By Lem Satterfield
For the year 2010, WBC "emeritus" middleweight champion Sergio Martinez dethroned WBO welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao, as boxing's Fighter of The Year as voted by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Based on his activity level and competition, the 36-year-old Martinez (47-2-2, 27 knockouts) told BoxingScene.com that he also believes that he has surpassed Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) as the second-best boxer in the sport.
But Martinez also said that he should be considered boxing's No. 1 fighter, pound-for-pound, if the 32-year-old Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) is not as impressive during his May 7, WBO title defense against Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) as Martinez was during Saturday's eighth-round knockout of WBO junior middleweight belt holder, Sergiy Dzinziruk (37-1, 23 KOs).
Martinez won a clash of southpaws against Dzinziruk, not only stopping the challenger for the first time in the loser's career, but also knocking him off his feet for the first time ever.
Martinez dropped the 35-year-old Dzinziruk once each in rounds four and five, and then floored him three times in the final round.
In his previous two fights, Martinez dethroned Kelly Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) as WBO and WBC middleweight champ in April, and scored November's second-round knockout of southpaw three-time, two-division titlist Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) to avenge a December, 2010 majority decision loss during which both fighters were floored in the first round.
Like Dzinziruk, Williams was stopped for the first time in his career by Martinez, who is 31-1-1, with 20 knockouts since being stopped in the seventh round by ex-titlist, Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs).
Pacquiao is coming off of November's unanimous decision over Margarito for the WBC's junior middleweight belt, which Pacquiao has since relinquished. Prior to that, Pacquiao had decisioned former titlist Joshua Clottey (35-4, 20 KOs) in March of 2011 in defense of his WBO belt.
Pacquiao is after his 14th straight win and his ninth knockout during that run against the 39-year-old Mosley, a three-division, five-time champion who lost May's one-sided, unanimous decision to Mayweather, but who has never been knocked out and who has been knocked down only once.
"Personally, right now, I feel that I'm No. 2 ahead of Mayweather. I feel that Manny Pacquiao is No. 1," said Martinez, who will receive the 2010 Fighter of The Year award at the BWAA awards dinner on May 6 in Las Vegas, ending Pacquiao's three-year run.
"But the thing is that if Pacquiao doesn't have a great performance against Mosley, and if he doesn't beat Mosley the way that I beat Dzinziruk, then I'm right there," said Martinez. "If that doesn't happen, then I should take the No. 1 spot. And, of course, if Mosley beats Pacquiao, then, of course, I'm definitely the No. 1 guy."