He will have cake, because today, Friday, is his birthday.
But even though he is a heavyweight, and can be whatever he wants on the scale, “Prince” Charles Martin won't indulge, he told me, till after he fights at Madison Square Garden on Saturday evening.
Martin, a St. Louis native who now lives in LA, and is promoted by King Sports Worldwide, will get a sweet treat after taking on Tom Dallas, a 6-6 Brit, underneath the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings main event at MSG.
The WBO No. 2 ranked heavyweight will fight off TV, and is figuring bigger things will soon come if he keeps on keeping on.
I chatted with him via phone Friday, and made a crack about how he likely had a gameface on, and how thrilled he must be with having to yap with an interrogator the day before the opportunity of his life.
“Nah, I ain't like that,” the 29-year-old said to me. “Day like today, I'm cracking jokes, I don't have that game face going.”
That isn't to say he doesn't realize the stakes. “I'm fighting at the mecca of boxing,” the 20-0-1 lefty (18 KOs) said. “I'm very excited. Klitschko hasn't been here in like ten years, this is his return, it's a special moment.”
Foe Dallas is 17-4, with 12 Kos, and has been stopped four times, so the table is set for Martin to win. “I got to keep the guard up, anything can happen, I'm not taking him lightly. But I want to look sensational. I want everybody to love me for the hard work I put in. You mix hard work with talent, it's a beautiful thing.”
After a win, he'd like to fight again quickly, stay active. He has Tyson Fury in front of him in the WBO and Fury could get a crack at Wlad, or Jennings, next. He's No. 5 in the IBF, so if Wlad wants to drop that belt, Martin would happily fight Czar Glazkov in an eliminator, he told me.
“Hopefully either way I will get a title shot by the end of the year,” he said.
The boxer seems so grounded and has a fabulous introspective streak. He told me boxing can be like a marriage; you have to sometimes work to keep it fresh, not let it get stale. The fighter is one of those sorts who is happy to have found this platform; he left St. Louis when his mom saw him drifting toward street activity, at around age 12. At 15, they moved to Colorado, and then him and his older sis moved to Arizona. The heat appealed to him, he said. “Mom took me off the streets, spared me, I love her for that,” he said. “St. Louis was a violent place.”
He doesn't pretend he is a finished product, though I detected a great reservoir of wisdom in him. “I'm always searching, been searching since I was young. Boxing is a platform to me, I want to make investments, head a non profit, speak to at risk youth. The physical I got, it's a mental thing, it's like with females, some days I do love boxing, but it's like with anything with repetition…You got to renew it! I'm chill, but I do have a mean streak, not like a boxing mean streak, and it works good for boxing!”
Basically, he means he's not in the Duran mode of destroyer, but he knows what he is there to do.
Martin enjoys getting time with his four kids, aged 12, 1, four months old, and five months old, he told me. “Time is better than money with kids,” he said, and I agreed, noting my kids don't check my wallet when they hug me, they just want to hang with me, rich or poor. “Yeah,” he said, chuckling, “I know about money stuff, I live in LA, it's pretty expensive. It's sink or swim! And Saturday, I'm definitely gonna swim..and surf..and do the paddle board! It's about having fun!”
And that cake…there will be cake after swimming…but he wants to not bloat up, knows it's important to look and feel strong, so the cake will wait. And, I'm guessing it will taste that much better after a win…
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