Michael Rosenthal

Martinez-Rubio? That’s one possibility

The search for middleweight champion Sergio Martinez’s next opponent goes on. And there remain many possibilities.

Lou DiBella, Martinez’s promoter, said that Peter Manfredo is still a possible opponent for the No. 3 fighter pound for pound this fall. Some other candidates remain in contention, though.

Martinez and Co. would love to get the winner of the June 4 fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sebastian Zbik, who are fighting for the WBC middleweight title.

The sanctioning body theoretically could order the winner to fight Martinez, who is the “emeritus” titleholder, but that doesn’t seem likely. Plus, the winner might not want to face such a stiff challenge immediately.

A more-realistic possibility might be Marco Antonio Rubio, who is coming off a sensational knockout of previously unbeaten David Lemieux two weeks ago.

Rubio is a proven veteran with seven consecutive victories (six by knockout) since he was stopped in nine rounds by Kelly Pavlik in 2009. He probably has more credibility than Manfredo, Zbik or Chavez.

 “I like (the Rubio) fight because he makes for fun fights,” DiBella said. “He has power, he comes forward, he’s a perennial Top 10 guy and he has earned the right to be there. I think that’s a very legitimate fight.”

Another name thrown out by DiBella was Nobuhiro Ishida, the Japanese fighter who knocked out James Kirkland in one round.

“The list is still long,” he said, referring to the opponent for July. “And the idea would be to do a big fight next.”

One possibility is to have Martinez take part in a doubleheader with WBA titleholder Felix Sturm – if Sturm beats Matthew Macklin on July 2 – and then have Martinez and Sturm fight in a unification bout.

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