Sergio Martinez has all but confirmed Britain’s Martin Murray as his next opponent. The Martinez vs. Murray clash has been provisionally scheduled for April 27, and will be Martinez’s (50-2-2, 28 KOs) first fight in his native Argentina since 2002.
Having traveled endlessly over the past decade in a quest to achieve the recognition his talents deserve, few will begrudge Martinez his long overdue homecoming. Although no venue has yet been confirmed, Sampson Lewkowicz, Martinez’s adviser, says there are several up for consideration. “One of the venues being discussed is a 50,000-seat soccer stadium with a retractable roof,” he said.
Last time out, Maravilla fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. inside a packed Thomas & Mack Centre. Dominating the first 11 rounds, the Argentine was dropped by a trio of sweet left hooks with just over a minute of the 12th to go, to set up an electrifying finale. Despite looking hurt, Martinez just about managed to stay on his feet to score a unanimous decision.
The excitement that bestowed the last round was enough for some fans to call for a rematch. This has, however, had to be put on the back burner due to Chavez Jr. failing a drug test for marijuana, with Murray being chosen as the opponent to keep Martinez active. Martinez also needs extra time on the shelf to recover from his recent knee injury, which is why this fight isn’t until the end of April.
Murray should be seen as both a respectable and marketable challenger for Martinez’s return home. Still unbeaten and having a questionable draw in his only previous world title shot, Murray should offer a stern test, but ultimately should not have the skills to pull off an upset in front of Martinez’s adoring fans.
Meanwhile, from a marketing point of view, the competitive rivalry between Argentina and England should help with the promotion of the fight.
Currently ranked as the WBCs number 3 contender, Martin Murray is relatively unknown outside of the UK. Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) rose to prominence in his native England after winning the middleweight Prizefighter tournament, and has since endeared himself to British fight fans with his aggressive style inside the ring.
The highlight of Murray’s career to date has been stepping into the ring with Felix Strum for the WBA middleweight strap. That night he could only pick up a draw, although many believe he did enough to claim a decision win, and the confidence gained from that experience will mean Murray should be raring to go come April.
The St Helens Man is currently promoted by Hatton Promotions, and there will be no doubt that Ricky Hatton will remind him of the upset he sprang over Kostya Tszyu back in 2005, in the hope of giving his charge the confidence needed to pull off a shock.
Despite Murray’s obvious class, and the fact Martinez will be 38 by the time of the fight, fans and pundits alike will surely be backing the skill and experience of Maravilla to prevail. If, as expected, he continues his 6 fight winning streak, a lucrative rematch with Chavez Jr. could be in store for later in 2013.