By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com was informed by promoter Lou DiBella that a deal has been reached for WBC interim-junior middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (44-1, 24KOs) to face Kermit Cintron (30-2, 27KOs) on February 14 with HBO televising. DiBella promotes both fighters. The fight will be part of a tripleheader with Alfredo Angulo vs. Ricardo Mayorga and Nate Campbell's defense of the WBO/IBF lightweight titles against mandatory Ali Funeka.
Cintron, a former welterweight champion, was in line to fight IBF champion Joshua Clottey. DiBella was trying to work out a deal with Top Rank to place the fight on the Miguel Cotto/Kelly Pavlik split-feed pay-per-view on February 21. In the end there was not enough money to go around.
"There was no money in the Clottey fight so Cintron accepted more money to move up in weight to fight Martinez on HBO. It's a Top Rank pay-per-view. Bob Arum was working with his own budget. Cintron against Martinez is an explosive fight," DiBella told BoxingScene.
Martinez was scheduled to fight Joe Greene on January 17. Greene pulled out for medical reasons. HBO moved Martinez to the February 14 date to give DiBella more time to find a suitable opponent. It appeared that Martinez would face WBA champion Daniel Santos and the fight was actually announced by Santos' promoter Don King, but the fight fell apart a few days later when Santos disclosed that he never agreed to the deal and needed more time to get in shape.
Martinez and Cintron have three losses between them, and all three are to Antonio Margarito. Cintron will be Martinez's toughest opponent since the Margarito loss in 2000.