fought in front of so many fans?
No, I've not. The most I've done is about 15,000. So I never had the pleasure of fighting in a [soccer] stadium in front of so many spectators, so it's going to be a new experience for me -- but an experience I'm looking forward to. Just to fight as the world's No. 1 contender, and fighting an Argentine in a great country like Argentina and being a massive underdog, it means a lot to me. It's as big as it gets for me, and I am surely looking forward to it.
Will the pro-Martinez crowd be a factor working against you or extra pressure for Martinez?
Yes, I mean, I don't know. Speaking for myself, it's not going to be any problem for me. The only person that I hear when I fight is my trainer in the corner. It won't affect me. I can't speak for Sergio, but there's going to be a lot of Argentines there watching and he's going to want to put on a great performance. I can't really comment, but I suppose you could say there is an added bit of pressure for him.
|Martin Murray, right, says he would put his defense and intelligence at the top of the list among today's middleweights.|
Argentina and the United Kingdom have a thorny shared history, especially since the 1982 Falklands War. How do you think the fans here will treat you?
When I came over to Argentina for one week for a press conference, we were asked a lot of things about Argentina and about what happened in the past. But when we got over there, we were treated absolutely beautifully by the people. They were so easygoing and just so nice, they treated us really well. But it's going to be different in sports, but that's all this is at the end of the day -- it's sports. May the best man win, and whatever happens, at the end of the day me and Martinez will shake hands. Nothing is forever. I hope that people who come to watch, the spectators, can understand that old adage of sports.
Martinez described you to us as "a good guy." Explain how a fighter steps into the ring to fight someone with whom he has a good relationship?
Yeah, I mean, I could say the same about Martinez myself. He's a friendly guy, he is very respectful to everybody, very much like myself. But it changes when you fight. You want to get in there and you want to get the job done. You just switch off. That's what it's all about when you fight. It's just about winning.
How would you construct your perfect middleweight boxer?
Defense, I've got one of the best, if not the best, defense out there. Movement, I'll take Sergio Martinez; I think his movements, the way he moves around the ring is brilliant. Power, I'd say Gennady Golovkin for power. Toughness, I'd take Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He is very tough. Speed, you could say Martinez again for the speed, but [I choose] myself for the boxing brain. I have a very good boxing brain and I am a very intelligent fighter.
If you could fight any of the greats in boxing history, who would you like to face?
Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. He was one of my boxing idols growing up, a fighter I looked up to. I think if I could fight anybody, it would be him. Another favorite fighter of mine is an English fighter called Nigel Benn. He was middleweight and super middleweight champion of the world. It'd be either of them two.
How do you imagine the night of the fight unfolding?
I know I am going to go there and win. Me and my team are going to go to Argentina and on April 27 we're going to shock the world and we're going to take that WBC belt back home with us.