By Chris Robinson
Last Thursday, December 29th, lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez addressed the media in his native Argentina.
There was a lot on Martinez’s mind, as he vented his frustrations about the WBC as well as HBO, the network that has showcased his last seven bouts.
Martinez captured the WBC middleweight crown on April 17th of 2010 with a spirited unanimous decision over Kelly Pavlik. He defended the title seven months later with a stirring 2nd round knockout over Paul Williams in their rematch but was inexplicably stripped of his title earlier this year and handed the WBC's Diamond belt as consolation.
The WBC’s motive was obvious, as the title become easier for Mexican star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to snatch, which he would end up doing in June of last year with a hard-fought victory over Germany’s Sebastian Zbik. A fight with Martinez didn’t seem to be a priority for Chavez at that point, as Bob Arum, his co-promoter with Top Rank, obviously saw the danger in such a scenario.
At the 49th annual WBC Convention in Las Vegas last month, the WBC gave Chavez a mandate to either face Martinez by March of this year or see his title stripped. But in another strange turn of events, WBC president Jose Sulaiman would later change his tone as his organization fully backed a fight between Chavez and his mandatory, Marco Antonio Rubio.
Martinez announced that he would no longer be defending his WBC Diamond belt and also revealed that he was no longer interested in fighting on HBO’s airwaves, fully believing he hadn’t received the same kind of treatment as other stars. Martinez also implied that Chavez Jr. and Arum, along with trainer Freddie Roach, were all cowards because of their actions.
Wanting to get an update on the situation, I got in touch with Martinez’s advisor Sampson Lewkowicz, who gave his thoughts on his fighter’s brazen actions.
“Absolutely his idea,” said Lewkowicz of Martinez’s recent decision to stage a presser. “It was his heart and his belief that it was right. And he’s a very proud man, he’s not a child. He’s not a young champion. He’s a mature champion that knows how to take his own destiny and he took his own destiny.”
Lewkowicz has expressed his frustrations towards Arum in the past but feels the blame this time around lies solely with the young champion.
“It’s only about Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and if he really wants the fight,” said Lewkowicz. “I have no right to call anybody a coward because I’m not a fighter. But I can tell you, this fight will not happen because of Chavez Jr. If he really wants it he would demand to his own promoter. The promoter is the employee of the fighters.”
Martinez’s disdain towards HBO and the WBC is obvious but Lewkowicz stayed classy while showing hope that the situation can still be resolved.
“They never gave him the advertising that they gave to other boxers,” Lewkowicz added. “They say that he cannot fight Zbik, and after his fight it was Zbik vs. Chavez. So he’s very upset with HBO but I strongly believe that HBO will try to compromise something and hopefully the WBC too. And he would go back to the WBC if they give him the title.
"That’s what he wants. My point of view is that it’s like a marriage. He’s married to the WBC and he’s married to HBO and he has to fight. Now it’s up to HBO and the WBC to do right and everything will be fine.”
Martinez is presently eyeing a March 17th return to the ring in New York against the United Kingdom's Matthew Macklin and is scheduled to hit training camp in Oxnard, California next week.
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com . Please follow him at www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony Tags: Sergio Martinez