Maravilla Martinez is now in elite company.
Sergio Martinez hadn’t even won his fight last Saturday against Sergei Dzinziruk and Max Kellerman and Jim Lampley were already fantasizing over who could be next. So it was inevitable after the mastery Martinez had displayed over Dzinziruk, a man who claimed to have never been down and who was known to be a supremely skilled boxer, that the boxing media and fans alike would be buzzing with visions of pound-for-pound matchups dancing in their heads.
This is boxing, people. Come on. We will never see Martinez against the likes of Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. Would it be interesting? It wouldn’t just be interesting; it would be amazing. But let’s just stick to getting Pacquiao vs. Mayweather done for now.
Again I say, this is boxing. And in boxing, we know that there is usually a great disparity between the fights we want to see and the fights we actually get to see. And the fights we get to see that were once dream matchups usually take place when one or both fighters are far beyond their primes.
This does not bode well for Maravilla Martinez.
This is because he possesses the deadly one-two combination that all fighters want to stay away from. No, not the stiff jab followed by a thundering overhand. No, not even the deadly hook to the body, hook to the head version of the one-two.
It’s the one-two combo of high-risk, low-reward.
Everyone in the business is aware of Martinez now, but there really is no reason why Pacquiao, Mayweather or Miguel Cotto would fight him other than for some notion of honor or legacy. While those reasons may be why some fights are made, the basic, most truthful reason men dedicate their lives to boxing and train like Spartan warriors in the lead up to a fight and stand in the ring and bludgeon one another is for money. Plain and simple.
So, other than the three fighters I just mentioned, two of which are true welterweights, there really aren’t any name fighters in the junior middleweight division who will fight Martinez. And there really aren’t any name fighters in the middleweight division.
James Kirkland: He’s a killer in the ring. He makes me nervous just watching him on television thousands of miles away. Not to mention that his ring moniker is “The Mandingo Warrior.” Maybe it’s not just his ring moniker, I don’t know. Maybe he likes to be called that outside of the ring, too. If he does, I’m sure there are a whole lot of men who wouldn't have a problem calling him "Mr. Mandingo Warrior" if they felt the need.
It’s a fight that makes perfect sense. No one is beating down the door to fight Kirkland and no one other than Kirkland is calling out Martinez. It would be a classic matchup of styles. Kirkland is the straight forward mauler while Martinez is the athletic boxer whose skills seem to be improving with each fight.
A victory for Kirkland would elevate him to star status and with his demeanor and persona, he could make an even bigger name for himself in the media. In boxing, infamous is usually just as good as famous. A victory for Martinez would elevate him into the elite level with Pacquiao and Mayweather and he probably could command substantially larger paychecks.
Yet if there were anyone in the business with a higher risk, lower reward than Martinez, it would be Kirkland. He doesn’t have a big enough name to where fighters are going to get paid a lot of money to get their tails kicked. No, they would have to agree to get beat, with a strong likelihood of getting knocked out, for short money —and that just isn’t good business.
But I believe Martinez when he says that he wants to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and that he doesn’t want easy fights. He’s very confident and deservedly so. However, it looks like Martinez will probably fight Peter Manfredo this summer before taking a big fight in the fall.
And that’s okay. Martinez has fought nothing but strong competition for a few years now and Kirkland needs a few more fights under his belt to knock off any ring rust he may have.
Credit Max Kellerman for mentioning this fight. Hopefully his employers at HBO were listening and hopefully, yet unfortunately for him, Martinez will see that the only real fight to be made is with Kirkland.