For the reigning WBC middleweight champion, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, these are indeed stormy times. Having morphed into a November 2010 version of himself, he arrives in Buenos Aires after a long flight from Spain, to meet with another time traveler of a different kind.
Clad in stylish shades and a thin black leather jacket amid unseasonably cool conditions, the champion ignores the turbulent weather and an umbrella, looking only to shield himself from the persistence of doubt.
After a short drive to the city’s beautiful downtown extravaganza, he positions himself in the back of a swanky café. There’s polite fanfare to his arrival, one he’s tried to keep as clandestine as possible. Soon, he rises to his feet to get a glimpse of what appears to be a scuffle outside. The source of his meeting has just arrived, and has just knocked out two members of the paparazzi.
The enigmatic and charismatic all-time great: Carlos Monzon.
Monzon: “It’s good to meet you. Sorry about the bastards outside. How’s my belt feel?”
Martinez: “It feels good (laughter between them). Thanks for coming. Can you fight this kid at 156?”
Monzon: “The question is… Can he fight me? I can’t believe you got Mayweather to agree.”
Martinez: (shrewd smile) “I’ve waited a long time for this…”
Canelo vs. Monzon
Carlos Monzon is one of the greatest fighters of all-time. Argentina’s most celebrated athlete, he is arguably the greatest middleweight champion of all-time and also its most notorious. He was flamboyant and dark. A Hollywood loving womanizer with a penchant for models, he would attack reporters and just might be provoked to attack a woman too. But he hasn’t murdered one.
A tall and lanky nonchalant figure in the ring, he almost pushed his punches at times, while carrying nasty power that was difficult to recognize. Somewhat stiff, he was Antonio Margarito as a pure boxer, with a complete skillset and arsenal of punches. It allowed him to defend his middleweight championship 14 consecutive times, and go unbeaten for the last 13 years of his career. He was arrogant and he was elitist.
He would be intrigued by Saul “Canelo”Alvarez.
In his last fight, a July 1977 rematch with Rodrigo Valdez, the near 35 year-old Monzon got involved in a classic. He had butchered Valdez over 15 rounds prior to that, and only gave him a rematch to unify the titles again (he was stripped by the WBC for non-defense). Plus they offered him a boatload of money.
But it’s not as much as Canelo Alvarez brings to come down to 156lbs for a modern 12 round fight. Let’s say this particular catch-weight is part of the deal, with Alvarez still at 152lbs.
Monzon admires Canelo’s fame and his demeanor. He was nowhere near as talented as Alvarez is at 23, and finds this out right away as the fight begins. Canelo is quick and he is stout. His activity bothers the great Monzon early on, and it unfolds a lot like his bout with fellow Argentinean Carlos Baldomir did. But Monzon is more measured and methodical, and must adjust to Canelo’s combination punching exuberance.
At nearly 6ft., Monzon uses his height and length to great effect, and starts picking up the pace. He is using his rail-rod of a left jab to derail the advances of Alvarez, and catching him with occasional sledgehammer rights. After losing almost all of the exchanges in the first 5 rounds, and losing the fight itself, Monzon starts being a crime boss in there.
Canelo has never faced someone with such incredible resolve and grit, who is determined to stay his course and maintain his physical presence. He defers by waiting too much and not letting his hands go, plus he’s spent himself a little too much in the early going- something the cerebral Monzon wanted him to do.
Canelo has plenty of moments in this fight but fades down the stretch against the experienced ring legend, as Monzon escapes with a thin UD victory.
Mayweather vs. Martinez
Having witnessed Martinez’s chilling massacre of Paul Williams, the upcoming edition of Floyd “Money” Mayweather accepts the challenge of a fall 2010 replica of Sergio Martinez.
Frankly we should’ve gotten this fight anyway.
Whether this is owed to the speculation of ducking on Floyd’s part, or the reluctance of Al Haymon to make this fight, is anyone’s guess. But Sergio Martinez definitely wanted this fight and was vociferous in asking for it.
Well let’s pretend he gets what he wants.
Floyd knows that in many ways this fight represents something of a conundrum for him. He has the fastest singular hand strikes in the sport, unparalleled quickness, boasts the game’s best defense, and has the highest ring IQ.
But Floyd regards Martinez as an obnoxious sort that thinks he’s smarter than him. He knows how very hard Martinez trains, that endurance is his strong suit, and that he’s to knock him out. He also knows he has to deal with speed and ring generalship that rivals his own, and that he’ll have to compete for space.
This is a very even match-up.
Sergio Martinez is an aristocratic, indefatigable athlete of remarkable precision. The version confronting Mayweather can go 18 rounds if he had to. Floyd will be facing someone with his very own conditioning, one who often lowers his guard in front of opponents to conserve energy- because he is constantly on the move. But his is a game of risk, and he will trap you into a firefight.
Martinez would be very difficult for Mayweather to beat, and this would be very apparent right away. His cocky nature in the ring would irritate Floyd, who would be the aggressor. He wouldn’t have a choice due to the way Sergio moves around the ring.
In Martinez, he is dealing with the rare fighter who is completely capable of out-boxing him and knocking him out. This is unchartered territory for him- and for us, as we would see a very athletic, stalking, James Toney-like Mayweather in there.
The difference between these two is Floyd’s unique striking ability and depth.
Floyd would get hit like never before- but so would Martinez, who even though he’s dropped Floyd and had him in some trouble, comes face to face with his iron will and other worldly intelligence. Martinez is very predictable in his movement over time, as is his punch selection.
The September 14th brand of Mayweather is physically stronger and savvier than any other edition he’s ever produced, and he’s intelligent enough to make Martinez raise his guard more than he’s accustomed to.
This will wear him out, and allow Floyd to lullaby Sergio as the fight progresses. In an electrifying and career-defining performance, Floyd Mayweather turns back the gangster assault of Martinez, and stops him in 12 spellbinding rounds.