On Wednesday, Middleweight Champion and pound-for-pounder Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez had the opportunity to meet and sit down one-on-one with Pope Francis. The meeting between the two Argentineans took place at the Vatican, and marked the first time a professional fighter has had a one-on-one closed session meeting with the Pope since Muhammad Ali.
Meeting with the Pope is obviously a huge deal, not just for a fighter, but for anybody. And this wasn’t some big group meet and greet, either. Martinez got to talk with Pope Francis in a one on one session.
Certainly, the duo talking about more than the Sweet Science, and their shared Argentinean heritage. Martinez was there also to speak about his efforts and strong public stance against bullying, and the notable work he has done in that regard.
According to this story (where you’ll also find more notes about the meeting and the event, although not in English), here’s a quote from Martinez prior to the meeting:
“In a matter of months I have realized two of my dreams as a Catholic: visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico and was received by the Pope. I’ll be asking the Pope for his blessing and spiritual protection for all those entering the ring.”