Sergio Martinez is mentally approaching his fight against Macaulay McGowan on Thursday at the Wizink Center in Madrid, Spain as if he’s still the middleweight kingpin that dominated the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. more than a decade ago.
The 46-year-old Martinez (54-3-2, 30 KOs) has been on the comeback trail since 2020 and will be fighting for the fourth time after initially retiring in 2014 after a lopsided loss to Miguel Cotto in which he dropped four times and stopped in ten rounds.
Should he leave the ring unscathed and victorious against McGowan (14-2-1, 3 KOs), Martinez is eyeing a murderer's row of foes.
“Since I embarked on my comeback, my goal has been to face [Ryota] Murata,” Martinez told The Ring. “But the truth is that I know it can be someone else. It could be Chris Eubank Jr., or maybe even Gennadiy Golovkin. Honestly, it motivates me a lot to know that I can face someone like Golovkin and take such a high risk. The fact that I could earn that chance at my age motivates more. I know my life would be in danger in a fight like that, but it motivates me to train even harder.
“We continue with the plan of finding opponents in different levels to climb gradually, but it is becoming very difficult. Here in Spain it is hard and expensive to produce boxing events. Opponents ask for purses that sometimes we cannot afford as a company. We try to get better opponents but it is difficult to pay what they want. With the lack of sponsors and media support here in Spain, it is very difficult to bring better opponents.
“But I have to compensate for that. If my opponents don’t improve, then I do. And I have to adapt to the circumstances. I have to make the adjustment to fight better and better regardless of the challenge that my opponents bring to the ring.”
The little-known McGowan is coming off consecutive losses. He appears unequipped to prepare Martinez for a leap against the likes of 160-pound champions in Golovkin, Murata, or top contender Eubank.
Martinez said he offered a fight to 20 different foes before McGowan obliged for the ten-round bout.
“From McGowan I expect the best. I expect him to come to win. What I need is an opponent who comes to win, who is hungry for glory, who comes after me with intelligence and strength as well, with a ring strategy to offer. This is what will help me become a better fighter,” said Martinez. “I want him to force me to work hard and put my best weapons to work. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Martinez is 3-0 during his comeback and he’s scored two KOs and boxed a total of 26 rounds.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.