Sergio Martinez's Next Opponent Is Likely Sergei Dzinziruk on March 12

Dave CarlsonCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2011

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Sergio Martinez enters the ring against Paul Williams for the Middleweight Championship fight on November 20, 2010 at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

With his stunning win over Paul Williams last November, it appears Sergio Martinez put himself in a difficult predicament.

The performance clearly demonstrated that Martinez is one of the top fighters in the world, and deserves another marquee opponent in his next fight—but it was so dominant that most big names are not interested in facing the Argentinean southpaw.

Almost immediately, speculation began as to who his next fight would be against. The obvious first pick was Manny Pacquiao, but that plan was quickly dismissed by Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum.  Floyd Mayweather's name was also bandied about but also dismissed. 

Then the names of many top middleweights and light middleweights entered the equation, with Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito being some of the front-runners. 

However, in an act that was unfortunate for boxing fans, but likely wise for Cotto's career, he signed to face a faded Ricardo Mayorga, and then slated Antonio Margarito as his next opponent after that fight.

Having recently earned recognition as one of boxing's top three pound for pound fighters, and having beaten most of the viable opposition at middleweight—Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams—there were no great options for Martinez.

HBO wanted Martinez to fight on March 12th, and Sergei Dzinziruk, an undefeated German middleweight with a 37-0 record, emerged as their preferred candidate. With few other options, Martinez entered negotiations with Dzinziruk. 

By all indications, the negotiations have advanced smoothly, but financial issues emerged. 

Dzinziruk, who is co-promoted by Art Pellulo and Gary Shaw, has a very high minimum purse for a fighter of his stature—demanding $750,000 for a televised fight. This fact has been the main point of contention—either Dzinziruk would have to lower his demands or HBO would have to raise the amount they were paying for the fight in order for the negotiations to succeed.

Though no official announcement has been made, it looks like the negotiations are moving toward completion, hinting at a March 12th date and a press conference in New York in February. 

According to BoxRec, a proposed venue is the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The bout would be for Martinez's WBC middleweight title.

Updates will be posted as they become available.