By Mitch Abramson
Christian Martinez, a junior welterweight from the Bronx, is intent on fighting on the Dec. 3 undercard of Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito at Madison Square Garden. Although his left hand is sore, and may require surgery Martinez, who hasn’t fought since October of last year because of the injury, wants to fight on the big stage, even if he might be limited to just one hand.
“I’m going to take it,” he said on Tuesday of the fight. “I’m not supposed to be fighting because my hand is so damaged. [The doctor] even told me that I might not ever be able to box again because of the injury and if I have a certain kind of surgery, but I still want to do it. Let me get one fight before the year is over.”
Brad Goodman, a matchmaker for Top Rank, said his availability for the Dec. 3 show will be determined by the results of an MRI on his hand, which he took last week.
“If everything goes well with the MRI, then he’s on the show,” Goodman said. “Everyone agreed that he can be on the card if the results come out okay.”
Martinez is itching to get back in the ring. After streaking to a 4-0 record with four knockouts, including a coming out party at Yankee Stadium with a vicious stoppage of a tough Jonathan Cuba last year, Martinez has battled soreness in both hands. He also suffered his first loss in October of last year to Jose Peralta Alejo in a lethargic performance.
Martinez wobbled Alejo with a left hook in the second round, but he seemed to run out of energy in the later rounds and didn’t throw a lot of punches like he usually does. He also had a point deducted for hitting low in the fifth round of the six-round bout. As for the long layoff, Martinez says he’s just been following doctor’s orders to rest the hand.
But enough is enough, he says. He’s ready to get back into the ring and resume his once-promising career. After winning the Golden Gloves in 2005, Martinez was once viewed as a very gifted boxer with a bright future. Now, he’s awaiting the results of an MRI to determine whether he will need surgery on the hand or if he will fight on the Dec. 3 undercard.
“I’ve been in the gym working out,” Martinez says. “I have eight weeks to train. I’m going to be ready. I put a lot of tape on my wrist to keep it still. It does hurt a lot but if I continue to tape it and I box in the fight rather than bang, then I’m sure I’ll be ok. Hopefully, I can take him out early so I won’t have to use my hands too much.”
Martinez has been attending ASA junior college in Brooklyn, NY during his layoff, and is just two semesters away from graduating, he says.
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.