Vanes Martirosyan's return to the ring is set, but it's not what anyone was hoping for. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Rick Reeno reports that Vanes Martirosyan's next fight is set, but for those hoping to see him step up his competition, this isn't it.
Martirosyan (30-0, 19 KO) will face Richard Gutierrez (26-7-1, 16 KO) in Oklahoma, televised on Top Rank Live on October 29.
The 25-year-old Martirosyan has been barking about getting a bigger fight for a while now, and was recently in negotiations to face Alfredo Angulo. That's not happening, as Martirosyan's side dropped out of the talks. There were also reports that he would face Pawel Wolak on December 3, but Wolak said he'd heard nothing about that and that he was focused on facing Cornelius Bundrage, so Martirosyan's team might not be at any fault there.
We've given Martirosyan the benefit of the doubt quite a few times. He's somewhere between prospect and contender, and he talks plenty about big fights. But if it's not him, then someone on his team needs to get it together, because this is yet another sideways step against a weak opponent. Gutierrez is nothing more than a sturdy gatekeeper anymore, and will come into this fight on a three-fight losing streak, and 2-6-1 in his last night. Those two wins came over guys with zero wins on their records, too. Martirosyan has been stuck on this level of opponent since 2008, and he's just not growing much as a fighter.
It's too bad, because he fights in an exciting style and could pick up fans even in a strong loss. But he's stagnating pretty badly.