By Ryan Maquiñana
Stan Martyniouk was far from a happy man as he exited the ring in Glendale, California, last month. After dropping a controversial split decision to Ivan Najera -- just the second defeat in a 15-bout pro career -- the 29-year-old prospect saw an opportunity to raise his profile just slip through his hands.
However, an old acquaintance later approached Martyniouk with the type of employment offer that alleviated the sting from the loss.
“I ran into Freddie Roach after the fight, and he said he thought my style is close to Chris Algieri, so he asked me if I want to go to the Philippines to be a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao,” Martyniouk told BoxingScene.com on Friday. “I’ve been out to Wild Card (Boxing Club) for several years. He saw me spar Denis Shafikov, and when he asked me, I told him of course I’d do it.”
Martyniouk, from Sacramento, California, possesses traits that make him an ideal candidate for the job. At 5-foot-10 with smooth boxing skills, the 29-year-old will be a key component in Pacquiao’s camp as the welterweight titleholder prepares to meet Algieri in an HBO Pay-Per-View clash on Nov. 23.
“We’re both the same height,” Martyniouk said. “We both use a lot of footwork and use the ring a lot. We both have a good jab. We use a lot of angles and not stay in place. Overall I think I can do a good job emulating his style, and it’s going to be great exposure for me.
“Look at all the guys who have sparred Manny in the past: Karim (Mayfield), Ray Beltran -- Shawn Porter’s now a champ. They're all successful,” Martyniouk said. “Who thought after that loss I’d be here? Hopefully this is something that’s going to boost my name and boost my career.”
During his trips to Hollywood, Martyniouk has witnessed Pacquiao’s gymwork, so he knows what to expect when he shares the ring with the Filipino superstar.
“What surprised me a lot is he doesn’t go easy on his sparring partners,” Martyniouk said. “He brings the heat and is very explosive. With his style, you never expect what he’s going to throw. He ends up hitting you with the punches you don’t see, and that’s what hurts you.
“I’m just going in there knowing I have to be at my best. I grew up watching Manny. I’m trying to learn as much as I can from him, because he’s a legend."
Martyniouk, who currently trains in the San Francisco Bay Area with Virgil Hunter, will embark for the Philippines on Oct. 5. The fighter originally hoped to snag a slot on the Pacquiao-Algieri undercard, but new manager Cameron Dunkin has decided to go another route.
“We made a decision that I’m going out there just to spar, and I’ll have a fight in the U.S. when I come back,” Martyniouk said. “I’m still a (promotional) free agent, but the goal is to get some fights and keep moving up. But it all starts in the Philippines. I can’t wait.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the Boxing Insider at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and the Editor-in-Chief of Norcalboxing.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @RMaq28 or email him at [email protected] .