When a prospect rises up the ranks, makes a bit of noise, and turns into a legitimate contender, fight fans begin to take notice. In a time, however, when alphabet titles are handed out like courage badges in a Cub Scout troop, the term world champion has lost some of its luster.
For the top 10 or 15 guys in each division, the allure of beating one of the best in the sport, the undisputed champ, the baddest person at your weight class, means more than any belt, title, or paycheck. The athlete in them, the competitor, can’t constrain his will to win and his desire to leave their mark on the sport.
Every generation has just a handful of these fighters against which a victory is like the holy grail. Fifteen years ago, Oscar, Lennox and Roy would have made this list. Ten years ago, if you beat Bernard, you were instantly ushered into superstardom. Manny was the guy three years ago. Today, most would agree that if you beat Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, either Klitschko, or Sergio Martinez, you have officially arrived.
British middleweight Martin Murray is targeting Martinez in Sergio’s home town of Buenos Aires on April 27th . For him, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. “There’s no better way to prove yourself than by fighting the best middleweight on the planet. When the fight came up, there wasn’t even a question that arose. I immediately thought ‘let’s just show the world what we’re about. Let’s get it on!’ There will be millions of people watching it worldwide so it’s a great opportunity for me.”
To reach the upper echelon of the sport, Murray will have to do something that no fighter has been able to convincingly accomplish since Antonio Margarito stopped a budding and inexperienced Martinez in his 18th professional fight, and his first one outside of Argentina.
Since that night nearly 13 years ago, Martinez has beat the pants out of every person that has entered the ring to face him, and most would agree that this includes the disputed draw and loss to Kermit Cintron and Paul Williams respectively.
Regarding the April matchup, which will be televised on HBO, Murray states “I’ve never fought a southpaw as a pro so that will be a new thing for me. He’s very awkward. [But] I’m a very versatile fighter and without going into too much detail, I know how to beat Martinez. We’ve seen a couple of little flaws that will allow us to jump all over him. I train in all kinds of styles at the gym so I’ll have an answer for whatever Martinez brings that day.”
Some say that if there was ever a perfect time to fight Sergio, this would be it. The champ is coming off a very tough battle against Julio César Chavez Jr. and a surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.
When asked about Sergio’s last few fights, Murray acknowledged “They all had their moments and seemed to cause him a few problems but, like I said, I’m a very versatile fighter and I know I’m a better fighter than his last three opponents (Chavez Jr. Macklin, Barker). “ Then confidently adds, “I know I can bring a number of styles to do the job when we fight on April 27th.”
Tha Boxing Voice team will be live on the ground bringing you all of the fight week action from Argentina for this premier event. You won’t want to miss it.