This Saturday, in a packed football stadium situated in Buenos Aires, Martin Murray faces not only one of the best P4P fighters on the planet, but 40,000 fervent supporters of the man known as “Maravilla” Sergio Martinez.
This guy is held in the highest regard in Argentina, so much so, he beat Lionel Messi into 3rd place in the Argentine version of sports personality of the year, not only that, the fight was announced by the president of the country! could you imagine any UK fighter being held in such high regard that David Cameron would announce his next fight? i thought not!
I feel i must go into a little detail about Martinez’ career, looking back to his last defeat in 2009 against a tough Paul Williams, doesn’t really tell us much as this defeat was avenged less than a year later by a devastating 2nd round KO, however, more recently, wins against the hard hitting Matthew Macklin, and a huge Julio Cesar Chavez Jr really highlight the task ahead of the St Helens hero.
Murray, without question, is as brave as they come, stepping into the lions den, not for the first time, in 2011 he was the subject of a controversial draw with the then WBA champion Felix Sturm, personally i thought Murray won that fight, however he was denied by home scoring in my honest opinion, never the less his stock was instantly raised by that gritty performance.
I have no doubt that Murray’s confidence would have been boosted by that performance against the highly regarded Sturm, I imagine that despite the draw, Murray now knows what is required when fighting the divisions best, obviously this is a different challenge for Murray, one that many are saying he doesn’t stand a chance of winning, however there are certainly positives for Martin to take into account.
Martinez is now 38 years old, he was dropped by both Chavez Jr and Macklin, both Macklin and Darren Barker were competing well with Martinez until their respective stoppages, Martin is at that level, no question.
One thing that does stick in my mind is the determination of Martin Murray, we all know that he has turned his life around after being in prison, he now fights for the right reasons and has improved greatly in the past few years, he has the widely respected Oliver Harrison in his corner, and they will have a game plan, only they know what that is, however, I expect Martin to go for the stoppage here. in my opinion he has no option. lets face facts, does anyone believe that he would secure a points decision in Argentina……i doubt it!