At 47, Sergio “Maravilla” Martínez still dreams of a world title and targets Golovkin: “He can kill me, or I can give him a lesson in boxing”
At 47 and ranked third on the AMB middleweight list, former world champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez is certain that in 2023 he will have another opportunity to challenge for a world title and he is aiming to challenge Gennady Golovkin, even if his life is at risk.
“If I can choose who to challenge, I would say Gennady Golovkin,” Sergio Martinez told IZQUIERDAZO. “Somebody can tell me that Golovkin is going to kill me. Yes, I know he can kill me. Or not. I also know that I can give him a boxing lesson. I am improving every day. I’m not getting as good as before, I’m much better”.
Martinez reigned supreme in the junior middleweight and middleweight classes, while also being a recurring name in the pound-for-pound rankings. He retired in 2014 after being stopped by Miguel Cotto. In 2020, after six years of retirement, Martinez returned to boxing determined to be a world champion once again. Since then, Martinez has fought five times, winning them all against low level competition.
But now Martinez is ranked third in the official AMB rankings and he thinks a fight could happen soon against super champ Gennady Golovkin or regular champ Erislandy Lara.
“I’m aiming to fight Gennady Golovkin,” Martinez said. “Maybe my manager will target Lara. But I know a fight with Lara can be super boring. Lara gets on her bike and dances around you, moving and moving, so it would be a bad fight. With Golovkin, I think it would be a great fight to see, even if he might break me to pieces, or not.”
In fact, Martinez is betting on him to give a good fight against Golovkin.
“It’s total madness, I know, but I have every confidence in myself to be able to deliver an extraordinary fight against Golovkin,” Martinez said. “And I need to (fight on a big level), because if I don’t, I’ll die or he’ll kill me. With Golovkin, there is a good match of styles, I think we could give a good fight. I have to perform at an extraordinary level to win it. I have full confidence in myself, and I know it’s crazy, because if I don’t, Golovkin will kill me and destroy me”.
Martinez is aware of his age. He is 47 years old, but his potential opponents will also be over 40 at the time of the fight. In April, Erislandy Lara turns 40 and Gennady Golovkin turns 41.
“I’m eight years older than Lara, and almost as much as Golovkin,” Martinez explained. “I will be 48 in February, seven older than Golovkin.”
But the Argentine reckons age won’t be a key factor in a potential fight with Golovkin or Lara.
“When two champions face each other, or a champion with a mandatory challenger, there is little difference between them,” Martinez said. “What will make the difference is the brain, not the age. It won’t even be the physical form, because we are all in excellent condition at the level required for a world champion. Golovkin, Lara and I, if we fight, we will be at a very high level from a physical point of view. But (the difference) is the head, which has better tactics and strategy, and which rests better the last week before the fight ” .
Martinez admits that his level of opposition since returning to boxing has been very low, which puts him on a lower level than Golovkin or Lara. But Sergio stresses that it’s only ‘for now’.
“I’m still not at the level of Golovkin or Lara, yet,” Martinez conceded. “Because the level of opposition I’ve had is lower, and sometimes very lower. But I needed contact with the ring, with the ropes, the referee. I needed friction, I had need an opponent who attacks me, hits me, aims to really hurt me. That’s what I needed and I know that I’m progressing and evolving by leaps and bounds”.
Sergio is aware that due to his current AMB ranking, the opportunity for a world title could present itself at any time. But he is also aware that it could be delayed until 2024, and by then he will be 49. Yet the example of Bernard Hopkins is close at hand for him.
“I understand that being ranked third, the world title fight could come at any time,” Martinez said. “I can tell you that in 2023, starting in July, I will get a world title fight. March 2024 at the latest. By then I will be 49. But hey, Bernard Hopkins fought until ‘at 51, and he won his last fight at 50.