It had only been about four months since his last fight, but the initial wave of the coronavirus pandemic left Xavier Martinez wondering how long it would be until he would make his way back into the ring.
That’s when it became clear that he needed another skills besides aspiring junior lightweight contender if he was going to make money. His next business opportunity, as it turned out, was only a few classes away.
“I actually started taking classes and learned how to day-trade,” Martinez told BoxingScene.com of his time spent in quarantine. “I’m like really, really good at it. I wake up at 5am, I day-trade and then I go run.
“In life, I never wanted to put all of my eggs in one basket. I had a friend that does it for a living. As soon as this happened, he was being a mentor for me. He got me to invest in the classes and made sure I learn.”
It was enough to put money in his pocket while also remaining sharp for whenever the call came to return to his full-time job.
That moment now comes this weekend—albeit following a two-week delay, as Sacramento’s Martinez (15-0, 11KOs) faces former interim titlist Claudio Marrero (24-4, 17KOs) in a 12-round junior lightweight clash. The bout airs live on Showtime this Saturday, live from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, headlined by an interim welterweight title fight between Sergey Lipinets and Custio Clayton.
For Martinez, it’s an opportunity to resume his fast-rising career, emerging as a young talent to watch in 2019 before everyone’s momentum was stalled by the ongoing global health crisis.
With the sport now back in full swing, the expectations are for the 22-year old to begin the progression from blue-chip prospect to rising contender. He was smart enough to remain in boxing shape while waiting for the call, just as he had the wherewithal to keep revenue coming in at a time when a lot of others were stuck trying to figure out their next move.
“As fighters, we only get paid when we fight,” observes Martinez, who is proudly represented by Mayweather Promotions. :During the pandemic, we couldn’t fight so I wasn’t getting paid. With this, I won’t say it was a job but it’s a hobby where I’m making a good amount of money. It basically became my side hustle.
“The way I see it, if you come out of COVID without a career or a side hustle, all you did was waste a lot of time.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox