MIAMI – Julio Cesar Martinez could continue making 112 pounds without incident if it were necessary.
The WBC flyweight champion can’t help but notice, though, that there are bigger, more profitable fights for him in the super flyweight division. Mexico’s Martinez plans to remain within the flyweight division through this year, but he intends to move back up three pounds, to the super flyweight maximum of 115 pounds, sometime in 2022.
Martinez would love to fight countryman Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai once he jumps up to that weight.
First, however, Martinez must get through a mandated defense of his WBC 112-pound crown against McWilliams Arroyo on Saturday night. Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) and Puerto Rico’s Arroyo (20-4, 15 KOs) will square off in the co-feature on the Canelo Alvarez-Avni Yildirim undercard at Hard Rock Stadium in nearby Miami Gardens (DAZN; 7 p.m. EST).
Martinez hopes a victory over Arroyo, who has lost a unanimous decision to Gonzalez, leads to a title unification fight next.
“There’s no champion in particular that I want to go up against,” Martinez told BoxingScene.com. “I want all the champions. Whoever raises their hand first to fight me, I will absolutely fight against. After Arroyo, I want to unify against whomever. I want to get all the belts that I can this year.
“Then I want to move up to super flyweight next year, and go up against Estrada, ‘Chocolatito’ and Sor Rungvisai. I want those big challenges, those big fights. There are better names up there. They all moved up to super flyweight, so that’s what I plan to do next year.”
The 26-year-old Martinez has competed in more super flyweight fights (10) than in flyweight bouts (eight) since making his pro debut in October 2015. The 5-feet-2 Martinez has competed almost exclusively at flyweight the past 2½ years.
“Thank God there’s been no difficulty making 112 pounds,” Martinez said. “With good training, I’ve had no problem. I’ve even been down to weigh 111, so I’ve been great at 112. But I still want to fight the best. This is boxing, so I want to make a name for myself and I want to make history. That’s why I want to go up to 115 pounds.”
Two of Martinez’s three potential opponents in flyweight championship unification matches are undefeated.
Ukraine’s Artem Dalakian (20-0, 14 KOs) holds the WBA flyweight title. Japan’s Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16 KOs) owns the WBO belt.
South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) is the IBF champion.
None of those three titleholders are as well-known or accomplished as Mexico’s Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs), Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs) or Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42 KOs).
Estrada and Gonzalez will meet in a long-awaited rematch March 13 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. They’ll fight for Estrada’s WBC and Gonzalez’s WBA super flyweight titles.
The winner will have to make a mandatory defense of the WBC belt against Sor Rungvisai, who has beaten Gonzalez twice and split a pair of 12-round decisions with Estrada.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.