Sergio Martinez had to stand back, compose himself, and literally wipe a grin of his face when asked to do a face-to-face staredown with Matthew Macklin at Madison Square Garden during a press conference to tubthump for their March 17 Theatre showdown on Wednesday.
The easy-going Argentina-born hitter isn't the sort to be bombastic and talk a load of trash to try and lure the top dogs in the revenue department into a marquee fight, but that doesn't mean he won't stir the pot. Martinez called out the Top Rank twosome, of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, with some salty wording on Wednesday.
"The public and the fans are getting really tired of who's fighting who, 'will Pacquiao fight Mayweather, and will Mayweather fight Pacquiao,' I give up on that, I don't want to be involved in the discussion who's fighting who," Martinez said, when asked for a comment on the latest round of flirtation in the Manny-Mayweather danceoff. "I believe it's time for not only talk but action and if by any chance anyone wants to fight me, let's sit and talk about it, the weight and the division. But I'm getting really sick of it and I believe it's doing wrong for boxing," he said through interpreter Sampson Lewkowicz.
Martinez said he doesn't buy it when Pacquiao says that he just fights who his promoter puts in front of him. "This is an act of cowardice by Manny and Chavez, they say only what the promoter says," Martinez said. "I'm my own man, the champion, I would never ask the permission of my promoter. If you want the fight, take the fight, don't say "my promoter," that's a coward's talk. Both of them..Chavez and Pacquiao are a puppet of Bob Arum. I'm not a puppet for Lou DiBella. I'll fight anyone, that is the difference. I don't ask Lou which one he wants me to fight, I speak myself, and when anyone's challenge makes sense, I will do it."
The boxer, who said he didn't want to discuss who he'll fight next, because he respects March 17 challenger Matthew Macklin, nevertheless did manage to launch a broadside at Junior. "Chavez will never fight me," he said. "He's afraid."
Promoter Lou DiBella reiterated that he'd be happy to entertain offers for Martinez to fight either Mayweather of Pacquiao, but came off as burnt out on the babbling about those two. "I can't force anyone to make a fight...Sergio's there, willing to take a small percentage of the money in order to make the fights, but there's no sense in me talking about it any longer. Aren't you sick of talking about Pacquiao fighting Mayweather? Eff Pacquiao and Mayweather, let them fight each other if they can get around to it."
The March 17 fight will, by the way, run on HBO. You might have thought, after Martinez said he was dumping the cabler last week, that he'd be heading to Showtime. But HBO smoothed things over with a meet and greet yesterday, and at MSG, promoter DiBella said that he was happy Martinez and HBO are working together, because HBO made Martinez by putting him on so much.
--Andy Lee will fight on the card, but no foe has been chosen, as of this writing. The foe announcement could come today.
---Peter Quillin was at the presser and he told me he'd love that bout. He also said that he went up to Giovanni Lorenzo, also present, and Lorenzo didn't choose to repeat pointed comments he'd made to the press about Quillin to the fighter's face.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV