Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana is already looking forward to his future as a welterweight while preparing for Wednesday's stay-busy bout against Mexico's Angel Martinez (13-3-1, nine KOs) at historic Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The 29-year-old Maidana (32-3, 29 KOs), better known as "Chino" to his adoring fans, is fresh off an exciting eighth-round TKO over Jesus Soto Karass in September. He recently took a break from training camp to sit down with ESPN.com.
Already a veteran of exciting battles against the likes of Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan and Erik Morales, Maidana talked about his big plans for the near future and whether he would ever be willing to engage in an all-action showdown with countryman Lucas Matthysse.
How are you feeling now?
I am always doing great. When I have to train, I train. I was in Oxnard [Calif.] for two months and I arrived in Argentina about a week ago. It's getting cold up there, and here the weather is nice. I was anxious to fight at Luna Park and I am happy because it is finally happening and I hope to have a good night, if I can, to win by KO.
Your next opponent, Angel Martinez, doesn't have the most impressive record, and all three of his defeats have come by stoppage. In February, he quit in the sixth round of a fight against Lucas Matthysse.
Yeah, I know. But Martinez is Mexican, and they are always a handful. They are tough and brave. I fought about eight of them and I beat them all, including Erik Morales.
If you should defeat Martinez, what is next for you?
You said it: Now we have to beat Martinez. The "accessible" opponents, as they call them nowadays, do not exist because surely he will come to rip my head off knowing that if he beats me, he climbs up the ranks. I want the big fights -- big ones in importance. And big money fights, also.
What names are you looking at as future opponents?
Nobody knows that. We have talked many times with [adviser Sebastian] Contursi and we have to wait because the guys at Golden Boy are the ones who make the offers and you never know what's coming.
For example, they offered a fight with Keith Thurman, correct?
Yeah, and fortunately I said no, right? [Laughs] I am kidding, but this guy punches really hard, although he leaves himself open a little bit. I saw him when he KO'ed Carlos Quintana in California.
What did you think of Robert Guerrero's victory over Andre Berto that headlined the same card?
I think he won well and he had a good fight. I thought Berto would win. I would like a fight against Guerrero, especially because we announced it once and in the end it didn't happen.
What about current titlist Paul Malignaggi, who is fresh off his October victory over Pablo Cesar Cano?
Well, everyone wants to fight him, right? I would love to, because one of the things that I look forward to doing next year is becoming world champion again, and now I am a welterweight, so ...
Some believe Malignaggi could be fighting another Argentine fighter soon, unbeaten Diego "The Jewel" Chaves, who holds an interim title.
Well ... anything can happen. I believe Diego is a good boxer, but I have the feeling that he is not yet mature for the top level. He is a speedy, intelligent southpaw. We sparred many times.
In fact, Chaves told us that he wouldn't fight you, at least for now, because he feels he still has a long road ahead of him.
And I believe he's right.
Are there any other names you are interested in fighting?
Not for me as direct rivals, let's say. But there's Devon Alexander, Timothy Bradley -- and that's without counting Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez or Floyd Mayweather, who are a step above all of us.
Would you like to fight Mayweather at some point?
Of course. It would be fantastic. [He is] very difficult, a great fighter. Obviously I would fight Floyd, sure. Well, with him, with Manny or with whomever. That's why I am a fighter.
Everyone wants to see you and recently crowned junior welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in action against each other. Will that fight ever come together?
Right now I don't want to fight him and I believe he doesn't want to fight me, either. First, because one of us would be left behind, and it's not necessary because I am at welterweight and he is a junior welterweight. Second, because I don't think there will be enough money to pay for that fight, really.
So this is strictly a business decision?
Of course! I believe that if we were offered an important purse, we'd both fight without thinking about it. Let's see: If we fought four times in the amateurs for no money, why wouldn't we fight again for a good purse? In the amateurs I won two, he won one and we had a draw on the other one. He's my lady! Ha! No, seriously, Lucas is a great fighter, we were teammates [on] the national team, and when he beat Humberto Soto last June, I went to see him to congratulate him. Obviously it would be a great fight, and maybe one day we'll make it, but I don't think it will be right now in our finest moment.
Did anybody at Golden Boy talk to you or your adviser in order to plan a fight with Lucas?
No, not that I know of, they never talked to us about that.
It's a great time for boxing in Argentina right now with Matthysse, Luis Carlos Abregu's victory over Thomas Dulorme and, obviously, the exploits of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. They are all building a name for themselves in the United States.
Well, that's great, and it demonstrates that we have good material. Besides, when one Argentinian wins, we all win. Look at Abregu -- I sparred with both of them. I thought Dulorme could beat him, but Abregu fought a great fight. He is intelligent and has enough to fight anyone; he's just like every other Argentine fighter. I mean, in the United States, without taking anything away from great champions like Omar Narvaez or another guy with a lot of potential like Juan Carlos Reveco.
And what about Marcos Maidana?
I think he's improving in a few things, with the hard work of Robert Garcia, who couldn't come to Argentina this time because he had important commitments in the United States. He is in a good position at welterweight and wants to be a world champion again, so just in case, I would recommend all of you to follow Chino in the future, because he still has a lot to give.