Sergio Martinez Staying Put, Matthew Macklin Looking Likely for March

Sergio Martinez won't be going up in weight, and it looks like Matthew Macklin is the leading candidate for a next opponent. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com's Keith Idec that middleweight champion Sergio Martinez absolutely will not move up in weight, so anyone hoping he will might as well put those thoughts to rest, including yours truly. It's as likely to happen, it would appear, as Sergio actually landing a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny Pacquiao at a lower catchweight:

"[W]hoever comes with 170 or 168, my promoter [Lou DiBella] and myself and our team will not allow it. [Martinez] can say whatever he wants, but he will not fight at super middleweight. He’s too small for 168."

Martinez has himself said in the past that he feels he'd be putting himself at a big disadvantage fighting at 168 pounds, and it's a valid point. I think he could do well on pure talent, particularly if he could get catchweights at 165 or 166, but if his team doesn't want him going, and he doesn't want to go up, it's not going to happen.

After Saturday's fight, Bernard Hopkins raised the possibility of fighting Martinez at a 170-pound catchweight, but Team Martinez, including the fight himself, doesn't sound interested. Martinez weighed 165 pounds on the HBO scales for the fight with Darren Barker, and 170 would be a big jump for him. At 36, this is just what his body is. He may someday fight heavy, but probably only if he's fighting well past his prime.

Martinez has also said he'd go down to 150 pounds for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, or perhaps Mayweather, but that's also probably not going to happen, and realistically, it's probably best if it doesn't. Martinez going back down to 150 wouldn't be good for him -- he'd look, most likely, close to what Oscar De La Hoya did at 147 against Pacquiao, drained and completely without energy. It reminds me of when Shane Mosley offered to go to 140 to fight Pacquiao a few years ago. That was treated by all as a horrible idea, and this should be, too, I believe. I respect the willingness to take the risk in both cases, but don't need to see either to know it almost certainly won't be good.

Right now, it would appear that Matthew Macklin is the leading candidate to face Martinez next, and not just because I guessed that he would be when looking at potential opponents for Sergio on Sunday. Macklin says that he will make his DiBella debut in November, and that after that he's going to continue targeting Martinez for a March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) fight in 2012.

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