By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten super welterweight prospect Chris Pearson was set to take on Steve Martinez in an August 30 edition of Showtime’s Shobox series, only to withdraw due to an injury suffered while training. An ankle sprain left the Ohioan on the sidelines for the past week, upon the advice of his doctor.
While Pearson revealed on social media that he is back in the gym, Martinez and his camp are left puzzled as to why the fight isn’t being rescheduled – and questioning whether an injury was the reason for his being removed from the August 30 show in the first place.
“I heard Chris had second thoughts when he heard how good Steve Martinez is,” believes Dmitriy Salita, a former super lightweight contender who now heads Star of David Promotions, with Martinez as one of his fighters. “As a boxer I had this happen to me many times, but I am surprised that such a talented young, undefeated fighter like Chris got cold feet after the fact that the fight was made.”
Martinez (15-1, 12KOs) initially took the postponement in stride, his second fight to fall through in as many months. The Bronx-based prospect was due to appear on the 200th edition of Shobox last month in a crossroads bout with John Thompson, only for the fight to fall through after Thompson suffered injuries stemming from a car accident.
A silver lining was found in his being tabbed as the opponent of choice for Pearson on the Vegas show to be promoted by Mayweather Promotions. He and his team were sympathetic when receiving the bad news in mid-August regarding the cancellation, and understanding when the decision was made to remove him from the card while moving forward with the show. But after seeing Pearson post images and social media messages of his return to the gym, the question now being asked is why he is left without a fight while his unbeaten divisional rival is pondering other options.
“What is the point of being a professional boxer if you don't want to fight the best?” Martinez rhetorically asks. “I am the best and I am ready to prove it in the ring. I dream and pray to get an opportunity to show my skills.
“I am very grateful to ShoBox and my promoter Star of David Promotions and Dmitriy for getting this opportunity. I am ready for the best fighters in the world.”
Frustrating to the Martinez camp is that with Pearson’s quick gym return, there is room on the calendar to reschedule the fight. Pearson is advised by Al Haymon, who has several of his clients – including Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse and comebacking Andre Berto – fighting in separate bouts on September 6, in Pearson’s home state of Ohio.
Mayweather, Pearson’s promoter and Haymon’s biggest client returns on September 13 in a rematch with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The pay-per-view undercard is scaled back considerably from what is usually to be found on Mayweather’s shows, and such a matchup would have helped improve its overall fan value.
Fight week festivities include a ‘Golden Boy Live’ card two nights prior, a show co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions.
The fact that space is available yet no efforts have been made to reschedule the fight leave Martinez’ camp under the belief that there was never any real intention to proceed with the fight in the first place.
“There are few secrets in boxing and with social media, it seems like Chris revealed the truth,” Salita suggests. “Floyd Mayweather is a (future) Hall of Fame great fighter. Chris Pearson – who has the privilege of being signed with Floyd - should learn from his boss.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox