Two years ago, after losing very controversially to a then-feared welterweight turned junior welter, Paul Williams, Sergio Martinez made the ballsiest bet of his life and challenged Kelly Pavlik for his middleweight title. And won. Big.
After coming down from a walking around weight in the 170's, the talented Argentinian weighed in a half pound less that the 160 limit, met and then thoroughly defeated and possibly forever deflated the once undisputed Middleweight King, Pavlik.
In his next fight, he was forced by the networks to accept a catch weight of 157 from a man who, controversially or not, had actually just defeated him. William's calculus was transparent. Martinez was a bigger man and in asking him to shave an extra pound or two from the standard 160, PW might sap either his punching power or his stamina, were it to into the later rounds.
Well, Williams was wrong. Dead wrong. Sergio was plenty powerful and had no reason to go long that night. In one of the KOTY, Martinez dispatches yet another foe; possibly for good.
Martinez took that fight but he wasn't happy. In fact, here is what he said about PW's pre-fight demands and conditions:
"Personally, I'd be ashamed to ask for a catch weight. I would never do it. If you want to challenge someone for their title, be a man and fight at the right weight."
Since then. opponents have been scarce. sergio is in another league for those who share his optimal weight. But that is simply how it goes sometimes. Ask Larry Holmes. Fortunately for Sergio however, we live in a world of too many sanctioning bodies with too many weight divisions, and thus we have catch weights. That wrinkle is Sergio's opportunity.
ut farnkly I don't think he's done a very good job exploiting it. In fact, I think he and his promoter are squandreing it...and along with it, some of Sergio's good will.
Sergio moaned about losing a few extra pounds to fight Williams for his title. A big man between fights, he knows he's middleweight. Full fledged at this point in his life. So what does he do. He look down. A bit like a bullies that he claims to hate. He seeks fights at 150 lbs against Pacquiao, a man who has never even weighed 150 on fight night. Occasionally but not too frequently, he allows his minions to use Floyd's name; a fighter who I believe could meet him at his former weight, 154, but won't. And doesn't have to.
Rarely if ever do you hear the name Bute. Or Ward. Less that two eeks ago, bute said and I quote: "It would be an honor to fight Sergio Martinez. He's a great fighter. We could fight at 166lbs"
Now that is a catch weight Sergio...and we already know that you never meant what you initially said. You are happy to fight smaller men at catchweights. It will soon be time to fight again. Do yourself and your stellar image a favor. Pick an opponent and fight...but fight somebody your own size.