Sergio Martinez and Argentina President Cristina Fernandez (Courtesy Lou DiBella Twitter feed)It's common in the U.S. for the Super Bowl, NBA and World Series champions to show up at the White House to be congratulated by the President.
Boxing, though, doesn't hold a high enough spot on the pecking order, so champions fighters aren't usually summoned to meet the Commander-in-Chief. Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino congressman as well as a champion fighter, made a trip to see President Obama last year, but he is the distinct rarity of fighters in getting a personal meeting with a head of state.
Pope John Paul II and Muhammad Ali (AP file photo)Boxers, though, remain major figures in other countries. Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez is a significant figure in his native Argentina and received a call from President Cristina Fernandez congratulating him after his Sept. 15 win in Las Vegas over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
During that call, Fernandez invited Martinez for a coffee and a chat, according to an Argentinian web site. Martinez made the visit with Fernandez on Tuesday.
He became the latest boxer to meet a head of state. Brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who combined hold all four heavyweight titles, have met President Clinton when he was in office as well as the heads of state of Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Chechnya.
With boxers such as Klitschko and Pacquiao delving into politics, such meetings will become more common.
Muhammad Ali, Floyd Patterson and former President Nixon (AP file)In addition to meeting President Obama in the Oval Office last year, Pacquiao has also met with Philippine President Noynoy Aquino. Pacquiao also became friends with powerful U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Pacquiao campaigned for Reid and was instrumental in helping Reid, the Senate majority leader, win reelection in 2010. Pacquiao then visited Reid on the Senate floor in 2011.
No boxer has met more significant historical figures than Muhammad Ali, who was greeted by presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, popes and rulers of all sorts from around the world.