DiBella Defends Martinez as Money Fighter, Says Berto Won't Do Welterweight Tournament

Sergio Martinez fights tonight in front of a discounted crowd in Atlantic City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Promoters Lou DiBella and Bob Arum are having a press spat at the moment, which is nothing new, but this is from the Los Angeles Times to give you a quick idea of the whole mess:

DiBella heard that veteran promoter Bob Arum was telling people in the sport's inner circle that DiBella's star fighter, world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, was having trouble gathering a crowd at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for Saturday's title defense against England's Darren Barker (23-0, 14 knockouts).

"I got a thousand people here at the weigh-in, and that's with the [nearby Philadelphia] Phillies in the playoffs," DiBella said. "I don't need to hear what this bitter old man [Arum] thinks."

Look, fair being fair, there's no "inner circle" about it. Martinez vs Barker didn't sell tickets at full price. That's why there were so many discounts, including a late added 30% discount for Ward vs Froch original ticketholders, and two free tickets for a whopping $20 in Everlast purchases at Modell's. However many people DiBella got for the weigh-in, the fight didn't sell in Atlantic City. Now Top Rank's Yuriorkis Gamboa also doesn't sell in AC, and frankly neither does anyone else anymore, but DiBella can't seriously be mad about people saying that Martinez vs Barker didn't sell. It didn't. If it did, there wouldn't have been a pair of tickets for $20 worth of junk from Modell's.

DiBella also scoffed at two other things: The idea that a rematch between Martinez and Antonio Margarito (Top Rank fighter) could only happen for a 60-40 split in Margarito's favor, and the idea of Andre Berto competing in Golden Boy's proposed welterweight tournament in 2011:

"You think people are clamoring to see Victor Ortiz again? Or Devon Alexander?" DiBella said. "I'm not interested in Maidana or the other various losers. If they want to offer Bert [Amir] Khan, we'll take it. Or a straight rematch with Ortiz."

I don't get why he's calling Maidana a "loser" when Maidana beat Victor Ortiz, which Andre Berto could not do, but DiBella can be pretty hot-headed. Berto has few legitimate options for big fights, and unless Lou knows something about a potential Mayweather vs Berto fight next year (both Al Haymon fighters, could happen) that could be in the works, he's just spitting fire here and little else. Still, while this welterweight tournament may or may not come off, but I can understand DiBella not wanting to lock Berto into upwards of three fights next year. He's got a title belt and guys can come to him in a lot of ways.

Most of this is just nonsense, really. Arum's not wrong, and it's not like he's spreading some big secret about Martinez not drawing. DiBella's not really wrong either, I guess, just doing his job and defending his guy, and himself.

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