By Francisco Salazar
NEW YORK CITY - Don't let the quiet demeanor of Ryan Martin fool you.
Underneath the soft-spoken facade outside the ring is an aggressive fighter that looks to assert pain to his opponents inside of it.
Martin squares off against Bryant Cruz Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The 10 round bout will open the HBO Pay Per View broadcast, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Martin is beginning to make the transition from blue-chip prospect to contender. He has outboxed or dominated very modest opposition thus far and has been active, fighting four times in 2016.
The 24-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee will be facing Bryant Cruz, who will be Martin's test thus far as a pro. Cruz (17-1, 8 KOs) began his pro career winning his first 16 bouts before losing by knockout to Dardan Zenunaj in December of 2015.
Cruz, who resides in nearby Port Chester, has not fought since an eight round unanimous decision over Moises Delgadillo on April 20.
"I'm not worried so much as what he's going to do in the ring," Martin told Boxingscene.com after Friday's weigh-in. "He has to worry about what I'm going to do. I feel confident that I'm going to dominate him from the very beginning of the fight."
Martin, who will have a four-inch height advantage over Cruz, has been groomed for his opportunity to fight on a televised fight card. Whereas fighters in his position battle amongst other unbeaten fighters for airtime on a cable or premium network, Martin is fighting on a per-per-view broadcast.
That may be overwhelming to some, but Martin is taking it in stride.
"It (Saturday's fight card) is very important to showcase my development and skill," said Martin, who is managed by Tim Van Newhouse. "I hope I steal the show. I want to make a statement.
What type of statement is that?
"I just want to bring excitement and give HBO something an exciting fighter they could build around. I want to get out there and show what I'm about. I had a great training camp (in Big Bear Lake, Calif. with co-trainer Abel Sanchez) and I want to take what I learned and get in there and do my job."
Some might me taken aback as to what Martin has stated, as he is mostly soft-spoken and quiet. But Martin believes he can back up what he says while also maintaining his quiet persona.
"I'm a quiet and down-to-earth guy. I'm confident because of all the hard work I put in. I'm confident and I want fight fans to enjoy my performance (Saturday night).
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing