By Robert Morales
Promoter Lou DiBella said something very interesting in the post-fight news conference following Sergio Martinez's unanimous decision victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Sept. 15 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
"At 37 years old, he is going to fight the biggest possible fight," DiBella said of Martinez, who took Chavez's middleweight championship belt.
It was therefore not all that surprising to hear DiBella's reaction Wednesday when we asked him what he thought about Martinez taking on fellow middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in a unification bout.
"Who would give a flying f**k, and why are you even asking?" DiBella said. "Who knows Gennady Golovkin other than you, me and a few other people? How many people would he bring to the table? How much money would he generate? He is the last guy ... He is a very good fighter, but it's a fight that economically makes no sense."
It was suggested to DiBella that perhaps he is afraid to put Martinez in with Golovkin, a very heavy-handed fighter who is 24-0 with 21 knockouts. DiBella assured us that is absolutely not the case, that it's strictly business.
Golovkin has fought just once in the U.S. and is not a household name, the kind that generates ticket sales and TV revenue. And since Martinez is 37 and a late bloomer as far as making a big name for himself as well as big money, DiBella is simply not interested.
"There are a lot of other fighters who have nothing to do," said DiBella, who has promoted Martinez the past five years. "Let him fight (Dmitry) Pirog. Let him fight someone else who needs to make a name in the States. He (Golovkin) fought a stiff (Grzegorz Proksa) in his last fight. I think Golovkin beats Pirog, I think he beats a lot of the other middleweights.
"But he didn't beat anyone in his last fight and this is Sergio's time to make a lot of money. ... We're not going to fight fights that do not generate any income."
DiBella will be happy to know he has at least one ally in this by the name of Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
"Just because a guy shows up once on HBO (against Proksa) and boxing media raves about him and now he feels like he deserves to have a fight against Sergio Martinez, I think that is really ridiculous," Schaefer said.
"I think it is the accumulative achievements which in the end will allow a fighter like Golovkin to have earned a fight against Sergio Martinez.
"Sergio Martinez had to do many smaller fights before getting a big pay-per-view fight against Chavez. These guys underneath him in the rankings, they're going to have to earn the right to fight him. Sergio Martinez has certainly earned, with his terrific performances over the past couple of years, the right to pick who he wants to fight. Gennady Golovkin is several fights away from such a fight."
Tom Loeffler is general manager of K2-Promotions, which promotes Golovkin. Loeffler said before the fight with Proksa he would like to see Golovkin get a shot at the winner of Chavez-Martinez.
All that said, DiBella said Martinez is currently wearing a soft case on his left hand, which he said Martinez broke in the fourth round against Chavez. Martinez is potentially going to have knee surgery, depending on the outcome of an MRI review scheduled for next Monday in Madrid.
Since it will be a while before Martinez is ready to train, DiBella said he is going to wait and see what happens with Floyd Mayweather Jr., as well as with the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout junior middleweight title fight in December. Since Martinez can also easily make junior middleweight, a fight with Mayweather or the winner of Cotto-Trout are possibilities.
As is a second fight with Chavez, who tested positive for marijuana after the loss to Martinez.
"I do think the rematch with Chavez is enormous," said DiBella, who said that fight would only take a back seat in boxing to a Manny Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, or a Martinez-Mayweather fight.
Ward-Pavlik in The Horizon?
Andre Ward looked about as good as a fighter can look in his most recent bout when he defended his two super middleweight belts by decking Chad Dawson three times on his way to stopping Dawson via 10th-round technical knockout earlier this month.
Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik looked closer to being a shot fighter than anything else during his ho-hum decision victory over unknown Will Rosinsky in July. Pavlik won by five, seven and seven points, but nothing he did was reminiscent of the Pavlik we all knew four years ago when he was beating the likes of Jermain Taylor twice.
Actually, he was nowhere close to that. Yet, after speaking Tuesday with Ward's promoter, Dan Goossen, it appears there is a good chance Ward's next defense will be against Pavlik.
When Goossen was told that this reporter and several others at ringside for the Pavlik-Rosinsky fight were in agreement about the seemingly declining Pavlik, whose hard-drinking has twice landed him in rehabilitation, he reacted as we expected he would.
"Kelly Pavlik is certainly someone that's out there that has got the credentials despite where people may think he is today," Goossen said.
Goossen believes Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) falls into that category of fighters who were counted out by reporters after a couple of losses.
"Boxing is a mean sport with the media when they look at fighters," said Goossen, who pointed out that Pavlik's two losses are to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez. Hopkins is a certain Hall of Fame selection, Martinez is a strong possibility.
Goossen then brought up the likes of Evander Holyfield, Miguel Cotto and "Sugar" Shane Mosley as fighters who did what many reporters thought they couldn't. There was Holyfield's first victory over Mike Tyson, in which Tyson was expected to win by virtually everyone except longtime boxing writer Ron Borges.
"Everyone said it was a crime that Holyfield would be able to fight Mike Tyson when he (Holyfield) had the heart problems," Goossen said. "They thought he was through and it was a crime that fight would be made, and history proved most of the skeptics, all of the skeptics, were wrong."
There was Cotto coming back to win a junior middleweight title with a victory over Yuri Foreman. This was after Cotto was badly beaten by Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao inside a period of 16 months. Not only did Cotto move up in weight to beat Foreman, he came back to avenge his loss to Margarito by stopping Margarito after 10 rounds this past December.
Mosley was also given up for dead, then came back and stopped the aforementioned Margarito after nine rounds in January 2009.
All true. But Holyfield, Cotto and Mosley did not have problems with alcohol. And Pavlik - though today apparently sober - has had a slew of them. That's not to mention that drinking hard for a period of time can suck the physical and mental strength out of anyone. (Yours truly has been sober nearly 22 years after nearly drinking himself to death at age 34).
And, bottom line is, Pavlik was not impressive against a very mediocre fighter in Rosinsky. Goossen had a retort to that. He said fighters who have been to the promised land like Pavlik has find it difficult to get up for guys like Rosinsky.
"They just don't," said Goossen, who said he did watch that fight.
"I saw the Rosinsky fight and I thought Kelly did not look the way we have seen him look. That could be attributed to a lot of things, including what you said (that he might be shot). But I don't think he is."
Goossen recently spoke with Pavlik's trainer, Robert Garcia, in Las Vegas. Apparently, Garcia believes Pavlik will be Pavlik when he needs to be.
"He certainly believes Pavlik will reassert himself once he has that challenge in front of him," Goossen said.
So, we asked Goossen, are there talks taking place for this fight?
"I've had conversations with (Pavlik's promoter) Bob (Arum), but those have been ongoing for months and months," Goossen said. "Nothing is close to being done. It's just about keeping the lines of communication going with it. I like the fight."
Lopez Hanging Tough
It's been not quite two weeks since Josesito Lopez was stopped by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the fifth round of Alvarez's junior middleweight title defense Sept. 15 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It had to have been a humbling experience, especially since Lopez was coming off his biggest victory, a 9th-round TKO of Victor Ortiz, during which he broke Ortiz's jaw.
But other than an injured knuckle that is going to have an MRI, Lopez is good, said Alex Camponovo, general manager of Thompson Boxing Promotions, which co-promotes Lopez along with Goossen.
"Mentally, he's doing just fine," Camponovo said Tuesday. "He was at our (club) show last Friday in Ontario (Calif.). He came over with his girlfriend, got a lot of respect from the crowd, signed autographs. He is taking it in stride. He is not the kind of guy who likes to lose. But he's doing fine and I think he's going to do well in his next fight."
Camponovo was asked if either he or Lopez regretted taking a fight that few thought Lopez would win, if for no other reason than he had been fighting junior welterweight until his welterweight fight with Ortiz in June, before moving to junior middleweight to challenge Alvarez.
Camponovo said that, yes, it's a bummer than Lopez lost. But at the end of the day, there are no real regrets. He said Lopez wanted the fight, and that sometimes a promoter has to listen to what a fighter wants.
That said, Camponovo said he knew it was going to be "an uphill battle" from the get-go.
"He never took it as his last chance in boxing," Camponovo said.
"It was a good opportunity. He was above his weight division. He showed a lot of heart, but he got dominated by a bigger guy.
"It's regretful that he lost, but he's not regretting himself at all."
Camponovo said Lopez figures to continue his career campaigning at welterweight, though he would entertain going back down to junior welterweight for the right fight.
"Personally, I think he will do better at 147," Camponovo said. "It's a very deep division right now. Whether it's a rematch with Ortiz at 147 or one of the guys who are champion or a highly rated contender. His confidence after the Ortiz fight has skyrocketed and I think he is aware of his ability in the ring."
Schaefer Welcomes Lopez-Ortiz II
Ortiz's jaw wasn't just broken, Schaefer said, it was broken in several places. That's why, before anything else, Schaefer wants to make sure Ortiz is 100 percent healed from that before setting up anything else for him. Once he is, bring on Lopez for another go-round.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I've had some conversations with Al Haymon, Josesito's adviser, about the possibility of such a fight sometime next year," Schaefer said.
"It is something we would be looking at."
Schaefer said he is hopeful Ortiz will be ready to go the first quarter of 2013.
Roach-Chavez Sr. Exchange
We thought we would ask trainer Freddie Roach what Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. animatedly said to him in the ring after Julio Jr. lost to Martinez.
Roach was on hand last week at the Beverly Hills news conference formally announcing the fourth fight between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. We got Roach alone, and posed the question.
"Yeah, he said, 'We hire the best trainer in the world and the (expletive) kid won't listen,' " Roach said. "That's what he said to me."
Arreola-Stiverne Purse Bid
Goossen also promotes Chris Arreola, who is ranked No. 1 by the WBC in the heavyweight division. Bermane Stiverne, of Canada is ranked No. 2. Goossen said he is in negotiations with Stiverne's promoter, Don King, to pit the two in an elimination fight.
"But no deal has been made," Goossen said. "If one is not made, we will go to a purse bad Saturday."
Once that is said and done, a time and place will be set.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.