Following Sergio Martinez's incredible knockout of Paul Williams in their 2010 rematch, he was ranked among the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world. While he retained his middleweight crown in stoppage wins over Serhiy Dzinziruk and Darren Barker, some of the luster had faded. Martinez was clearly better than Dzinziruk and Barker but he didn't seem to preform so much better that he looked like the same man who most saw as only behind Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in the "who is the best boxer in the world?" debate.
Last night he faced a true test in Matthew Macklin and, after a spirited back-and-forth bout, was able to score two knockdowns late in the eleventh round and get the TKO victory when Macklin's corner stopped the fight before the final round.
It wasn't Sergio's greatest performance, but I think an honest assessment reveals that really, this wasn't too far off of par for the course. When it came time to reveal what all he had in his toolbox, he did so, as he did last year with Darren Barker. He outgutted Kelly Pavlik, too, making adjustments and winning the fight at crunch time.
Martinez now marches on, still the middleweight champion of the world, still clearly the world's best 160-pound fighter. Andre Ward spent the night on Twitter saying he's ready for Martinez, but we'll get into what's next for Sergio tomorrow.
What's next for Martinez, if his camp has their way, is a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Promoter Lou Dibella made the most concessions possible to try to get the Mayweather/Martinez fight to happen:
Floyd would be favored at 150. Cotto is a dead man at 154. Cotto is a half-shot. He's a great fighter, but he gets hit by everything. He incented Cotto to make a big money fight. It's very smart business. If he wants to handicap Sergio, we'll fight him as low as 150. And we'll give him 80% of the money.
Martinez hasn't fought at 150 since 2003, so that is a serious "handicap" (as Lou put it). And it's strange that they're even willing to offer it when Floyd's fight against Cotto will be at 154. They're basically trying to tempt Floyd to take the fight by making it seem as easy as possible for Floyd given that he is much more of a threat than anyone Mayweather has fought recently.
And to be clear, this is much more realistic than Manny Pacquiao going on record saying that he'd fight Floyd with a 30-30 split with the remaining 40% of the purse going to the winner. Top Rank would never agree to that, that was just the fighter talking. Meanwhile, this is Martinez's promoter saying that they'd do it, which means that it's on the table.
And 20% of a Mayweather purse is more than Martinez is making anywhere else.