Lou Dibella tried to lure Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao into a fight with 2010's Fighter of the Year, Sergio Martinez, but those big fish slithered away, keen for now on fighting less threatening animals.
So Plan C, or D, sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the machinations, which are affected by the networks, and who they will give a thumbs up to, and the promoters, especially Arum, who has lately been loathe to play outside the Top Rank sandbox that much, and the sanctioning bodies, which have their own agendas to attend to, is Sergiy Dzinziruk.
Beyond the hardcore, the types who search out talent and scout them on YouTube, the reaction to that name is...Who?
But it sounds like the southpaw Martinez isn't in that mode, is well aware of what the left-handed Ukrainian born hitter with the 37-0 mark brings to the table, and therefore doesn't seem to be a likely candidate to follow up up his thrilling demolition of Paul Williams on Nov. 20th in Atlantic City with a stinker showing because he was overconfident.
On a Wednesday conference call to bang the drums for their March 12 matchup at Foxwoods in Connecticut, Martinez told the press that he thinks Dzinzi is the best available person for him to face, beyond the other two guys previously mentioned. Dibella called Dzinzi "the best fighter in the world no one knows," and Martinez, who brings a 46-2 record to Connecticut, promised his promoter that he will knock out his foe. "I'm shamed," he said thru an interpreter--his English lessons are a work in progress--"that people maybe don't know the quality of the challenger I will knock out."
Dibella termed this scrap a "no win" sort of outing, though from my seat, I think it would speak volumes if Martinez KOs a guy who hasn't lost in 37 outings, even if his people have not brought the creme de la creme over to his digs, Germany, to test him.
Martinez, who turned 36 on Feb. 21, meanwhile, hasn't been knocking down bowling pins as of late. Dibella termed the crew he's battled, Kermit Cintron, Kelly Pavlik, and Williams, twice, a "murderers row," as difficult a slate fight-after-fight as anyone in recent memory has taken on. For that reason, I see Martinez winning most every round, though I think Dzinzi, who turned 35 on March 1, will be in survivor mode, and won't cave in to a KO.
We all recall that hellacious shot on Williams, which some have termed a "lucky" punch. The boxer told me that it was no lucky shot, that he threw it six times in the bout and landed five of them, and that it was "predetermined." We shall see if he has become more of a heavy-artillery type following that nasty rubout of Williams.
Martinez said he'll dictate the pace and tone, as befitting his stature as a pound for pounder, and that he and trainer Gabriel Sarmiento, who has been overseeing sparring with ex 154 pound champ Daniel Santos and current WBA 154 pound semi-titlist Austin Trout, will next work on a specific strategy. Santos, by the way, met Dzinzi, in a 2005 WBO title defense, and dropped a tight UD12, so props to Martinez advisor Sampson Lewkowicz for securing quality personnel to practice on.
Martinez' tone on the call was that of a confident fighter, and a smooth politician. He said he was excited to fight for the WBC diamond belt, and wasn't overly miffed that his WBC middleweight crown was taken from him, and given to Sebastian Zbik (30-0), who was No. 1 ranked at 160 in the WBC ratings. HBO didn't want Martinez-Zbik, so Martinez and Dibella didn't want Zbik, so the sanctioning body stripped Martinez, made Zbik champ, and have him fighting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in his first defense. Blah blah blah. Sanctioning body silliness is often boring to try and decipher, and I frequently decide to just dispense with it, and talk about the matchup, rather than the ancillary noise and BS surrounding it. Martinez did make clear that he feels he wasn't forced into anything. "I've never been forced on who I need to fight," he said.
Please weigh in in our Forum on what you see going down on March 12.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV