Now that boxing is once again well and truly back on the sporting calendar, I was looking through the upcoming events for August. I noticed that there is an event on the 21st in Cantabria, Spain featuring Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. There were rumours of Martinez’s planned return to the ring some weeks ago but now it looks like it will really happen. Then with all the talk of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones making that ‘exhibition’ fight, Martinez’s comeback has slipped under the radar.
First of all, I want to say that I think older fighters should stay retired. The problem Martinez faces is not really one of age or even fitness. He has always been fit, never had weight issues (this fight will be at middleweight just as his last fight six years ago). He has never even drank alcohol. He will be young for his 45 years. The biggest issue Martinez has is with an old knee injury. It gave him problems in his fights with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr and Martin Murray, and certainly cost him his last fight against Miguel Cotto.
I have a lot of respect for Martinez as a fighter and as a person. He is a true gentleman. I trained with Martinez near Madrid way back in 2003 when he fought Richard Williams for the first time – the pivotal fight covered in the excellent article in Boxing News (June 18). I remember him on his return, showing off his bruises and talking about the fight. His footwork was incredible to see in the gym and a huge part of his overall boxing arsenal.
Maybe, even if he wins, this fight may prove that he no longer has it. Maybe if his knee holds out and he wins well it may encourage him to fight again. We shall have to wait and see. Personally, I hope that he will decide against continuing his comeback.
WHY OH WHY?
Why are Mike Tyson and Roy Jones putting on a boxing exhibition? I know the answer to my question already, it’s EGO. Sure, both men must be missing the limelight and both men additionally are interested in the revenue the event will create. Yet, both men are my favourite boxers, they dominated their divisions like nothing I have seen before. At one point they were untouchable.
This is not seniors tennis or golf, this is too former elite athletes hitting each other in the head with 12oz gloves. What happens if this match proves to be a success, others will wish to cash in?
I know Riddick Bowe has been trying to do the same. Getting hit in the head at any age is dangerous but at 50+ years is an accident waiting to happen. Out of my respect for the sport and both men I cannot support this event.