By Michael Marley
Lou DiBella, promoter of red-hot middleweight champion Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez, may have something up his sleeve.
While publicly speaking, including to me on Tuesday, about hoped for bouts for the newly-minted HBO ring star to fight either pay-per-view TV fighters Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Miguel Cotto, it seems that DiBella is schmoozing the prime cable network to accept a July 9 Martinez bout against Peter "Pride Of Providence" Manfredo..
DiBella is anxious to give Martinez, the 36-year-old late bloomer, five bouts, two more this year and three across 2012.
Manfredo, age 30 and the owner of a 37-6, 20 KOs record which include high profile losses to Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy, has put together a six fight win streak since a Nov. 13, 2008, loss in the Rhode Island capital city to rugged Sakio Bika.
"The Dunk" as it is known to locals, or the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence to others would likely be the site of the show. If not, DiBella may have the option to take Manfredo-Martinez to either Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun in the nearby Connecticut woods.
Martinez just demolished Sergiy Dzinziruk with a five knockdown, eight roun knockout effort at Foxwoods Saturday night, a show on which Irish Andy Lee rallied to knockout Craig McEwan. Like Manfredo, Lee is a DiBella handled fighter but is not considered ready for an accomplished world champion such as Martinez.
"Lou's pitch is that, hey, Martinez had to beat Kelly Pavlik, then he one punched Paul Williams and, even after those two victories, HBO shoved Dzinziruk down his throat," a source familiar with the promoter's thinking said Wednesday.
"Lou thinks Sergio has earned a lollipop and Manfredo is a lollipop who can sell some tickets in Providence. Maybe HBO will agree, maybe they won't."
It says here the TV suits will acquiesce. The plain fact is that Martinez has no glittering potential foes and he certainly has not been ducking anyone.