Merchant: Martinez is Lucky To Get 10% With Mayweather

By Chris Robinson

The world-recognized best middleweight, Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez, was in the spotlight again last night as he carved up a late-round stoppage over brave-but-outgunned Matthew Macklin inside of The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Overcoming a slow start that saw him dropped in the sixth round, Martinez would turn up the heat late in the fight as he registered a pair of knockdowns in the eleventh round that had the Birmingham, England fighter’s corner electing to throw in the towel in between rounds.

During the fight, the HBO announcing crew of Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, and Emanuel Steward seemed far from enamored with Martinez’s performance, pointing to his struggle with Macklin in the first half of the fight. Merchant especially, never one to bite his tongue, seemed to take his share of slight digs at Martinez as the contest wore on.

An hour or so after the HBO broadcast had wrapped up, Merchant reached out to me and had a lot more to share.
Merchant touched on several subplots related to the Macklin fight, including Lampley’s mention of Martinez willing to accept 20% of the purse in a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., why he doesn’t like the idea of Sergio trying to face smaller fighters, why a fight with WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. may not happen, and much more.
In his own words, this is what Merchant had to share…
Thoughts on Martinez vs. Macklin…

“Hell of a good fight. The champ had to pull it out at the end and he did. Even though he didn’t looked dominant and sometimes looked a little disoriented, I thought, early in the fight. He admitted that he was expecting a different look from Macklin, but at the end of the night, he did it. Like I said, if you strike out four times and you hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning, you’ve had a hell of a night.”

Martinez’s desire to face either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr…
“Look, like all professional sports, it’s business as well as a sport. So it’s perfectly understandable that he wants to fight the biggest names that generate the biggest bucks. But he’s not on their short list of opponents. As far as I’m concerned, he’s as good as he thinks and everybody else thinks. I’d love to see him fight a [Andre] Ward or [Lucian] Bute. I’d like to see him step up. He wants those guys to step up to him? He should step up to them. He’s willing to fight Chavez. Well, Chavez looks as big or bigger than those super middleweights these days. He came into the ring weighing 181 last time. Every fighter within ten or more pounds of [Manny] Pacquiao or Mayweather are looking for a way to get into the ring with them. Because that’s where the money is. What’s the old question where they ask Willie Sutton why does he rob banks? ‘Because that’s where the money is’”

Jim Lampley mentioning during the telecast that Martinez was open to taking 20% of the purse in a fight with Mayweather…
“I was going to respond. I think he’d be very fortunate to get ten percent. I’m serious about that. How much money did [Victor] Ortiz get? [Mayweather is] in the commanding position and he doesn’t have to fight him and if Martinez wants to take the shot, then he will find out that, in those fights, if he can win those fights then maybe there will be money in the future. I’m not sympathetic to the idea of him fighting smaller guys but he himself not wanting to be the smaller guy fighting the bigger guy. So it goes. It’s not a new story in boxing that guys who are stars and draw the big crowds can dictate terms and sometimes opponents.”

Whether Chavez will have interest in facing Martinez after his performance on Saturday…
“I find it interesting that Chavez is as big or bigger than the super middleweights who he says are too big for him. But look, I think the conventional wisdom would be that he is too quick for Chavez and that Chavez takes too many punches, but as we saw tonight, a 10-1 underdog gave him all he could handle and pushed him to come back and win it in a dramatic style. Chavez is a bigger man and I don’t know how that equation works. I think the fact that  [Chavez’s] management, after first calling out Andy Lee and after saying ‘Well, we don’t want to fight Lee’, part of which is because he’s a southpaw, why would they go and fight this southpaw? [Chavez] is a big star who brings in some good numbers and he’s been in some pretty good fights lately. I don’t know how long he can actually fight at 160.”

The reality of prizefighting…
“You can be sympathetic to Martinez’s desire to fight for the big bucks, but you also have to see the reality. And this is not a new thing in prizefighting. Archie Moore was the number-one light heavyweight contender for five years and when he got his shot, he told me once he had enough money to pay his expenses and trainer. He made nothing. And then he had to fight a rematch with the guy. It’s part of boxing’s intrigue, but the guy’s doing pretty good. He gets on HBO a couple times a year, he makes good money. Not everyone is cut out to be a top fighter as well as a top attraction. HBO loves to have him. He looks the part, he’s come through with four knockouts in a row. He generates crowd-pleasing fights. That’s all you can ask for. We don’t control what the stars feel like doing all the time. It’s what makes the behind-the-scenes process of boxing so fascinating.”

Thoughts on Martinez’s promoter Lou Dibella sounding off a bit at the post-fight press conference…
“He’s a promoter doing what a promoter does. His part is to get the media on his side, and to ingratiate himself with his fighter and show that he’s standing up for him and trying to do everything he can to get the big fights. It’s perfectly understandable that Lou Dibella is trying to make money for his fighter and himself. It’s not like HBO can push Chavez into a corner and tell him he has to fight this guy. That’s not the way it works. And Lou knows it, he’s been around. And if Lou Dibella promoted one of the guys that Martinez wanted to fight, he would be doing exactly what those guys are doing.”

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Brother Jay on 03-23-2012

[QUOTE=TheGoldenChamp;11905833]'Nothing special'? Rotflmfao!!! Floyd or Roger, is that you typing?[/QUOTE] So are you implying that 2 wins in 53 fights against guys who were already exposed makes Martinez "special"? What is special about Martinez. Please, tell us all how special…

Comment by FXDaKid on 03-23-2012

Merchant just doesn't care... He always lays it out there...

Comment by komandante on 03-19-2012

Larry Merchant is the most respected commentator and a legend in boxing. :boxing:

Comment by Reloaded on 03-19-2012

[QUOTE=Main Source;11903381]He's right. Martinez should be calling out fighters like Ward and Bute. If he calls out Chavez, then why not them? Wanting to fight Floyd or Manny is ****ing pathetic. He ain't no small MW - that's BS.[/QUOTE] Well…

Comment by TheGoldenChamp on 03-19-2012

[QUOTE=Brother Jay;11903377]Based on what? Ortiz beat a reigning #2WW champion when he fought Berto. Martinez beat Pavlik after Pavlik got humiliated by BHOP and PWILL after PWILL had gotten exposed by Quintana and had a win over him. Why do…

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