Sampson Lewkowicz, who advises world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, spoke to Lem Satterfield at The RING and made clear that Martinez has a specific plan, which is centered on a 2012 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, who holds the WBC's belt.
"Sergio is trying to be patient, but he has also been very specific ... Because Sergio is a gentleman, he has said, 'Let Chavez fight, and then he can face me in the first quarter of next year.' So we're talking about February or March that we hope to fight Chavez. If not, then we think that it's going to be Rubio."
Lewkowicz also says that Martinez feels loyalty to the WBC, as he feels the WBC has supported his career and helped take him to the top. It was indeed the WBC that made an interim junior middleweight belt available for Martinez's fight against Alex Bunema in October 2008, which was Sergio's first fight on HBO. Of the four major sanctioning bodies in the sport, Martinez has only fought for WBC belts over his career, except for the WBO middleweight title, which came along with the WBC and lineal crowns when Martinez beat Kelly Pavlik in April 2010.
Speaking of Marco Antonio Rubio, he recently received "assurance" that he would get to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr by June 4, 2012, but he doesn't seem too confident in that:
"I've received no explanation why it is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has refused to face me for the WBC middleweight belt. I am the #1 mandatory challenger and for a long time, since before Chaver Jr was world champion. Chavez Jr has not given me an answer."
The Rubio part of this saga is kind of confusing, as his upset of David Lemieux was originally billed as a WBC eliminator. The WBC later said that was not the case, but regardless, Rubio is the current No. 1-ranked contender. Take a look at just the top five:
- Marco Antonio Rubio: Won a not-an-eliminator! over David Lemieux. Formerly held WBC Latino middleweight belt, which now appears to not exist.
- Sebastian Zbik: Former holder of bogus title that was stripped from Sergio Martinez in pretty blatant move by WBC, with HBO playing a key role, too.
- Darren Barker: Current European champion and next opponent for Martinez on October 1.
- David Lemieux: Hey, he's never really won a significant fight, but this is a world where Ronald Hearns is No. 14. The other hilarious thing is Lemieux still being listed as WBC International titlist, despite losing his last fight (belt not on the line) and having not defended that title since October 2010, when he thwarted the mighty Hector Camacho Jr.
- Peter Manfredo Jr: Chavez's November 19 opponent.
Keep in mind, too, that Martinez is not empty-handed in WBCland right now. He's the "Diamond" champion!!! Also keep in mind that nobody on earth actually thinks that Chavez is going to fight Martinez if Top Rank has final say, including Lewkowicz, who admits that "Bob Arum will not allow it to happen." So right now they're targeting a phantom in a fight that isn't even interesting. That is boxing business. There's so much money in Chavez that real top fighters are actually concerned about fighting him.