Sergio Martinez Wants To Be Pound-For-Pound King In 2012

''Disgrace'' Pacquiao wanted ''Maravilla'' to fight at 147 lbs, so now the no.1 target is Mayweather

Being regarded as the best middleweight in boxing and almost unanimously as the third best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet would be plenty for most fighters, but Madrid based Argentinian Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez, the WBC's Diamond middleweight champion says he will not be satisfied until he is universally recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world ahead of the current top two - Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

In an interview in Spanish with Reuters, after a training session in a Madrid boxing gym yesterday, Martinez said:

"I feel I have achieved nothing in boxing. If I were to leave tomorrow, I would be forgotten. Even I would forget myself!"

36 year old Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) who is officially based in Madrid, but also has a home in Oxnard, California made it clear in the interview that he will not cease in his efforts to become the best-of-the-best in world boxing – though he feels that he will have to do more than just defeat his opponents in the ring to achieve that.

"It's an injustice that Pacquiao is regarded as the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world. His fight with (Juan Manuel) Marquez was evidence of that."

On November 12 Pacquiao retained his WBO welterweight title via an ultra-controversial split decision over Marquez, the current WBO/WBA lightweight champion. The decision caused derision amongst fight fans world wide. It was the third time the two had met. Pacquiao had been a heavy pre-fight favorite, yet once again was counter-punched all night long by Marquez.

Martinez's own hopes of luring Pacquiao into the ring have so far been frustrated, something the Argentinian attributes to Pacquiao's promoter Top Rank boss Bob Arum's desire not to risk killing ''the goose that lays golden eggs'' as he puts it. Negotiations for a fight between Martinez and Pacquiao have stalled over weight issues. Martinez fights in the 160 lb middleweight division, 13 lbs above Pacquiao's welterweight class. The Argentinian boxed as a welterweight for the first four years of his professional career, but has not boxed at 147 lbs for over a decade.

Despite the fact that he is a rock-hard 160 lb middleweight these days, Martinez offered to drop to 150 pounds to fight Pacquiao, the weight the Filipino agreed to when he faced Antonio Margarito for the the vacant WBC super welterweight title a year ago. However the Filipino's camp turned him down.

"They wanted me to be 147 lbs at the weigh in, which is the welterweight limit. And then, an hour before the fight, they stipulated a maximum of 149.9 lbs. I have not been a welterweight since 27 October 2001. What Pacquiao, Freddie Roach (Pacquiao's trainer) and Bob Arum asked of me is a disgrace. Clearly, they do not want to fight me because they know Pacquiao will be knocked out." said Martinez.

The only other viable option for Martinez to achieve his dream of being recognized as best in the world is a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr, the undefeated 34 year old WBC welterweight champion and the man considered by many to be the real pound-for-pound king of boxing.

"We are planning a long-term strategy to box again at 154 lbs if we get a fight with Mayweather." said Martinez.

He hopes to be chosen to fight against the American in May, the date set by Mayweather to return to the ring against an opponent yet to be determined. Martinez knows that with a fight against Pacquiao no longer a legitimate option, Mayweather is his no.1 target for 2012.

"Whatever happens, to be considered the best in the world pound-for-pound I'm going to have to fight one of them (Mayweather or Pacquiao). Fighting (Antonio) Margarito or (Julio Cesar) Chavez Jr would won't get me there."

Martinez, who turns 37 in February, plans to fight twice in 2012, and has several potential opponents lined up that could make next year as spectacular as 2010 was for him, when his middleweight title winning performance against Kelly Pavlik and subsequent second round blitzing of previous conqueror Paul Williams earned him universal recognition as Fighter of the Year.

Mexico's WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, WBC light middleweight champion and embryonic boxing superstar 21 year old Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, and the winner of the December 3 rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito for the WBA light middleweight crown are just some of the options available to Martinez.

Of those three options, the priority is Chavez Jr, who stopped Peter Manfredo Jr in five rounds last weekend. A fight between Chavez Jr and Martinez is now a WBC mandatory, and the Argentinian says:

"I hope the WBC enforces it's rule. If Chavez, after winning the Manfredo fight, does not agree to fight me, he will be automatically stripped of the belt, and the title will become vacant. I hope he agrees to fight me, because we could make a good fight, with a good pay per view. With me, Chavez would make more money than against any other rival.''

Martinez also stated that if the WBC fails to give him the opportunity to regain his old belt against Chavez, he will drop back down to 154 lbs to challenge Alvarez for another of his old titles, the WBC light middleweight crown.

(Martinez ruled the 154 lb division prior to winning the WBC/WBO middleweight titles from Pavlik last April. When he vacated the title, Manny Pacquiao defeated Antonio Margarito for the belt to become a six-weight world champion. After taking too many heavy shots from Margarito, Pacquiao decide to stay at 147 lbs, and Alvarez outpointed Britain's Matthew Hatton for the title in March of this year.)

''My priority is to regain the title from Chavez Jr. If that fight doesn't happen, I go for Canelo. And I think we would make a great fight. Canelo is superior to Chavez Jr.''

Martinez has reserved the date of March 17 in the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York against an opponent yet to be confirmed but considered likely to be the Irishman Matthew Macklin, providing he has no prior agreement with Mayweather for a fight in May. Another major possibility for Martinez is a fight against the winner of the upcoming Cotto Margarito rematch.

"I'm waiting to see if Margarito wins again, and if he has recovered from the beating he took from Pacquiao. But if he looks good, a fight with Margarito could make a great fight.''

A fight with Margarito would be a rematch – Margarito TKO'd Martinez in seven rounds back in 2000, and the revenge angle of a fight between the two could make it very attractive to the public.

"It would be a fight with history. Since I returned to the States in 2007 until today, every journalist asks me: ''How did you lose to Margarito?'' The answer is that at the time we fought he was superior to me in every way." Martinez admitted with his customary candidness.

However if Cotto wins, Martinez says the Puerto Rican will not be willing to fight him.

"Cotto wont fight me. He told me so. He claimed a fight between us would not make money, so I said publicly that if I win the fight, the money I make, which will be several million, I will give him. No problem, I will sign anywhere."

However above all, Martinez would still prefer to step into the ring with Pacquiao more than any other opponent.

"I do not know when was the last time Pacquiao fought one of the world's best pound for pound fighters. It was possibly Marquez, but not the Marquez of today, the Marquez of five years ago. (In 2010) I fought three fights with two of the best pound-for-pound fighters: Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams and beat both of them decisively.''

In 2011 a frustrated Martinez turned to Europe for quality opponents, defeating Ukrainian Sergei Dzinziruk and Britain's Darren Barker. Both men were unbeaten prior to taking on the Argentinian, but both were knocked out. "Maravilla" is hoping that 2012 will give him the opportunity to finally prove he is the best in the world.

''All I need is an opportunity against either of them (Pacquiao and Mayweather). I won the right to be in the position I am in. I am not satisfied.''

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Sergio Martinez Wants To Be Pound-For-Pound King In 2012

''Disgrace'' Pacquiao wanted ''Maravilla'' to fight at 147 lbs, so now the no.1 target is Mayweather

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