Sergio Martinez told Nicholas Samuilov of notifight.com (via BoxingScene.com) that he would be willing to drop all the way down to 150 pounds to face Manny Pacquiao in 2012:
"I am willing to go down to 150 pounds to face Manny Pacquiao. It does not depend only on me. We will see what happens, if his team and [Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum accept [the fight]. Because it's one thing is to fight Antonio Margarito at 150, and another thing to face me at 150. ... He always said 150, and I respect his position, because he is a little fighter even at 150. But it's going to play to his advantage because I'll be almost ten kilos lighter in my body."
Well, that's that then -- the middleweight champion of the world has spoken himself, and says he'd go down to 150 pounds to fight Manny Pacquiao. Earlier, Martinez's adviser Sampson Lewkowicz had said that he wouldn't want Sergio to go under 155 or 156 pounds for a big fight with Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr, but it looks like Sergio is really willing to take the risk.
I wonder what's changed here, and I think I might have an idea. Martinez isn't getting younger -- he's 36, he turns 37 in February. Despite the fact that he's at peak popularity, relevance, and notoriety, he doesn't have a lot of years left in the sport, and frankly the crop at 160 pounds doesn't have a fighter who's going to come along to the point of being a big event fighter until Martinez is, oh, 40 or so.
So why not take the risk? Martinez, like every fighter, wants the money and the big fights. Even if he were to move up to 168, which I've said a few times I'd love to see him do because I think he'd fare very well, that kind of money wouldn't compare to a Pacquiao or Mayweather fight.
He's going about this in a ballsy way, basically saying he understands that the money men (Manny and Floyd) call the shots, and he accepts that he'll have to drop all the way down to 150. It's risky, it's a little bit crazy, and it might not even be doable. He might, if it were to happen, show up so drained that he'd be all but nothing in the ring on fight night. But he's offering to do it.
On the other hand: Do I think Bob Arum would sign off on this fight? I think he'd consult with the minds at Top Rank, weigh the risks, the pros and cons, and give it a serious think. But in the end, I don't think he'd be excited about putting Pacquiao in the ring with a 5'11" southpaw who can move, has power, and has hand speed and an awkward style.
Could this make Martinez vs Mayweather more possible? Would Sergio drop to 150 for Floyd, which may be the more likely fight?