Can Vanes Martirosyan Knock Off Charlo?

If anyone flies under the radar in the sport of prizefighting, it has to be junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan.

Did you know he was a former 2004 US Olympian?

Did you know only one other boxer can claim a win over him? And that was a split decision.

Did you know he fought Erislandy Lara to a draw?

Martirosyan, 29, has never pretended to be hard of hearing when another star boxer’s name is mentioned. Facing US Olympians, Cuban Olympians or undefeated prospects have never affected his willingness to prove himself. Step inside the boxing ring and he’s all for it.

Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 Kos) has another undefeated contender to face in Jermell Charlo (25-0, 11 Kos) on Saturday March, 28, at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Showtime will televise the fight card between junior middleweight contenders.

“I am in great shape, training camp has gone great. I am just as excited for this fight as I was when I fought for the U.S. team in the Olympics,” Martirosyan said.

The tall Glendale, California prizefighter known as “the Nightmare,” has proven to be one of those boxers that never seem to catch the attention of fight fans or critics despite his long success.

Armenian born, the junior middleweight was always catching others by surprise, even as an amateur.

I remember seeing Martirosyan storm the Blue and Gold Tournament back in the early 2000s with his blend of boxing and power punching. He had a mean streak to go along with his hawkish looks and aggressive fighting style. He stood out that day in Baldwin Park as he blitzed other welterweights with a passion in his fighting ability that overwhelmed opponents.

When I heard he made the US Olympic team it came as no surprise. That same year I saw another who fought with that same passion and ability, Andre Ward, who was the boxer who also made the US Olympic team and would go on to win gold. Ward has found success as a super middleweight world champion. Martirosyan has not found his moment. Will he eventually find it?

Martirosyan fights under the Goossen Promotions banner and remains their lone remaining star. When the late Dan Goossen signed the Armenian-American he was convinced he had signed a future world champion. The future is now.

Charlo is one of those dazzling prospects signed by Al Haymon several years ago. He wasn’t signed to lose and this is the moment of truth for the Houston area prizefighter. Martirosyan likes the matchup.

“Jermell (Charlo) is a good boxer, but he’s a basic boxer. He’s done well with guys that he’s supposed to look good against,” said Martirosyan. “There are some guys that he should’ve knocked out that he didn’t. If he hits me I will hit him right back and we’ll see how he handles that.”

In the Armenian fighter’s last appearance in the ring he defeated a taller and younger fighter, much like Charlo.

“All I can do is prepare and go out there and win the fight. After I lost my fight to Demetrius Andrade I felt like a loser. I can’t lose this fight, I’d rather die than go out there and lose again,” said Martirosyan.

Photo credit : Esther Lin/Showtime

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