By Rick Reeno
Sampson Lewkowicz, adviser to WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (46-2, 25KOs), reached out to BoxingScene.com to set the record straight on his fighter's situation with the WBC title. On Tuesday, the WBC announced that Sebastian Zbik (30-0, 10KOs), the interim champion at middleweight, was being elevated to the status of "full champion," and Martinez was being elevated to the status of "Champion Emeritus."
Martinez was willing to make his mandatory defense against Zbik, but HBO had absolutley no interest in the fight. Instead, Martinez will face unbeaten WBO 154-pound champion Sergei Dzinziruk (37-0, 23KOs) on March 12 at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The WBC will sanction Martinez-Dzinziruk for their "Diamond Belt."
Zbik will have to defend his title against the mandatory, and WBC silver champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. If Zbik beats Chavez, then Martinez would be willing to fight him in the fall. If Zbik beats Chavez, Lewkowicz believes HBO might be more inclined to approve him as an opponent for Martinez.
"Sergio wants to congratulate Zbik on becoming the champion. The sole reason as to why Martinez did not fight him is because HBO did not accept him. However, if he fights Chavez and he beats Chavez, Martinez would be more than honored to fight him," Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com.
"Meanwhile, we need to act like gentlemen and set the record straight. Martinez did not get stripped by the WBC. He was upgraded to a higher status, as the Emeritus champion. If Zbik beats Chavez, who is the mandatory, then Martinez will fight him and it would be an honor to do the fight."