He is starting to get a bit more salty. The impatience is starting to get to him. Not in a bad way I don't think. But nice guy Sergio Martinez is getting an edge, because he's had it. For too long now, he's been a guy who has gone after the best, brightest, biggest names in the game. He fought Paul Williams, then Kelly Pavlik, then Paul Williams again, in 2009-2010. And he believes that some of the very best, brightest and biggest names in the game haven't been as focused on doing the same. Who is the Argentine referring to? Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Miguel Cotto are in his top four, a murderers row of "duckers."
Tuesday, Martinez was in NYC chatting with fightwriters, and he went, if not ballistic, then semi-ballistic. For him. He's a smooth operator, a guy who looks like his blood pressure never goes above 110-70. It might have hit 111-71 on Tuesday, when he laced into the "duckers," and the people he believes aid and abet them.
Why, he was asked, aren't these top dogs demanding of their promoters, who understandably, being shrewd businessmen who want to protect their assets, sometimes put them in with a softer touch when the harder foe is the fight the fans want?
"They don't want the toughest fights," Martinez said, "they want the easiest."
He aimed the barbs at Chavez Jr first.
"There's no other way to contact him, I can't just go to his house," he said. "I've said a thousand times in the past I want a fight with him or for him to give me my belt back."
Martinez really wants a crack at proving he is the best pound for pounder in the world. Some say he is, some say the 36 year-old has lost some luster after fighting two guys not well known in the States, Sergei Dzinziruk and Darren Barker, and looking at times good, not great. He'd love to lure Pacquiao into a tangle, and talked a little trash to maybe light a fire under the Congressman.
"What Bob Arum and Freddie Roach are selling is a lie," Martinez said. "Roach been saying Pacquiao is number one pound for pound. How long has it been since he's fought someone in the top ten pound for pound? When he fought Marquez think about how the three fights went. Roach and Arum, a bunch of liars. For Roach, talk is cheap. Tell Roach to make a fight with Chavez, I'll kick his ass in the ring." Now, while he's saying this stuff, Sergio is as composed as when he's ordering the ribeye and a side of asparagus. But this is incendiary stuff, for him. "Pacquiao is basically a puppet for Roach and Top Rank," he said.
Martinez laid claim to the No. 2 P4P spot behind Floyd Mayweather. He says that when a Martinez-Pacman bout was discussed, it was made clear to him that Team Pacquiao would want him to fight at 147, and weigh no more than 150 on fightnight. Team Martinez said they'd do 150, but 147, to me, is not possible, so it looks like we can scratch that one off the list, conclusively.
What about Miguel Cotto? That to me is a mouth-watering fight, especially after Cotto looked like a million bucks in his revenge match against that crooked, jerky jockey, Tony Margarito.
"Cotto must be deaf, everything I say, he doesn't hear or doesn't want to hear. I say it a million times he doesn't hear, every time Cotto comes up with an excuse, 'I don't want it, people don't want it,' he doesn't like the way I dress or whatever else."
We may be getting more of this semi-salty Sergio; he sounds like he's not considering his exit from the game until he lures Mayweather or some of the Top Rank gang, Pacman, Cotto, Chavez or Cotto, into tussles: "I'm not going to stop fighting til I'm the top pound for pound and I get my belt back."
He sounded like he was ordering a slice of cheesecake when he said that, but really, folks, this is a new, saltier side of Sergio, and I like it. Readers write in to TSS and bemoan the good old days, when more fighters hunted people above them on the food chain, or at the same level, and made certain fights were booked so they could prove their supremacy. Fair to say this sport could use some more of that today, fighters showing off their grapefruits more and telling the dealmakers that they want only the most marquee scraps. I do believe I have hit upon my New Year's co-resolution, to go along with that diet revamp...I will lobby harder for the pound for pound aces and the best and brightest to seek only the sternest tests. It is time the aces of this era show the golden boys of the past that the portion of their legacy which means most to them is wins over future Hall of Famers, not the size of their bank accounts and car collections.