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Sergio Martinez Pursued by Gennady Golovkin: When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted

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COMMENTARY | For the better part of two years Sergio Martinez relentlessly pursued Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., demanding a bout and a chance at the WBC middleweight title that had been stripped from him via WBC boardroom politics. The boxing world still recognized the Argentine southpaw as the true world champ, but he insisted on proving a point and practically stalked Jose Sulaiman, the president of the WBC, in search of what he felt was right.

Martinez's dogged determination and insistence on making the organization live up to its written promises eventually got him what he wanted.

On September 15, Martinez outboxed Chavez Jr. and survived a twelfth round knockdown to take a one-sided unanimous decision and once again claim the WBC belt. Martinez had officially earned his place atop the 160 lb. food chain and, consequently, had become the target of every young, rising middleweight looking to take his spot.

Enter Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin, the undefeated punching machine who has bludgeoned his way into the hearts of hardcore fans and media members. Despite having a relatively thin resume and only one fight on the U.S. main stage, there's obviously something special about the mild-mannered, affable human wrecking ball.

The 30-year-old 2004 Olympic silver medalist already owns the WBA world middleweight title, but even his own people acknowledge that the belt around his waist is more testament to top contender status than any claim to divisional superiority. As is often the case in boxing these days, Golovkin became a "world" champ almost by default-- going from interim champ to "regular" world champ to full world champ when the holder of the lineal WBA title, Daniel Geale, was stripped by the sanctioning organization. In other words, Golovkin is now the WBA champ, but he never beat the man who beat the man and, to be honest, has yet to beat an actual top ranked middleweight.

Still, it's easy to see why so many knowledgeable boxing people are high on Golovkin. Dominant wins over fringe fighters like Grzegorz Proksa, Lajuan Simon, and Kassim Ouma as well as an obviously high level of offense-minded skill make him a justified "next big thing" at middleweight.

One could suggest that the talented battler fight his way to the top against a couple of legitimately ranked middleweight contenders or, possibly, a unification with IBF titlist Daniel Geale or WBO belt holder, Peter Quillin. But this is boxing-- Who you know is far more important than what you know and, right now, Golovkin his a hot property. As such, Golovkin and his team are aiming directly at Martinez.

"I'm sure Gennady would love to fight Martinez," Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez told Erik Aguilar of The Koncrete Jungle. "But I don't think Martinez or Dibella (Martinez's promoter) wants to make that fight."

Sanchez, with his fighter at his side, then insinuated that the reason behind Martinez not taking the fight has to do with Golovkin's impressive fifth round TKO of Grzegorz Proksa in his last bout.

"I think September first was an obvious reason."

For now, Golovkin will have to settle for an undercard bout on a January 19 HBO triple header at Madison Square Garden. As of this writing, an opponent has yet to be named, but the leading candidates appear to be middleweight prospect, Fernando Guerrero and junior middleweight contender, Gabriel Rosado.

Meanwhile, Sergio Martinez will continue to recover from recent knee surgery and is currently making tentative plans for his first title defense next year in his native Argentina. Then, it's on to a rematch with Chavez Jr. in the second half of 2013.

Martinez has not commented on Team Golovkin's push for a bout and probably won't make any effort to accommodate the challenge. There's just not enough money in it to justify the risk.

That's the reality of the fight game. Risk/Reward ratio is always taken into consideration when selecting opposition, especially for those at the top of the game. When Chavez-Martinez was guaranteed to generate enough money, Top Rank took the risk with Chavez.

Now, Martinez is in the driver's seat and calculating risk/reward.

If Golovkin keeps winning and keeps impressing, the money will be there for Martinez. Then, maybe in 2014, when Martinez is 39 and looking for the biggest money bout available, he'll be ready to risk passing the torch to his heir apparent.


Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.


Erik Aguilar, Golovkin and team- "Dibella and Martinez are scared of me!", The Koncrete Jungle

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