Sergio Martinez, the former middleweight champ who reigned from a 2010 win over Kelly Pavlik until a 2014 loss to Miguel Cotto, is planning to retire after a final meeting with doctors, due to a severely damaged knee that clearly had him hobbled last June against Cotto, and left his career in doubt.
"I am a boxer, my knee is shattered. I am 40 years old, I'm getting wrinkles and my hair is falling out," Martinez was quoted as saying in Argentina's La Nacion daily on Monday. "I've already made up my mind, but in a few weeks I will have a final meeting with doctors and make my announcement then."
Martinez turned 40 in February, and every update on his knee since his last fight has been pushing him toward this decision. Martinez got a late break in the United States, as top promoters passed on signing the Argentine slickster before promoter Lou DiBella finally picked him up. In 2008, he made his HBO debut at age 33, dominating Alex Bunema. He had tough luck in a pair of 2009 fights, getting a controversial draw with Kermit Cintron, and then a move up to middleweight to fight Paul Williams, who had just lost a date with Kelly Pavlik.
Though Martinez lost a narrow Fight of the Year candidate, he received the shot at Pavlik in April 2010, and beat the reigning champion by decision. He followed that up with a brutal knockout of Williams in a rematch, and then scored wins over Serhiy Dzinziruk, Darren Barker, and Matthew Macklin, before getting a big fight on pay-per-view with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in September 2012.
Martinez outclassed Chavez and made the younger, bigger fighter look silly over the first 11 rounds, before getting hurt by a desperate Chavez in the 12th and final round. Martinez injured his knee then, and had surgery following a close April 2013 win in Argentina over Martin Murray, a fight some felt Murray had won.
After 14 months off, he faced Cotto, and looked like a shell of his former self. Cotto dropped Martinez three times in the opening round and scored an official knockdown in the ninth, as well, before Martinez was pulled out of the fight after ten rounds. Cotto led on unanimous scores of 90-77 at the time of the stoppage; the fight was a true blowout, and an unfortunate final outing for a fighter who not long before was among the very best in the world.