Middleweight Champ Sergio Martinez: A Guy You Can Root For
Sergio Martinez just won the World Middleweight title and guess what he chose to do next?
If you guessed purchasing a Bentley and hitting the Vegas strip hard with an entourage in tow, you are wrong.
No, the guy nicknamed “Maravilla” (marvelous) is choosing to use his new found fame to petition men, namely fellow athletes, to end violence against women.
In the aftermath of last week’s news that shed light on the tragic suicide of Venezuelan boxing champ, Edwin Valero and his subsequent abuse and murder of his wife, Jennifer Carolina Viera, Martinez has announced plans to campaign against violence towards women.
"I love and respect women. Violence against women is simply unacceptable," Martinez said.
Martinez, with the help of promoter, Lou DiBella, plans to enlist boxing promoters and various boxing sanctioning bodies to create a foundation and spread the message.
"Sergio is going to petition the different sanctioning bodies and the different boxing dignitaries to make them know he is serious in this effort," said Sampson Lewkowicz, Martinez's adviser.
At 35, Martinez is still relatively new to the casual fan.
After beating up on Argentinian opposition in relative obscurity, Martinez suffered his first loss to a quality opponent when he was knocked out by then, up and comer, Antonio Margarito in 2000
It wasn’t until 2009 that Martinez got another shot on the main stage, when his fight against Kermit Cintron ended in a controversial draw that many thought he had won.
As the aggressor in that fight, Martinez demonstrated the quickness and athleticism that have become his trademark.
More importantly, people started taking notice of his skills.
HBO's Jim Lampley, no stranger to the square ring, exclaimed Martinez "the fastest Jr. Middleweight I've ever seen."
If fans hadn’t heard about Martinez by then, it was his next fight - a year-end slugfest with Paul “The Punisher” Williams, that many (including this writer) felt was the best fight of the year - that put Martinez on the map.
This twelve round masterpiece showcased Martinez’s quick hands and strong chin, as he and Williams exchanged flurries and knockdowns to the delight of the crowd.
The decision went to Williams, but anyone who watched it, knew it could have gone either way.
And it was Martinez’s comments after the bout that showed his heart.
"They called [Williams] the most feared man in the world, but I didn't have any fear at all in this bout," Martinez said.
In a classy response to the one judge who ridiculously scored the fight 119-110 in Williams’ favor, Martinez replied, “It was an error. It was a true error," Martinez said, "We should have a rematch."
Last week, Martinez fulfilled a career-long dream of becoming a World Champion.
And he did it by beating a fan favorite, Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik, on American soil, in convincing fashion.
No post fight shout outs to corporate sponsors.
"It is a great honor for me and my country to fight fighters like this," Martinez said, "When the last bell rang I knew I was the new world champion."
And now he’s fighting for women’s rights.
Now that seems like a guy I can root for.
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