Whether this weekend turns out to be a dog fight or strictly a boxing match, Xavier Martinez has every angle covered.
The unbeaten rising junior lightweight looks to make the leap from prospect to contender as he faces former interim titlist Claudio Marrero this weekend. Their bout serves as part of a Showtime-televised tripleheader, airing live from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I’m excited for this fight, it’s the type of step-up I’ve been asking for my past several fights,” Martinez told BoxingScene.com.
The bout was due to take place earlier in the month, only for the show to get delayed due to an issue with the main event. It hasn’t at all dampened the mood of Martinez (15-0, 11KOs) a red-hot talent from Sacramento who has spent the past few months facing all sorts of styles in the gym to prepare for this weekend.
Marrero (24-4, 17KOs) moves up from featherweight, where he is coming off of a stoppage loss versus Kid Galahad in February. Despite having dropped three of his last five, the crafty Dominican southpaw from Santo Domingo proved his worth over that stretch in a nip-and-tuck affair with 2012 Olympic Silver medalist Tugstsogt Nyambayar and wins over unbeaten Jorge Lara and serviceable featherweight Eduardo Ramirez.
Martinez recognizes the fight as his biggest stage to date, though not necessarily the best opponent he will see up close and personal. The unbeaten native gained extensive work with Ruben Villa (18-1, 5KOs) as the two prepared each other for their separate fights in October. Villa came up just short in a vacant featherweight title bid versus the excellent Emanuel Navarrete, recovering from two knockdowns to still make it a competitive fight.
“Ruben’s got some great footwork,” notes Martinez. “Claudio moves a lot. So, Ruben and I, we sparred together getting each other ready for our upcoming fights. He’s slick and has some great feet. Footwork wise, I don’t think it gets any better.
“I also sparred Tank Davis. I had some high top-notch sparring for this fight. Me personally, I don’t see Claudio better than Tank or Ruben.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox