By Michael Marley
There are three kinds of sparring in the fight game. One is the daily gymnasium sparring between fighters.
The second is the verbal sparring between promoters and TV executives wherein the promoters seek maximum money and the suits want the most bang for the least amount of bucks.
The third variety is that between fight scribes and sources in which the sources like to go off the record, not for attribution and "you didn't hear it from me" as they pass on information or disinformation about rivals.
So it was refreshing Tuesday morning when I phoned Lou DiBella and then, by chance, my next incoming call was from Kronk legend Manny Steward.
DiBella had just told me that Steward, busy in the mountains of Austria prepping heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for a title defense against little-known Derek Chisora, was keen on a Sergio Martinez-Irish Andy Lee middleweight title bout, perhaps in New York and perhaps around St. Patrick's Day, March 17.
I was a tad sketpical, thinking the only edge I can see for the redhead against Martinez is in height as Lee stands 6-2.
But Steward, the Motown trainer-manager-HBO commentator, quickly seconded that emotion.
Manny is more than ready to put the 24-1, 18 KOs Lee (stopped in seven rounds by journeyman Bryan Vera in 2008) in with the iron.
"Great fight...two tall southpaws, both good punchers," Steward said. "I've got Andy fighting on the Wladimir undercard but he can be ready for Sergio by March."
Steward said a Lee-Vera bout tentatively slated for Feb. 4 could be put aside if HBO secures Lee against the Argentinean sensation who delivered a for the ages, picture perfect, one punch KO over Paul Williams.
Steward understands the grassroots excitment over late bloomer Martinez, age 35, but thinks his younger "Celtic Tiger" can take the measure of "Maravilla."
"This was one of the great, one punch KOs, no doubt," Steward said. It goes in the books in history along with Tommy (Hearns) taking out Robert Duran, with Mike Weavers KO over Big John Tate and how (Manny) Pacquiao took out Ricky Hatton.
It was unforgettable, that one punch but dpnt forget Williams was leaning with his head halfway down into that punch. Williams just got caught and now some people are getting carried away in evaluating Martinez.
For his part, DiBellas accepted that Pacman wont be beckoning Martinez as the Pinoy Idol stays in the welterweight division and looks to weary Sugar Shane Mosley, the trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez or unbeaten Andre Berto (who is tied to DiBella via Al Haymon).
DiBella said Martinez continues his victory laps with his next stops being in Mexico where he will visit WBC President For Life Don Jose Sulaiman and then a holiday homecoming to Argentina.
Where is Martinez today, I asked Foghorn Lou.
In the gym, which is why hes on top of the world right now, DiBella said.