After absorbing a strafing left hook that followed a vicious headbutt in the fourth round of an April 2014 match against Josesito Lopez, welterweight journeyman Aaron Martinez turned his back on his opponent in pain while referee Jack Reiss awarded a TKO victory to Lopez. The fight televised nationally on ESPN2 equated to the third loss in the 30 something-year-old Martinez’s career, which basically equates to a grim career diagnosis.
In 2015, Premier Boxing Champions, a well-funded, ambitious boxing entity began producing many fight cards, sprinkled amongst a variety “free” television outlets. The inaugural card in March featured big names such as Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero and the follow up in April featured another set of big names, Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson.
After the initial cards were completed in the Spring, the PBC announced its summer schedule. Perhaps the novelty had worn to a degree or perhaps the next set of matchups didn’t feature the same sexy names as the initial cards, many boxing were not exactly thrilled on what was next on the docket.
The announcement of a Saturday afternoon card on NBC in June specifically was met with dissent, which pitted former multi-division world champion Robert Guerrero versus the previously mentioned unheralded journeyman Aaron Martinez. Little did we know that this would be the same Martinez that would earn Tha Boxing Voice’s 2015 Comeback of the Year award.
Martinez of East Los Angeles (20 – 4 – 1, 4 KO’s), entered the June fight at the StubHub Center after over a year of inactivity from the 2014 Lopez loss. Guerrero, who at one point fought pound for pound Floyd Mayweather, was entering the fight as a massive favorite. Hence, the fans dissent when the match was announced.
Guerrero began the fight at a slow pace while the seemingly fresh Martinez applied his high-pressure style to a degree of effectiveness. All of a sudden, during the waning moments of the fourth round, a vicious body to head flurry sunk Guerrero to the canvas in a knockdown that shocked those watching. Guerrero was able to beat the count and seconds later the bell rang the end the fourth.
Guerrero was able to pick up his pace during the second half of the ten round affair, but Martinez continued his pressure attack as the fight headed to the scorecards. In a fight that could have gone either way, Guerrero was ultimately awarded a razor-thin split decision victory. Although denied the win, Martinez displayed a ton of heart and some talent too. He even made his broadcasting debut, calling some of the fights with the NBC crew. Good day overall. Little did we know this was just the start.
Former two-division world champion Devon Alexander was in need of an opponent for an October comeback fight to be televised by ESPN under the PBC banner. After making a nice impression versus Guerrero, Martinez was tabbed for the gig. Entering this welterweight bout in Glendale, Arizona a +3000 underdog, Martinez again was given a “no chance” label by the public. However, this did not stop ultra determined Aaron, who pulled off a unanimous decision victory to the shock of the boxing world for the second time in 2015.
Let’s not forget that this is the same Aaron Martinez, who in 2014 was slumped against the ropes, writhing in pain from that left hook by Lopez. The same Martinez who took fourteen months off and returned to knockdown and almost beat Guerrero. The same guy who beat overcame +3000 odds in defeating Alexander.
Aaron Martinez can now proudly rest assured he’s recognized by the boxing community and his number ten ranking at welterweight (Transnational Boxing Ratings) is proof.
The 2015 Comeback Fighter of the Year will again be presented with another, well-deserved opportunity January 23rd in adopted hometown Los Angeles against the undefeated, highly skillful Sammy Vasquez in a ten round welterweight fight that be aired live in primetime over FOX. The fight should garner an audience in the millions, giving Martinez excellent exposure. A victory here by Martinez should catapult right into world title contention. Congrats on 2015 Mr.Martinez, job well done.
Thaboxingvoice is a multiplatform news/entertainment outlet dedicated to bringing you regional, coast-to-coast, and international coverage from the boxing world. Although our twice weekly podcast elected to have its own award show, we at TBV have a dedicated and supremely knowledgeable staff with talents ranging in several areas of expertise. Thus, the following article is the representation of the staff dedicated to TBV’s website.
Some of the picks may not line up with those announced on TBV’s live radio show/podcast, this is both intentional and inevitable. The voting panel was made up of a completely different set of panelist compared to that of the show (with the exception of one voter). The voting process was comprised of a point system based on a multi-selection ballot.