Sergio: Pacquiao, Chavez Jr. are puppets of Arum, 'cowards'

Sergio Martinez said at a Wednesday presser at Madison Square Garden that he will dedicate his March 17 fight to battered women. That's the sweet side of the Argentina-born hitter, who is seen as the best middleweight in the world, but he has a saltier side as well.

Martinez, who fights Irishman Matthew Macklin on St. Paddy's Day, with an edge, had hard words for Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and their promoter, Bob Arum. "The public and the fans are getting really tired of who's fighting who, 'will Pacquiao fight Mayweather, and will Mayweather fight Pacquiao.' I give up on that, I don't want to be involved in the discussion who's fighting who. I believe it's time for not only talk but action and if by any chance anyone wants to fight me, let's sit and talk about it, the weight and the division. But I'm getting really sick of it and I believe it's doing wrong for boxing," he said through interpreter Sampson Lewkowicz.

He scoffed at Pacquiao's continued adherence to the line that he is merely the fighter, and that his promoter is in charge of making the fights. "This is an act of cowardice by Manny and Chavez, they say only what the promoter says," Martinez said. "I'm my own man, the champion, I would never ask the permission of my promoter. If you want the fight, take the fight, don't say "my promoter," that's a coward's talk. Both of them ... Chavez and Pacquiao are a puppet of Bob Arum. I'm not a puppet for Lou DiBella. I'll fight anyone, that is the difference. I don't ask Lou which one he wants me to fight, I speak myself, and when anyone's challenge makes sense, I will do it."

The 36-year-old hitter also said that he won't fight for the WBC's honorific belt, the "diamond" belt, and is holding out for the real thing. Chavez Jr. holds that strap now, and puts it on the line Feb. 4 against Marco Antonio Rubio. The WBC has said that they want Junior and Martinez to face off next, should each win their respective fights.

Martinez, though, isn't holding his breath. "Chavez will never fight me," he said. "He's afraid."

The boxer did talk sweeter when speaking of his relationship with HBO; that relationship seemed fractured last week, but a breakfast meeting yesterday smoothed things over. "It was the first time in three years any executive from HBO met with me like that," said Martinez, who said he was dumping the cabler last week at a presser.

The fighter didn't really want to entertain what fight might come post-Macklin, and potential foes like Pacquiao or Mayweather. He said Macklin deserves more respect than that.