Lem Satterfield

Arum, DiBella clash over Pacquiao, Martinez

Acording to Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, RING middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez should give up any idea of dropping weight in pursuit of a megabout with the Pacman, and instead should face either undefeated WBO counterpart Dmitry Pirog of Russia or unbeaten WBA beltholder Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan.

“That’s f–king ludicrous,” said Arum in response to reports that Martinez has claimed that he is willing to drop down to 150 pounds in order to face the 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs), or WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs).

“Don’t let him keep on saying that he has nobody to fight, and that he has to fight Manny Pacquiao and that he would starve himself to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. Let him fight with two Russian guys that people believe are in his league,” said Arum.

“That’s bulls–t that he has nobody to fight. What he’s saying is ‘Woe is me, I’ve got nobody to fight to get a big pay day.’ But if you want a big pay day, go out and fight the beasts from the East like these two Russians.”

In the meantime, Pacquiao has a third bout against WBO and WBA lightweight beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) on Nov. 12.

Having battled Marquez through a draw and a split-decision victory in two prior meetings as featherweights and junior lightweights, Pacquiao faces Marguez yet again, this time at a catchweight of 144 pounds.

Noting that Marquez was dominated in his welterweight debut against Mayweather in September of 2009, Martinez’s promoter, Lou DiBella, launched into a counter attack.

“So Manny Pacquiao should fight Juan Manuel Marquez, who is a guy who is two weight classes below him?” said DiBella. “And Sergio Martinez should fight two guys that nobody has ever heard of and who can’t sell a ticket? Let Bob Arum worry about his own promotions.”

The 31-year-old Pirog (19-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a 10th-round knockout of Gennady Martirosyan (22-3, 11 KOs) on Sept. 25. But Pirog’s biggest win came via fifth-round knockout over previously unbeaten Danny Jacobs (22-1, 19 KOs) in July of last year.

The 29-year-old Golovkin (21-0, 18 KOs) will pursue his ninth consecutive knockout when he meets Lujuan Simon (23-3-2, 12 KOs) on Oct. 15, and is coming off a ninth-round knockout of ex-beltholder Kassim Ouma in June.

Pacquiao fought at a career-high weight limit when he earned a unanimous decision over ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) in November of last year in a contest for the WBC junior middleweight belt, which Pacquiao has since vacated.

Although Pacquiao-Margarito was contested at a catchweight of 150 pounds, Pacquiao faced a 17-pound weight disadvantage (165 pounds to 148 in favor of Margarito) by the time the two fighters entered the ring.

The 36-year-old Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) told BoxingScene.com that he would be willing to drop to 150 pounds if it meant a chance to face Pacquiao.

“I am willing to go down to the 150-pounds to face Manny Pacquiao. It does not depend only on me. We will see what happens, if his team and [Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum accept [the fight]. Because it’s one thing is to fight Antonio Margarito at 150, and another thing to face me at 150. It would be below the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds at 150-pounds,” . ,” said Martinez.

“It’s an incredible effort for my body. I walk around at 178…with a maximum of 3.2 percent body fat. I have very little body fat, and I’m very muscular. To go down to that weight can be fatal for my health. But it can be done. With enough time, I think it’s possible to do. What’s better than saying, ‘We’ll fight you anywhere you want, the date you want and the weight you want.'”

Martinez has a bout with Darren Barker (23-0, 14 KOs) on Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J.

“I’ve never seen this guy Barker fight, but the chances are that he’s mediocre, and Martinez is a terrific fighter. But there are two extremely good Russians out there in Pirog and Golovkin,” said Arum.

“If he fought either one of those guys, it would be a good fight. Don’t fight Barker, who everybody knows is mediocre. Enough of this whining. These two Russian guys will give you life and death.”

Martinez was named the 2010 Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, recognition for the fact that he dethroned Kelly Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) in April as WBO and WBC middleweight champ by unanimous decision, and then scored November’s second-round stoppage of southpaw three-time, two-division titleholder Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs).

The win over Williams avenged a majority decision loss during which both fighters were dropped in the first round in December of last year.

Martinez was declared the WBC’s emeritus champion for going ahead with a defense against WBO junior middleweight beltholder Sergei Dzinziruk (37-1, 23 KOs), whom he dropped once each in the fourth and fifth rounds and three times in the eighth and last for the knockout in March.

“Martinez has fought Kelly Pavlik and beat his a–. He’s fought Dzinziruk, but who cares about that?” said DiBella.

“He’s knocked out Paul Williams, who will probably never be the same again. All of those guys have more credentials than Pirog or Golovkin.”

With Martinez essentially being stripped, Germany’s Sebastian Zbik (30-1, 10 KOs) was elevated to the status of champion and ordered to face 25-year-old Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KOs), who dethroned him by majority decision in June.

The WBC has ordered Chavez to defend his belt against Martinez by the first quarter of 2012 or relinquish it, according to WBC Secretary General Mauricio Sulaiman. Chavez has a scheduled match-up opposite Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) on Nov. 19.

DiBella would take a bout against Chavez, but does not believe that Arum will allow it to happen.

“Ask him why his champion won’t fight Martinez?” said DiBella, referring to Chavez. “Who is Bob Arum to tell us who to fight? That’s bulls–t.”


Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

Around the web