Lem Satterfield

DiBella discusses Martinez, Berto in relation to Mayweather, Pacquiao

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RingTV.com spoke with promoter Lou DiBella regarding the futures of RING No. 3-ranked IBF welterweight beltholder Andre Berto and RING middleweight champ Sergio Martinez.

Could either of them eventually meet eight-division beltwinner Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr.?

Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) gained the IBF title last month with a fifth-round stoppage of Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 KOs), who was knocked out for the first time in his career.

The victory helped Berto to rebound from a unanimous decision loss of his WBC title to Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) in April, even as Ortiz himself lost the belt by a fourth-round knockout at the hands of Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs).

Berto is now in line to make a mandatory defense of his IBF belt opposite hard-punching former junior welterweight beltholder Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs).

“Berto has a mandatory against Bailey and that’s the situation that we’re in. Bailey could really be a crowd-pleasing fight, because Bailey is one of the hardest punchers in all of boxing,” said DiBella.

Beyond Bailey, DiBella would like Berto to be considered for shots at either Mayweather or Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs), the latter of whom holds the WBO welterweight title.

“I would love to see Berto get an opportunity against Floyd, if Floyd’s fight with Pacquiao doesn’t materialize,” said DiBella.

DiBella also addressed the prospects of Berto in a return bout against Ortiz, or, whether a match up with former  WBC/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) would be entertained.

“We’re not going to fight Devon Alexander. Period. Period. We’re not fighting Devon Alexander. Period. Why should we? Who cares?” said DiBella. 

“I also don’t think that Ortiz has really indicated any willingness to do a rematch. Ortiz, no mater what he thinks, doesn’t have as many alternatives as he thinks that he does. So the biggest fight for Ortiz would be a rematch with Berto. So that’s a fight that I think I would like to eventually see happen.”

Martinez  (48-2-2, 27 knockouts), meanwhile, is coming off an 11th-round stoppage of England’s Darren Barker (23-1, 14 KOs) on Oct. 1 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Martinez has indicated that he would drop to 150 pounds in order to face Pacquiao or Mayweather.

“It’s going to be a long shot for Mayweather to fight Martinez,” said DiBella. “Although I think that Mayweather is so good and such a warrior that there’s a chance that if Mayweather doesn’t get Manny Pacquiao, that he would consider Martinez.”

DiBella also promotes Irish fighter Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOs), who decisioned Brian Vera (19-6, 12 KOs) on the Martinez-Barker undercard to avenge a seventh-round knockout loss from March of 2008.

Lee might be in line to face Martinez in a clash of southpaws, as may right-hander Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs), whom DiBella also promotes.

Macklin lost a disputed split-decision to WBA titleholder Felix Sturm (36-2-1, 15 KOs) in June.

“I have the two best Irish fighters in the world with Lee and Macklin. I think that Macklin beat Sturm and that he should already be a champion,” said DiBella.

“Plus, Lee’s had two great wins on HBO. St. Patrick’s Day is in March, which is right around the time that I would like Sergio have another fight.”

The WBC has ordered titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KOs) 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. But if victorious, DiBella does not believe Chavez will choose to face Martinez.

“If Chavez Jr.’s the coward that I think that he is, then he will give up the title rather than face Martinez,” said DiBella. “And then, there’s a good chance that we’ll fight Macklin or possibly Lee on St. Patrick’s Day.”

DiBella acknowledged that an offer was made to Martinez for a bout with WBO counterpart Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15 KOs) of Russia.

The move was made by promoters Kirill Pchelnikov, partner German Titov and Artie Pellulo of Banner Promotions.

“They made an offer for us to go to Russia. To go to his hometown. But that’s the same kind of money that our guy can make over here. I mean, it’s an offer, but who give’s a s–t. I’m not saying that they’re lying about the offer, but the offer is absurd,” said DiBella.
 
“Martinez can make the same kind of money here. If the Russian government really wants Martinez to go onto hostile ground, and probably stand a great chance of getting robbed by going over there, then put up $5 million or $6 million. Plus, Sergio’s never doing a fight that’s not televised in the U.S. Who the f–k is going to go to Russia to televise that fight?”

Pirog is coming off last month’s 10th-round knockout of Gennady Martirosyan (22-3, 11 KOs), but his biggest win came via fifth-round knockout over previously unbeaten Danny Jacobs (22-1, 19 KOs) in July of last year.

DiBella downplayed Pirog’s win over Jacobs.

“Who give’s a s–t about Pirog? Who has he beaten? Why are we talking about him? We’re talking about him because he made Sergio an offer,” said DiBella. “But Pirog’s only quality win is over Danny Jacobs. As much as I love Danny Jacobs, Danny was a kid who was totally unproven and untested.”

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.

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.

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

Chavez, like Pacquiao, is promoted by Top Rank Inc., whose CEO is Bob Arum.

“I would like to get Sergio the biggest fight possible. Obviously, there are some long shots, like Mayweather and Pacquiao. It would be a long shot for Arum to allow Martinez to fight one of his guys. But as far as Pirog, let him fight a real middleweight first. Let him make the fight worth something. That would make it a marketable fight in America,” said DiBella.

“Right now, Martinez-Pirog is a totally non-marketable fight in America. It’s less marketable than Barker was, because Barker brought over all of the British press and a lot of Brits. Pirog is even lesser known than Dzinziruk. Let Pirog fight Paul Williams. Who has he beaten?”

 

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

 

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