At 37 years old the clock is ticking for Martinez not only in terms of landing the elusive big money fight, but also in terms of establishing a legacy along the lines of his boxing idol: fellow Argentine Carlos Monzon. Mr. Monzon (87-3 with 59 KOs) is widely regarded as one of the top three all time great middleweights.
Although Carlos fought his entire career at 160 lbs, the difference between Monzon’s era and Martinez’s era is that Monzon had Hall of Famers like Emile Griffith (who he beat twice) and Jose Napoles (who he beat as well). Sure, Griffith and Napoles were slightly past their prime when Monzon faced them, but Monzon himself was no spring chicken either. Keep in mind that being over 30 back in the 70’s was equivalent to being in your late 30’s/early 40’s in today’s era which is exactly where Martinez is at the current time.
Martinez got a late start in boxing (especially for a non heavyweight) lacing up the gloves for the first time in 1995 at the advanced age of 20. A superb athlete, Martinez was an accomplished cyclist and soccer player prior to turning to the sweet science. Sergio turned pro at welterweight and went undefeated in his first 17 fights before suffering a setback in a stoppage loss to Antonio Margarito.
Martinez got back on the winning track and ended up capturing the WBC Interim Junior Middleweight title and ultimately moved up and captured the Linear Middleweight Title from Kelly Pavlik. Martinez’s one punch KO over Paul Williams was spectacular but in his last two fights over non- descript opposition, Martinez although victorious, has lost some momentum and is in danger of languishing in a shallow division.
Martinez has received justified criticism for calling out naturally smaller fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in search of a big payday while campaigning 8 pounds south of a division not only much deeper, but ruled by a potential all time great and breakout star: Super Six winner and fellow top 5 pound for pounder Andre Ward. Why Martinez has not called out Ward is baffling.
Ward is only slightly taller than Martinez and although very physically strong, is not a big puncher. Instead of being willing to face Ward or at least a couple guys at 168 who Ward beat on the way to winning the tournament, Sergio has insisted on making himself look like the bullies that he admirably speaks out against while outside the ring doing charitable work. If that’s not irony defined, I don’t know what is.
It would behoove Martinez who began as a welterweight and currently walks around in the mid to upper 170’s to cease calling out men who started their careers weighing somewhere between what Nicole Ritchie and Megan Fox weigh and start thinking long and hard about fighting men like Ward who not only are more his size, but would afford him the opportunity to potentially go down with the greats like Monzon. In regards to legacy, a win over Ward would be worth more than Mayweather and Pacquiao combined. That’s assuming he could even beat those guys after melting down to 154 pounds at this stage of his career. Severe weight draining above the age of 35 is not the brightest idea in the world.
Just ask Roy Jones and Chris Byrd how that worked out for them.
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