New York, NY (February 12, 2011) - Middleweight boxing wonder, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, the third best “Pound-for-Pound” boxer in the world (after Manny and Floyd), is on a mission to raise his profile and continue his meteoric ascendancy in the sport in 2011. But, beyond his professional aspirations, he is also determined to take action to address the issue of domestic violence.
The 35-year-old lineal champion of the 160-pound category is preparing for his next bout against junior middleweight titlist Sergei Dzinziruk (37-0, 23 KOs), 34, of Ukraine, on March 12 at Foxwoods Hotel and Casino in Connecticut. The boxing card will be televised on HBO.
Martinez recently attended a press event at a Times Square restaurant in New York City to talk about the upcoming card. Beyond the fight, he revealed his thoughts and feelings about his childhood idol, the legendary Argentinean former boxing champion Carlos Monzon, and why he is so passionate about doing all he can to address the social plague of domestic violence against women.
“It would be great to be held in the same esteem as Monzon,” said Martinez in an exclusive interview with LatinoTop10.com. “But that will be very difficult. In Argentina, Monzon is a myth and a legend. I am just glad to be appreciated by Argentinean fans and by all fans of the sport of boxing.”
Martinez, an uncharacteristically humble Argentinean champion, said he does not expect to receive the same degree of praise lavished on the legendary Monzon. “I will continue to admire him just like any other boxing fan, but I don’t have any expectations to reach his level of adulation,” Martinez said.
Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs), said that he is determined to do all he can to eradicate domestic violence for two main reasons.
“Violence against women is simply unacceptable,” Martinez said. “Unfortunately, a great number of cases, too often involves athletes. I have always confided in my mother and consider myself to be a momma’s boy. Women must be respected, not abused.”
He added that doing something about this social problem would help to improve the image of the sport.
“It’s important because very few people who could do a lot about it, are doing something,” Martinez said. “When I say something many people can hear my message. This is particularly important in my line of work, where I know that some people look at us in a negative light. Is my way of trying to do something to clean up the image of boxing.”
Martinez began his campaign against domestic violence in earnest following the suicide of popular and undefeated Venezuelan boxer Edwin Valero last year. Valero reportedly committed suicide after he confessed to killing his wife. He had a history of domestic violence against his wife and other women.
The rising boxing star won the middleweight championship defeating highly regarded Kelly Pavlik in April. He followed that big win with a spectacular knockout of Paul Williams in their rematch in November.
“I am currently fighting at a very high level and feel like I am ready to achieve big things,” Martinez said at the beginning of the press conference.
With his superb skills and unmatched conditioning, Martinez has already accomplished “big things,” but it sure looks like he can achieve even “bigger things,” and not just inside the ring.
Based on his conviction and seriousness, there is little doubt that Martinez will be able to make an important contribution and make a dent into a major societal problem, and at the same time, improve the image of the sport he loves.
Boxing can surely use a boxer like Martinez—a terrific talent and a role model.
Photo caption: Sergio Martinez, on the right, and Sergei Dzinziruk, at BB Kings restaurant in NYC.
Photo credit: Sammy Naranjo, SNS