Heavyweight Charles Martin is continuing his re-build phase, and was looking to glove up on January 20, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 25-1-1 hitter has fought and won twice since his April 2016 loss to Anthony Joshua. Martin dropped his IBF heavyweight strap to the Brit and had to look hard in the mirror, and ask himself who he is as an athlete, and where he stands in the grand scheme of the sport.
The comeback was set to move another step forward, according to Martin’s advisor Mike Borao, but the St. Louis boxer caught a nasty case of the flu, and has been scratched from the card, portions of which will run on Showtime.
“Charles Martin will regain the heavyweight championship,” the NJ based tree-shaker/jelly-maker told me. “His game has changed so much with the addition of trainer Sugar Hill. It’s similar to the improvements Lennox Lewis made when he hired Emanuel Steward, and a very similar story. Both guys won a heavyweight title with their amateur coaches, both guys lost a KO-2 in UK. I can’t wait for Charles to win the title the for a second time, and prove all the doubters wrong!”
Borao has a good sized and growing stable under his watch. He offered updates on some more of his crew.
“Joe Hanks, the heavyweight, fights February 13 at the Sands Hotel in Pennsylvania,” he shared. Hanks is 34, with a 22-2 mark; he was out of the ring in 2015 and 2016 and has re-discovered his zest for combat.
“WBA number nine heavyweight BJ Flores (34-3-1) will get a major opportunity in 2018. We’ve tried for Alexander Povetkin, Lucas Browne, and Dillian Whyte. Exciting heavyweight Mark De Mori (32-2-2) had two wins in 2017, rebounding from a loss to David Haye — Mark will land a big fight in 2018.
“Also, Woodsy, it is a testament to the drawing power of light heavyweight Mike Lee (20-0) that he is a promotional free agent and rated as high as No. 7 in the world,” Borao continued. “We received an offer to face Andre Ward, and Mike was looking forward to that fight, but unfortunately Ward elected to retire. No doubt Mike will be fighting for a world title in 2018.”
Borao, who cut his teeth watching NY-based promoter Credric Kushner do his thing, also touched on the middleweight formerly with Top Rank, Matt Korobov.
“Matt is one of the most avoided fighters in the sport. WBC has him rated No. 5 so it’s only a matter of time before he gets his shot,” Borao asserted.
My three cents: Borao is adept at helping rougher diamonds get the shine they need to sparkle. No one would predict all will ascend to mountain tops, but this is a good bet: Borao will move mini mountains to get them on the right path to where they can see the summit. The finish, the final push to the top, it’s on them. But he’s skilled at getting them the super shot.