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Sergio Martinez: After Manny Pacquiao & Floyd Mayweather JR

By Gina L. Caliboso

As the current #1 ranked middleweight and fresh off his 8th round TKO over Serhiy Dzinzurik, 37-1, 23 KO’s, Sergio Gabriel “Maravilla” Martinez, 47-2-2, 26 KO’s has only to figure out his next opponent.

Martinez is currently on a confident win streak that demonstrates he is only getting better. It was commented that as Martinez is a late bloomer in boxing having picked up the sport as a way to supplement his training as a cyclist and a soccer player, there is no denying that he is indeed in his prime.

Many would suggest he only pick and choose those bouts that may only be money-makers, but this is perhaps where I give nothing but compliments for the middleweight champ. Martinez has continued to train and fight hard and has decidedly taken on the best the middleweight division has to offer.

To recap, I believe Martinez has evolved as a fighter. With a natural athletic ability, the unorthodox southpaw has established a level of winning confidence in his fighting style. Physically, Martinez has fought taller opponents.

He fought against the much avoided Paul “Punisher” Williams but aptly stood his ground in their first bout. In the first bout, the scoring revealed a lopsided loss of a 12 round MD, but Martinez stood up to Williams and fought as if there was no height difference.

When the two came together for a rematch, Martinez executed a perfectly placed 2nd round KO of Williams for the WBC Middleweight title that had the entire boxing world shaken up of what it would take for a 6’1 boxer to keel over from a KO. It wasn’t a pretty sight for Williams.

Prior to his 2nd round KO bout with Williams, Martinez fought against Kelly “Ghost” Pavlik for the WBC and WBO Middleweight titles and came away with a 12 round unanimous decision. It wasn’t pretty for Pavlik either. In the division that held the ranks of the most competitive fighters, both Williams and Pavlik remain as light middleweights whereas as Martinez has decided to gain some weight and lead the middleweight division.

But now, it’s entirely possible that the light middleweight division within its ranks includes the best contenders in boxing right now. I think Martinez has shown he can move down in weight as necessary without sacrificing power. However, the question is if with all the hard work he has put into being the best pound for pound fighter as a middleweight, the light middleweight contenders just may have to decide to take a risk, move up in weight, and fight the champion Martinez.

Martinez has comfortably fought as high as 159 lbs and in his recent bout against Dzinzurik, he weighed in at 158-3/4. In his KO win against Williams, Martinez fought at an agreed catch weight at 158 lbs. Against Pavlik, Martinez weighed in at 159 lbs. I don’t perceive Martinez to have incredible speed as a boxer, but he still manages to outbox his opponent with a strong counter and still beats his opponent with pulling off better punch combination to counter his opponent. Martinez is simply a smart, intelligent fighter. I believe his corner gives him the flexibility to take his strengths and use them smartly against any opponent. But right now, let’s take a look at the middleweight division that Martinez rightly dominates.

Currently, German fighter Felix Sturm, 35-2, 15 KO’s is ranked #2 behind Martinez. I’m looking, looking, until finally I see a name that might actually be some competition for Martinez. Ranked #12, Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez “JC”, JR., 42-0, 30 KO’s might actually be ready to take a leap and put his undefeated record to the test. Chavez JR is set to fight for the WBC Middleweight title against Sebastian Zbik, 30-0, 10 KO’s in June.

At 25, Chavez has fought quite a bit. Again, it can be a case of quality over quantity. Chavez has not fought against the caliber of opponent he should be fighting especially with his KO ability. Chavez JR might actually make for a good opponent against Martinez. The younger Chavez would perhaps have the height and weight advantage at 6 feet, as he has comfortably fought and won at 160 lbs.

This past weekend, I saw the replay of the Cotto-Mayorga bout and now see that Cotto is the current #1 ranked light middleweight. Cotto aside, Martinez has already beaten both Williams, ranked #3 and Kermit Cintron, 38-3, 28 KO’s ranked #5.

There is also Antonio Margarito, 38-7, 27 KO’s ranked #9. But I’m seriously peaked at the thought of one light middleweight in particular – Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 36-0, 26 KO’s maybe? Alvarez is currently ranked #6. But here’s why I think Alvarez should step up and out of the light middleweight division.

In Alvarez’s last bout against Matthew Hatton, he weighed in at 151-1/2. As Cotto managed to move from the welterweight division and is now ranked #1 as a light middleweight, I think Alvarez could easily transition out of the light middleweights division. To me, Alvarez is built like a middleweight. He is tremendously strong and he, like Martinez, isn’t over 6 feet. Alvarez measures in at 5’9. Martinez vs. Alvarez would make for an excellent matchup physically.

Whether against Chavez JR or Alvarez, Martinez definitely has a few things on his side. First, he continues to take opponents without much hesitation and he has met the challenge of being in great shape physically. Second, he is a marquee player now in boxing. Martinez has the boxing ability, charisma, and a winning confident attitude to get a high profile fight and he, as the current middleweight champ, should definitely negotiate for a bigger financial payoff. Finally, I’d like to add that with all the attention being paid on the sport of boxing and its state of a post Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather world, Martinez is one of the best fighters in the sport right now. I am the queen of speculation on potential match ups, but really, Sergio Gabriel “Maravilla” Martinez is at the top of boxing. And rightly so, all Martinez needs to do is wait and see because he will definitely have no shortage of opponents.

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