He was named Fighter of The Year by the Boxing Writers of America and he has captured the imagination of fans on boxing forums from HBO to ESPN. But is Sergio Martinez the next savior that boxing desperately needs?
Lets`s face it, since Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson and now Manny Pacquiao, there is no real crossover superstar to help propel boxing back into the mainstream. With UFC and other MMA leagues knocking at the door, boxing is in desperate need of more fighters that can help sell the sport.
The southpaw has earned the nickname 'La Maravilla,', which means 'The Marvelous'. Martinez had been fighting in Spain and England until 2007 when he finally made the jump over to the United States. His last six fights were all showcased on HBO; which is impressive for a fighter who couldn't find a promoter when he first arrived to America.
He fought good caliber fighters in Kermit Cintron, Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams. His current record is an astounding 47 wins with only 2 losses and 2 draws in his 51 fights as a professional. His recent knockout of Paul Williams and his last victory against Serhiry Dzinziruk has propelled him among the most top contenders in the middleweight division.
On June 14, the middleweight from Argentina signed a new multimillion-dollar contract with Lou DiBella. At age 36, this contract secures Martinez for six fights which will most likely see the boxer end his career with DiBella as his promoter. When asked about Martinez, DiBella said: "He's probably the best fighter I've ever promoted along with Bernard Hopkins, who I used to promote and who is a legend."
The knock on Martinez is that although he is considered the third best fighter at the moment behind Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao, the Argentinian has yet to accomplish as much as other fighters from his native country such as Carlos Monzon or Pascual Perez.
It`s hard to make the case that Martinez should be considered the next crossover superstar because he has yet to fight Hall-of-Fame fighters. While it`s true that Cintron, Williams and Pavlik are good fighters, there is no way they can be considered as Hall-of-Fame material at this point in their careers.
Unfortunately, only time will tell if Martinez is the real deal but at the moment boxing is still looking for that rising star that can bring boxing back from the dark ages where it stays.
Martinez is scheduled to fight Darren Barker (23 wins and 0 losses) on October 1st, 2011.