Sergio Martinez said fans should expect only the biggest and best fights possible from here on out. The 39-year-old faces Miguel Cotto this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, and said the popular Puerto Rican wasn’t the only megastar he’s interesting in fighting before he retires.
“I always want to fight the best,” said Martinez. “If the best present themselves to me, it’s better for me as a fighter.”
Depending on which way you think about it, fighting the best could mean either of two possible scenarios. Or perhaps even both. The best middleweight Martinez has yet to face is undefeated WBA champion Gennady Golovkin. The best fighter overall Martinez could conceivably meet at a catchweight is Pound for Pound superstar Floyd Mayweather.
I asked Martinez about both of them.
“Gennady Golovkin is a great champion. He’s one of the options for a future fight. But in terms of marketability, he’s not at the level yet of Miguel Cotto or Floyd Mayweather. Where a lot of people in boxing know him, outside of that, he’s not really mainstream.”
Martinez indicated he would rather face Mayweather, and it makes sense. While hardcore fight fans want to see if longtime lineal champion Martinez can stave off the young and hungry monster, Golovkin, a bout against Mayweather would generate exponentially more money and fame.
While Mayweather has never fought at middleweight before, Martinez said he believes an agreeable contract weight could be reached between the two camps fighters could be happy about.
Regardless, Martinez did not want to speculate what weight he might be willing to come down to in order to land a fight against Mayweather.
“When it comes to what weight I could fight Mayweather at, I would have to have a full team meeting with my management, with my doctors and my nutritionists to see what the safest weight I can go down to.”
Before you scoff at the idea of Martinez facing Mayweather, consider this: the rift between factions at Golden Boy Promotions as well as his refusal to work with Top Rank might mean Mayweather has to think outside the box relatively soon to find viable opponents.
Moreover, when Martinez faces Cotto on Saturday, he’ll also be facing a fighter who has never fought at middleweight. The fight was made because the two camps agreed to a contract weight of 159 pounds.
Martinez said he feels very comfortable fighting at the weight. Moreover, he said he was surprised Cotto would so readily agree to it, insinuating he might have been willing to come down much further if he had only been asked.
Martinez seems to think Mayweather would want him to come down much lower.
“I wouldn’t want to go down to a weight where I would basically just be a sitting duck with no energy. That would defeat the purpose of the fight. I don’t want to fight Mayweather for the paycheck. I want to fight Mayweather to beat him.”
While Martinez seems to be heading towards the end of the line as a fighter, he said age and injury haven’t deterred him from pressing forward. Moreover, he refused to speculate how much longer fans can expect to see him in the ring.
“I have one more fight left on my HBO contract. I’m going to honor that and then I will see how I feel afterwards.”
But Martinez said he feels fine as of right now. In fact, he was happy to report how quickly injuries suffered last year had healed, and he said he expects to knock out Cotto before Round 9.
“My physical therapy has been excellent…my injuries have healed faster than normal.”
Still, one may think nagging aches and pains might have an effect on Martinez come fight night. Will he be worrying about his body giving way as it has done after his last two fights?
“It doesn’t cross my mind at all.”