by David P. Greisman
Sergio Martinez was already deserving of respect, but his accomplishments are not fully appreciated, according to his promoter, Lou DiBella, who says that it a win in the June 7 bout with Miguel Cotto that will finally get the middleweight champion more widespread recognition.
“I think he’ll get that respect, and I think that he’ll also get respect for the obstacles he’s overcome in the course of a career where he was virtually unknown until almost his mid-30s and has had a string of fights and title defenses that rival the opposition that any great fighter has fought,” DiBella said on a May 20 news conference call. “He’s also fought through a lot of chronic injuries and fought through a lot of the politics of boxing. So I think ultimately he will get the credit that he deserves.
“He’s also proven himself time and time again. I think he’s going to prove himself again on June 7 in front of a huge pay-per-view audience, in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden. I think that his legacy keeps growing. The people that know give him the respect he deserves. Before he’s done, I think that respect will be universal.”
DiBella said he shouldn’t have needed to beat Miguel Cotto for that to happen.
“But the reality is this is a huge fight,” he said. “This is in the biggest arena, the most famous arena in the world. It’s against the most proven pay-per-view fighter that he’s ever fought, the biggest name fighter he’s ever fought. So in terms of Sergio’s legacy, I’m not going to pretend —this fight is huge.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]