|06-14-2011, 05:32 PM||#1|
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Dibella Signs Martinez to MultiYear - MultiMillion Dollar Deal
One day after agreeing on his next title defense, middleweight champion Sergio Martinez signed a new promotional contract with Lou DiBella on Tuesday, an agreement for at least six fights that will likely take the 36-year-old through the end of his career.
"We did a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal that should take Sergio through the end of his career," DiBella told ESPN.com while celebrating the signing at lunch in New York with Martinez and his adviser, Sampson Lewkowicz. "We've had ongoing talks about this and, ultimately, we did a deal that works for everyone. I'm very happy and thrilled to be with him.
"I have a true affection for Sergio personally and professionally. He's probably the best fighter I've ever promoted along with Bernard Hopkins, who I used to promote and who is a legend. I think Sergio is another Hall of Fame-level fighter and it's a great honor to say I promoted him from the beginning of his popularity and recognition in the United States to the eventual end of his career," DiBella said.
DiBella was happy to get the deal wrapped up because he said he was aware that other promoters were "buzzing" Martinez in an effort to get him to try to break their contract.
"Sergio is a good man, an honorable and loyal man," DiBella said. "We've been a good team and no matter what is waved in your face, you don't break up a good team, especially when everyone has been honorable with each other. I give him tremendous credit for not bending to the pressures and the enticements in this business from people who are unscrupulous. This obviously is a very important day for DiBella Entertainment."
DiBella would not say which people were trying to interfere with his contract. Martinez, however, did not bite at any of the offers or promises.
"I am very happy," Martinez, the 2010 consensus fighter of the year, said about his new deal. "This is what I wanted. It was something I was waiting for and we were planning. I never had a doubt that I have the best promoter in the industry. It never came to my mind to leave. I am very happy with Lou, always. It never crossed my mind to leave Lou or Sampson."
DiBella came to agreement with British promoter Eddie Hearn on Monday for Martinez to make his third title defense against England's Darren Barker (23-0, 14 KOs), the European champion, on Oct. 1. The fight will be the first fight of Martinez's new deal with DiBella.
"We went a long way together and we will finish together, me, Lou and the great grand champion Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez," Lewkowicz said. "I didn't expect anything less from a loyal champion like Martinez. He's very loyal and is an example for all fighters to follow."
DiBella said Martinez's old deal was set to expire in June 2012, although he said he would have had an exclusive negotiating window and the right to match any offer.
"Sergio doesn't want to fight more than about six fights, so I am thrilled that we will stay together until the end of his career," DiBella said.
Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs), a native of Argentina who lives and trains in Oxnard, Calif., won the middleweight championship in April 2010 by outpointing Kelly Pavlik. He has made two dominant title defenses, a pulverizing second-round knockout of Paul Williams in November and an eighth-round knockout of junior middleweight titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk, who he dropped five times, on March 12.
Lewkowicz brought Martinez, who had been fighting in Spain and England, to the U.S. in 2007 but had trouble finding much interest from a variety of promoters. He offered Martinez to anyone who would sign him, but only DiBella -- blown away by what he saw of Martinez on DVDs Lewkowicz had sent him -- was interested.
They have been together since -- nine fights, including his last six on HBO -- with at least six more to go.
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