Sergio Martinez Announces Retirement, HBO President Ken Hershman Responds

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Sergio+Martinez+Sergio+Martinez+v+Paul+Williams+XcUYwghon_4lSergio Martinez is officially retired. He announced the news at the Hall of Fame banquet and the news was mentioned on tonight’s HBO “Boxing After Dark” Broadcast.

 

We last saw Martinez against Miguel Cotto in June of last year. He was thoroughly beaten for 10 rounds when the referee called a halt to the bout after his corner was convinced he’d had enough. Martinez was knocked down three times in the first round, and it seemed as though Martinez suffered an injury to his already damaged right knee.

 

The bad leg was the focus of the promotion and most experts felt like the fight boiled down to Martinez’s health. The injury was evident in his April 2013 fight with Martin Murray, and it sidelined him for over a year.

 

After the Cotto fight, it was clear that his handicapped performance might’ve been his last.

 

There has been speculation for months that Martinez was looking for an opponent. Then, more recently, rumors of retirement began to surface. It was hard to picture Martinez, a fighter that has always thrived on competition, hanging up the gloves after his last debacle. However, it was just as hard imagining the hobbled, one-legged fighter that we saw against Cotto ever fighting a top middleweight, or any middleweight for that matter.

 

Martinez was a late bloomer in boxing after transitioning to the sport from soccer, a popular sport in his native country of Argentina. He was heavily avoided in the junior middleweight division, even as a champion, so much so that he was forced to move up to middleweight in order to attract the bigger names.

 

He captured the lineal middleweight title from Kelly Pavlik in April of 2010, but his popularity skyrocketed after viciously knocking out Paul Williams in the rematch of their first fight 11 months prior. HBO fell in love with Martinez, which was evident by the fact that he’d fought 10 consecutive fights for the network spanning from 2009-2014.

 

All of Martinez’s biggest fights were fought on HBO, including his nearly dominant unanimous decision victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., which offered us one of the most dramatic 12 rounds in the last few decades.

 

HBO will remember Martinez fondly, and even though current HBO president Ken Hershman didn’t deal with Martinez as much as his predecessors, he offered up some kind words about the 40yr old Argentinian.

 

“Like millions of boxing fans around the world who have enjoyed watching his spectacular career, everybody at HBO Sports will miss Sergio’s professionalism and elite fighting skills. What we will do is celebrate a career that is full of accomplishments by one of the most determined athletes of this generation.

 

“Watching Sergio win the lineal world middleweight championship on HBO was a landmark moment in the sport’s history. More importantly, our respect and admiration for Sergio as an individual is unmeasurable,” Hershman said.

 

It is almost a guarantee that we will see some sort of memorial tribute to Martinez in the form of an HBO documentary sometime soon. I’m sure it will be great because Martinez was a rare athlete because he wasn’t just a fantastic fighter. As Hershman reminds us, Martinez was a champion for the bullied and took a stance against bullying before the issue was brought to light a few years later.

 

“His decision to be an activist and campaign against bullying is just one example of how he has taken his celebrity and used it as a positive force to make the world a better place. We will be forever grateful to Sergio and his team for allowing HBO to chronicle his remarkable journey to the top of the sport.”